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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Mork & Mindy’ movie

Shazbot, I’m late this week. But it’s still Thursday, so there’s still time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Mork & Mindy, the 1978-82 ABC sitcom about the doofiest alien in the universe and the human girl who lets him sleep on her sofa.

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast included:

Mork: Robin Williams
Mindy: Pam Dawber
Orson (voice): Ralph James
Fred (Mindy’s dad): Conrad Janis
Eugene (the kid who hung around the record store): Jeffrey Jacquet
Mr. Bickley (the pain-in-the-ass neighbor): Tom Poston
the baby: Jonathan Winters
Exidor (who was either mentally ill or a visionary prophet, or perhaps both): Robert Donner

Mindy’s father was always pissed off that his innocent and virginal little princess was living with a man, which is so dated that it’s laughable, so we can excise that subplot… and perhaps even the character of the Dad himself. Also: *snort* record store. *sigh*

My dream cast, and I’m gender-switching a few of the roles because there are so many funny women who don’t get a break, and who would be great in this:

Mork: Missi Pyle
Manny: John Leguizamo
Orson: Keith Olbermann (it is just a voice, after all)
the baby: Terence Stamp
Exidor: Kristen Chenoweth

Na-Nu Na-Nu:

God, remember when shows had credit sequences that went on for, like, 45 minutes? Amazing.

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  • Jurgan

    I never saw much of the show, so I can’t cast much of it, but:

    Mork: Jim Carrey

    I’ve thought for quite a while that Jim Carrey is the heir apparent to Robin Williams’s manic comedy style.

  • PaulW

    Why do you keep messing the genders around? And you’re switching Pam Dawber for John Leguizamo???

    You gotta remember the Mindy character has to be sweet, unassuming, slightly unflappable but also unprepared for the weirdness coming into her (or in your reworkings, his) life. Leguizamo? Seriously???

    With the gender role reversals, I’d have it as:

    Mork(ette): Summer Glau
    Mandy (AKA the Man-man): Michael Cera
    Orson: If you’re gonna spend the bucks, get Christopher Lee
    The evil alien from planet Terserus threatening to blow up Earth because it obstructs his view of Venus: Rory Culkin
    Exidor: Dave Chappelle

    And it’d be too soon to have a Mork baby (save him for the straight-to-dvd 4th sequel), so I’d scratch that. Oh, and have the music store be an iPod/download internet cafe.

  • I loved, I mean loved, Mork & Mindy. I would audiotape (Audio!) the episodes, and I wanted to be Mork. (I also wanted to be Bugs Bunny, but that’s a whole other story.)

    Here’s my dream cast:

    Mork: Me! Lanna Lee Maheux [Hey, it’s my dream]
    Manny: John Cusack [Because then I would get to kiss him, eventually, anyway]
    Orsina: Kathleen Turner
    Winnifred (Manny’s Mom): Angelica Houston
    the baby: Phillis Diller
    Ms. Binkley: Betty White
    Exidor: Swoozie Kurtz

    (YEah, the gender bendy thing is fun.)

  • NorthernStar

    Oh I loved this show.

    Channel 4 used to show it. I remember they had to apologise to viewers once after people were offended by the “Mr Wanker” episode!

    Mork: Owen Wilson
    Mindy: Alyson Hannigan
    Orson: James Earl Jones
    Exidor: Dwight Schultz

  • Kirkulus

    Mork: Johnny Depp
    Mindy: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    Orson: Will Lyman (best voiceover since Alexander Scoursby)
    Fred: Dustin Hoffman
    Exidor: Christopher Lloyd (altho Dwight Schultz would be great too)

  • i hardly ever watched the show, and my favorite character always was Exidor! but i love the idea of Missy Pyle in anything and kristen chenoweth is ideal for doing slightly mad creatures. and hey! john leguizamo can be sweet! i’ve seen him do some really lovely parts.

  • Ken

    You could keep the record store, increase the roles for funny women, and maintain the original genders with one tweak: change the setting of the show to NYC, where Mork plays the straight man to everyone else.

    But then, of course, it would be like every other sitcom.

  • Hi,
    Great idea to remake as a contemporary movie.

    However a word of caution.

    You talk about which is exactly what happened with the original show. Ratings which had been great (top new TV show in the year of its debut) then plummeted after both the Dad and the Grandmother.
    The powers that be then realized that the appeal of the show, (in addition to Robin Williams’ sensational performance, and Pam Dawber’s charm, beauty and comedic sense,) was based on the fact that the Mork character was a and that he landed right in the center of a typical middle class family (yes Dad and all) which gave a frame to Mork’s manic humor!
    They took away the family and the show tanked. Realizing their mistake the producers brought back the Dad in an effort to restructure the original intent of the show.
    I would hate to see you make the same mistake with the
    (I suppose I am prejudiced since I played the Dad on the original )

    Since I have just directed two feature motion pictures,
    ( and ) I would be happy to helm

    Yours somewhat sincerely, and with tongue slightly in cheek,
    Conrad Janis
    PS I think Dustin Hoffman would be great casting as the Dad

  • Conrad Janis

    Well, the above is an approximation of what I wrote.
    Stuff has been edited.
    The point being the Dad and Grandmother were cut out of the show at the end of the first year which caused the ratings to drop way off (due mainly to the fact that the Mork character was a stranger in a new and different world and we were a sort of typical middle class family which gave Mork something to which to react.

    Incidentally my cast for the remake of Mork and Mindy the Movie is:
    Mork: Tina Fey
    Mindy: Aston Kutcher or Robert Downey Jr
    The Voice of Orson: James Earl Jones
    Exidor: Will Ferrell
    Grandma: Dustin Hoffman
    Dad: Judy Dench
    Keep up the good work!
    Conrad Janis (Mindy’s Dad in the original TV Series)

  • Well, Mr. Janis was right.

    The show did tank after the first season for the reasons he mentioned. And the scripts for that season were hardly improvements, either.

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