Watch Mork give the strangest, greatest gifts in ''Mork's First Christmas''
Would you rather get a bubblegum Liberace or a bracelet made of flies?
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To an alien, Christmas must seem like a bizarre ritual. Indeed, when Mork first encounters the holiday, in "Mork's First Christmas," the twelfth episode of Mork and Mindy, he is downright mortified. In the opening scene, he burts into the house in a terrified panic and warns Mindy of what he's seen on the yuletide streets of Boulder, Colorado.
He explains that roving gangs of children are singing, "Deck the Halls," which Mork naturally assumes is about an angry mob punching Monty Hall's family. He believes the jolly fat men ringing bells in red suits are called "Santa Claws." Mindy sits Mork down on the couch, calms him, and explains Jesus Christ to her alien roomie. Mork asks, "Is that the guy with the glasses who runs Boulder Stereo?"
From there, "Mork's First Christmas" winds its way through the ultimate "special holiday episode" plot, hitting extremes of silliness and sentimentality. It's super goofy but ends on a surprisingly heavy note. Rewatching it, after chuckling through the puns and slapstick, we did not expect to fight back tears at our desk.
Without a doubt, Mork gives the most creative and quirky Christmas gifts ever seen on television. He can't afford presents, so he makes his own.
First, he gives Mindy's dad (Conrad Janis) a handmade toupee, which looks more like a faux beaver fur hat made out of carpeting remnants.
"Just like Howard Cosell — and it's indoor / outdoor!" Mork says, as he sells Mr. McConnell on the utility of the "hairpiece."
Mindy's grandmom (Elizabeth Kerr) fares — well, we're not sure if this is better or worse. It's "a portrait of Liberace made out of old bubblegum."
And what to get Susan Taylor, Mindy's Yuppie friend? A saucer. "Why a saucer?" Susan rightfully asks. "Mindy said you'd only appreciate something shallow," Mork says. Ba-dum-bum.
At last, we get to Mindy, Mork's true love. What do you get your true love? It's hard to go wrong with jewelry. Unless said jewelry is made from insects found in the attic. Yep, it's a bracelet made of dead flies. "I painted each and every one of their eyes," Mork points out, "which was drag — it took a really long time." He also sewed the flies little pants. Mostly so Robin Williams can deliver the joke, "Look… his human's open!"
The gang does not respond well to these bizarre but heartfelt gifts. But just when you think this episode will stay firmly in a strange, mirthful mood, Mork gives everyone his final, true present. Using his alien powers, he gives Mindy, her father and her grandmother the ability to fully recall an old, cherished memory.
"For a few short weeks each season, humans try to act human," Mork observes. Watch this classic Christmas episode below.