Monday, June 13, 2005

Nanoo Nanoo

How could I forget to mention last week the most provocative and emotionally gripping show on television this season? No doubt many readers were let down by this inexcusable lapse and for that I offer my most humble apologies. Yes, I am talking about NBC's Behind the Camera: Mork & Mindy.

Just by chance I happened across the show, in the midst of actor Chris Diamantopoulos portraying Robin Williams doing stand-up. Diamantopolous can sound like Williams and act like Williams, but it's still quite unseemly. In fact, at times, it was downright cringing to watch. Daniel Roebuck (who once portrayed Jay Leno) played a caricature of producer Garry Marshall. You had other actors playing the roles of Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Henry Winkler, and John Belushi. And still I couldn't turn away. But why not? Because even in a trainwreck of a show, you can always come away learning something. Such as:

Network executives tried ridding Mork & Mindy of its older actors Conrad Janis and Elizabeth Kerr, and brought on Jay Thomas and Gina Hecht as that young Italian couple to spice things up. But Janis and Kerr returned for the final disastrous season that included Jonathan Winters.

The show's writers and Williams, in particular, were constantly scrutinized by the censors and Williams had to tone down his act considerably. But while those on the show decried censorship, they also looked at the media's descent into "jiggle" TV with disdain.

Pam Dawber was always a nice girl.

John Belushi did a lot of drugs.

One writer describes the set of Popeye as a "Roman orgy."

But one question remains: Did Diamantopoulos have on extra body hair in order to truly ape Williams?

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