Robin Williams and Pam Dawber bring MORK AND MINDY to THE CRAZY ONES
Mork and Mindy are back! Well, not exactly. But Robin Williams and Pam Dawber ARE re-teaming for the “Love Sucks” episode of The Crazy Ones (Season One, Episode 20), and they recently gave journalists the scoop at a recent CBS press conference.
Back in the Saddle Again
The last time Williams and Dawber shared a set was in 1982. It’s now 2014. After so much time had passed, what was the reunion like? Williams described it as nothing short of “wonderful,” while Dawber chimed, “He was like an old shoe.” He quickly added, “It was wonderful to see Pam after so long. She looks the same, which is so wonderful. It’s like, ‘Wow, Dawber, look at you.’” Dawber countered, “You know it’s funny. It’s sort of like in life when you have an old friend. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see each other every week or every year. You just kind of connect on a level, and to be able to walk into the room for the reading and see Robin and just reconnect with him was really like that. It was hard to believe it was that many years ago that we spent any time together. We kind of picked right up again.”
And they picked up making new memories, one of which involved Dawber’s oldest son, Sean. “He and his girlfriend, who both want to be actors, came to the set. His girlfriend had been/is such a fan of Robin, and so we kept it a secret from her. She didn’t know where she was. She just knew that my son, her boyfriend, was bringing her to the FOX lot, and she had no idea who she was gonna meet or what this was about. So, for her, it was really one of those life memories. She wrote me a thank you email that was unbelievable and, of course, Robin was as generous and wonderful and warm as he is. Both of them had such a great experience . For these two young twentysomething actors to be on the set and to meet the people they met that day was just a tremendous gift for them.”
A Good Group of People
Before filming the episode, Dawber had the opportunity to speak with the writers about her three-scene appearance on the show, “The writers are just open and wonderful, and if you have a problem with a line, like ‘maybe we don’t need to be funny here,’ or ‘we could do something funnier here,’ they were so open to it. I was able to actually sit down with them and really talk about it. There are three other large storylines going on within this episode. I was just absolutely delighted with the end result. Bill D’Elia was also the Director of the episode, and he’s so easygoing and loose and kind. Once again, it was a lot like Mork & Mindy, which was an entirely different type of show and a different time period. There was no pressure. It was just fun. Really, really, a joy.”
But how did this appearance come about in the first place? Williams said, “I think it was a collaborative idea. I think I said at one point, ‘What about Pam? Wouldn’t it be nice if she made a guest appearance? But, it’ll never happen.’ Then, when it happened, I was like, ‘they did it. Wow.’ Dawber added, “Besides my relationship with Robin, I’m very close friends with Bill D’Elia, who’s one of the Producers with David Kelley, and so I had a lot of conversations back and forth prior to this with Bill, and I had said, ‘As long as there’s something to do and it’s a character, it’s just not setting up everybody else’s jokes, yeah, I’d be interested. So, we went to the read-through, and I thought it was very funny. And, they just promised to make it better and better. It’s a very open, wonderful group of people.”
Having It All, but Not at the Same Time
Dawber also took the time to explain her absence from TV. “You know, I’m married to Mark Harmon, whose been on NCIS for 12 years, I had two children, and I had my last child in my 40’s. There’s a point where something has to give. I had really come to a position where I had the opportunity to do just about everything you can do in show business, and I really wanted to stay home and raise my kids. Not that I didn’t have help. Trust me, I wasn’t scrubbing the floors, but I just got involved more in my kids’ lives. I wanted to be home. I wanted to make them dinner. I wanted to drive them to school and participate in that part of life. Show biz had changed too, the TV movie business, which has worked for me as a mother – being able to go away once or twice a year to do a TV movie was great. Those TV movies went away, and so I didn’t want to go back into any sort of series work cos I would never see my husband, and I would never see my kids. So I quit. I went back briefly and just felt like if I want to stay married, I should quit. And, I’ve been married 27 years. You can have it all, but you just can’t have it all at the same time. And I like being home when my husband comes home.
Honestly, when they came to me to do this particular show, I wanted to see Robin. I was so excited to be able to be with Robin, see Robin, potentially work with Robin, that’s why I did it – not to get back into show business. And I have to say I’ve been blown away over the fact that people even care. This was just a personal quest for me. And then suddenly there’s excitement about the two of us. I guess I just thought that Mork & Mindy was so over and such a long time ago that it was just long gone. Hopefully, people will love this moment in time when we come back together. I don’t really plan to pursue show business.
Just to work on Robin’s show for those few days was like, ‘really, I have to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and be on the set at 6?’ I don’t think so. Sorry, Robin. If it’s every now and then, that’s it. It’s a wonderful moment, but no, I’m not chomping at the bit to go on auditions and do readings for Casting Directors or video tapes.”
Williams commented on his day-to-day saying, “Every week on the set is like a mini-movie. You just have to relax. Being in an ensemble is really wonderful. That really takes the pressure off too – like when you’ve got a great group, and then when you have guest stars like Pam and Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond). There’s something kind of wonderful about that influx that really kind of makes it worthwhile. They’re a really good group of people. It’s amazing. That, combined with the writers and the different Directors, really make it interesting and make it, to be honest, a lot of fun – hard work, but still fun.”
Dawber continued, “And to give Robin credit, the star always sets the pace. You can set a happy set when you don’t have a miserable, egocentric star. This is a very happy cast. And, Robin is so kind. That’s the kind of thing I’ve always loved about him. Even back in the day when we were doing that show, we would have guest stars on and we would just all hang out backstage and just laugh. There was no ego thing on our set. He’s like that on this show too. “
If the series is picked up for a second season, both Williams and Dawber would love to see Dawber’s character, Lily, return in a recurring role.
The Crazy Ones, with an average of 10.1 million viewers this season, is the number two new comedy. The episode featuring Dawber airs April 10 at 9:30/8:30c on CBS. The special hour-long season finale airs April 17 at 9/8c.
Cheryl has been a freelance TV/film writer for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, she has worked in PR for Bon Jovi Productions in NYC, PolyGram Records (also in NYC), and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations. Cheryl has published articles at suite101.com, “Sci-Fi Entertainment” magazine, and “Soap Opera Weekly.” She was also a credited researcher for English author Denis Meikle’s JOHNNY DEPP: A KIND OF ILLUSION. Cheryl enjoys writing for the entertainment industry and meeting new people. She is also an animal lover.