Mork And Mindy and Star Trek

Mork And Mindy (1978-1982)
Star Trek (1966-1969)
Type: Non-Crossover

   The line between crossovers and reference jokes can get pretty fine. This one is a real line call that I'm afraid I have to call as... not a crossover.

   Okay, for the two people out there who don't know Star Trek... is there anyone who doesn't know about Trek? Anyway, Star Trek, 60s sci-fi show set in the future with William Shatner playing James T. Kirk, the womanizing captain of the Starship Enterprise. Mork And Mindy some people may have forgotten by this time. Maybe. It was a huge 70s/80s sci-fi comedy series that made Robin Williams a household name. He played Mork from Ork, an alien sent to Earth by his boss Orson to study humans. He lived with a human girl named Mindy played by the very easy on the eyes Pam Dawber. In the final season, Mork and Mindy had gotten married and Mork (not Mindy) had given birth to the couple's son Mearth. Orkans age backwards so Mearth was born a full grown man played by comedy legend Jonathan Winters.

   So here's the deal. In that last season they introduced a new plot device, an Orkan mass-transit system that let the characters beam places. This allowed, for example, Mearth to live on Earth but beam to the planet Ork to go to school. But, come on, how do you introduce a "beaming" transportation system and not do a Star Trek joke. Star Trek's transporter beams are iconic. At some point they had to go for it.

   The scene starts with Mork and Mearth beaming into their living room. Mork appears holding a bottle of champagne and glasses. Mearth appears empty handed and is upset because he HAD some packages and they are gone, lost in transit. He cries, "We gotta get the kinks out of that lousy Orkan beam!" Mork explains that they've accidentally crossed beams again. A shimmer of light appears and William Shatner beams in. He's wearing a robe and holding Mearth's packages. Shatner looks around in confusion and says, "This isn't the Jacuzzi. You aren't Roxanne. Gimme my champagne! Gimme those glasses!" Then there is much comedy fussing as Mork hands Shatner his stuff and Shatner hands Mork and Mearth their packages. Shatner finishes by saying, "I gotta get a little R&R. Beam me up Orson," and then beams out. Once he's gone, Mork shouts out, "Wait a minute! Ya gotta tell me if they kill off Spock or not!" (At the time Star Trek II was just out and had ended with the character of Spock dying to save his friends. People didn't know if he was dead for keeps or if he would be somehow revived in the next film.) Once Shatner is gone, Mearth says, "I wonder what he's gonna do with Roxanne." Mork replies, "Anything he wants, son. He's a captain!" They both salute.

   The problem is... was Shatner really supposed to be playing Kirk? He is clearly referencing his Star Trek character like crazy the beaming, the womanizing, "he a captain" but... is he Kirk? I say no. First off, it doesn't jive in terms of the timeline. Kirk lives in the future. Kirk has traveled in time and I wouldn't put it past him to go back in time to score with a babe but... I just don't buy that Kirk would be kicking around the early 80s. And then Mork's comments establish that Star Trek is a fictional series. He's seen Star Trek II and wants the gossip on Spock. I'm actually more inclined to believe that in the scene Shatner was playing Shatner. It is odd that Shatner would be being beamed around by Orson but, again, if anyone could get that hookup going it would be Shatner. And I could see him beaming around to score with the babes.

   I'd actually put this incident in a similar category to what Shatner does on Boston Legal. On that show he plays crazy, horny lawyer Denny Crane. Denny is in no way Captain Kirk only... he kind of is. He has a cell phone that flips out Star Trek communicator style and makes Trek noises. They've made Klingon jokes and other Trek references too. None of that equals a real crossover connection, they're just funky reference jokes. I see the Mork And Mindy deal as the same sort of thing except instead of Denny Crane showing signs of Kirk-age it's Shatner himself appearing Kirk-y.

   Don't get me wrong, I freaking love this one. When I say it is not a crossover, I'm only talking in terms of officially linking shows as part of the same world. This one just isn't solid enough to call an undisputable connection. The timeline is bad, they never call him Kirk by name, they make comments that suggest Star Trek is fictional... it's just not super solid. But it is cool.

Other Mork And Mindy Crossover Links
Mork And Mindy and Happy Days
Mork And Mindy and Laverne And Shirley
Mork And Mindy and Out Of The Blue

Other Star Trek Crossover Links
Star Trek and Enterprise
Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Mine
Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek and Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek and Team Knight Rider

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