Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Shakespearean-Sounding Language in Mork and Mindy

"Pilot." By Garry Marshall. Perf. Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Dir. Howard Storm. Mork and Mindy. Season 1, episode 1. ABC. 14 September 1978.

Ah, some more sitcom Shakespeare!

I'm teaching a course called "Literature of Humor," and I dipped into the late 1970s show Mork and Mindy, starting (in particular) Robin Williams. Our textbook for the course starts off by talking about the defamiliarization aspect of humor, and Mork and Mindy is about an alien who comes to Earth to research our quaint Earth customs. I thought I might find a brief example to illustrate that principle. In addition to that, I found a bit of Shakespearean language.

Williams often incorporated pseudo-Shakespeare into his stand-up routines, so I shouldn't have been surprised to find that in Mork and Mindy. Here, then, is the brief clip. Enjoy!

Here's the transcript:

Mindy: Now, Mork, that’s what got you the trouble the last time!
Mork: Alas, my lady, you do deal me pain. ’Tis justified, and I shall repent.
Mindy: Oh come on . . . Hey! Where did you get that voice?
Mork: From yon video. ’Twas Shakespeare methinks, or ’twas The Jeffersons.
Mindy: Well that . . . that voice is normal—if you forget the ’twas and the ’twits.
Mork: I’ll ’twy!

Links: The Episode at IMDB.
Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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