Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Acting Out Optimism (In the Wake of Depression)


The passing of Robin Williams is weighing heavily on my heart.  I feel the need to write about what I’m feeling, but the truth is, I haven’t entirely sorted it out yet.  Strange, I know, to be so strongly impacted by the death of someone I’ve never met; maybe someday I’ll be able to sort that out, too.

In the meantime, because he is on my mind, and because he leaves behind a body of work that will entertain us for years to come, I’ll share a post from a couple of years ago:

“Comedy is acting out optimism.”~ Robin Williams

One of the few downsides of summertime is that most television programs are in their off-season with no new episodes airing.  For a TV-aholic like myself, that can be kind of a downer.  But because I am a die-hard TV-aholic, I’m certainly not opposed to watching re-runs, even if I’ve seen them many times before.

So it was that tonight I was scanning through the channels and found a couple of episodes of Mork & Mindy airing.  Brian wasn’t too thrilled with the choice, but watching that old goofiness is how we spent an hour of our evening.  When Mork & Mindy was in first run, you couldn’t keep me away, even in the final season or two when it became a pale imitation of what it had been originally.  And, sadly, the episodes tonight were some of their later shows. (Yet one more example of the pitfalls of putting the two main characters together romantically.) I watched anyway.

And besides being mildly amused by the show—and very amused by the 80s fashions—I was once again struck by my admiration for Robin Williams.  Truly, the man is a comic genius—a wonder to behold.  I know a lot of folks will say that he’s just a drugged-up comedian, and no doubt some of his hilarity was drug-induced along the way.  I’m glad he’s gotten himself free of those addictions, and still find him to be as talented as before.

So, I thought I’d share some moments from Mr. Williams with all of you, so that you may also be reminded of his talent, or maybe even witness some of it for the first time.  Pick one and see what you think.  Better yet, watch them all and see some of the many facets of his talent.  Enjoy.

(In the intervening years, it seems that many of the original links have been shut down due to copyright claims.  I hope that this was done long ago, and not studio executives now hoping to cash in on Mr. Williams’ untimely passing, but there are still representative samples available.)



   Some may not remember, but Mork’s original appearance was in an episode of Happy Days.







  Mork & Mindy—how it began








   The movie as a whole—and certainly this scene—is more drama than comedy.  But I think Patch Adams is some of Williams’ finest work.







   I’ve been watching Disney movies all my life, and Aladdin is still my favorite.







   Inside the Actor’s Studio is often interesting to me, but with Robin Williams, it’s more performance than interview.