‘Mork & Mindy’: 1 Controversial Line Had to Be Changed Before an Episode Could Air

TV show censorship was common in the ’60s and ’70s and often a real pain for producers to get around. Lines and specific words that seem insignificant to us today were once thought to be ‘taboo’ or an implication of something ‘dirty’ when in reality, they were just what they were and nothing more. 

You’ll be surprised by the controversial line in Mork & Morty that had to be changed due to censorship regulations before the episode could air.  You’ll be even more surprised by it when you think about what is allowed to be done and said on television today.

‘Mork & Mindy’: Mork’s seduction

(L-R) Pam Dawber and Robin Williams sitting on a couch on 'Mork & Mindy'
(L-R) Pam Dawber and Robin Williams | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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In season one of Mork & Mindy, viewers are introduced to Morgan Fairchild’s character Susan Taylor, a self-centered and arrogant ex-friend of Mindy’s from high school. She comes back into Mindy’s life with a vendetta set on getting back at her for stealing her boyfriend Jack Peterson — a boyfriend Mindy says she had no interest in, but Susan feels was broken up by Mindy.

Her plan was to steal Mork, who she presumes is Mindy’s love interest (although they don’t get to that point for a few more seasons), and takes him on his first date. Susan brings him back to her home to seduce him but makes the mistake of lighting a candle that sets Mork off because it is an ancient form of torture back on his planet. 

Despite her obvious jealousy, Mindy acts as if this encounter doesn’t bother her when Mork gets home. To her relief, he doesn’t seem to have any more interest in Susan in any way other than a ‘friendship.’ 

The controversial line that had to be changed before the episode could air

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Many shows have dealt with editing and changes due to the ridiculous censorship around the ’60s and ’70s. A time when simple words were ‘taboo’ depending on the implications they were stigmatized with.

One of which was the word ‘pregnant,’ which was forced to be changed (or avoided altogether) in shows like I Love Lucy, Mork & Mindy, and many more. In particular, Gizmodo reports April Kelly and David Misch’s censorship battles with Mork & Mindy that was taken seriously back then but would be laughable compared to the things TV shows are allowed to do today. 

“In those days, you had to deal with the censors. Oh god, I hate censors,” Kelly said. “It seems so silly, some of the stuff they wouldn’t let us do.”

“April Kelly and I wrote a show where a con-woman, played by the actress Morgan Fairchild, says, ‘Mork, I’m pregnant.’ And the network says, ‘You can’t say that. We don’t allow the word pregnant.’ So [this was changed to] ‘Mork, I’m having a baby,'” Misch explained. “My interpretation of that is: Being pregnant means you’ve had sex, but having a baby is adorable.”

Morgan Fairchild on her experience with ‘Mork & Mindy’

Pam Dawber, Robin Williams
Pam Dawber, Robin Williams | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Fairchild was ecstatic when she heard there was interest in her for the new Mork & Mindy show and wanted to take part in it despite making significantly less money than she’s worth. In fact, she said she would do it for free in an interview with Sway’s Universe

Mork & Mindy? That’s Robin Williams’ show! [Her manager asked] ‘who’s Robin Williams?'” Fairchild recalls the encounter. “I said I saw Robin Williams working on the Happy Days set. Don’t tell Gary I would do the show for free to work with Robin Williams.”

Despite the mandatory changes before airing, the three Mork & Mindy episodes with Morgan Fairchild’s character Susan Taylor were still funny and classically nostalgic for many. You’d be surprised at just how many of your classic shows had to switch up last minute due to odd censorship rules mandated by networks.