The world lost one of its brighter lights last week when Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire, took his own life.
I was greatly saddened to hear this news. I’m rarely affected by celebrity deaths, but actually cried out, “NOOOOO!” when I saw the headline.
Robin was a great comedian. As an adult, I’ve tended to prefer him in some of his more serious roles as an actor. But despite his incredible success in film, I will probably always remember him as Mork, from Mork & Mindy. This was one of my favorite television shows as a child (right next to Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels). And while I wouldn’t necessarily label it as formative or influential programming in any way, it was…entertaining. It taught me about laughter and silliness and how to be a kid at the most appropriate time in my life for such lessons. It was a show which, regardless of its intent, taught me that being different or quirky was ok. It emphasized the importance of being yourself, no matter how that was perceived by others. I doubt the writers of Mork & Mindy had any of that in mind when they set out to create each week’s episode, but it was what they accomplished in my house every week nonetheless.