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Dharma and Greg



 

Dharma and Greg

Format: Sitcom

Created by: Dottie Dartland, Chuck Lorre

Starring: Jenna Elfman, Thomas Gibson, Susan Sullivan, Mitch Ryan Mimi Kennedy, Alan Rachins, Shae D'Lyn, Joel Murray

Opening theme: "Dharma & Greg" by Dennis C. Brown

Country of origin: United States

No. of seasons: 5

No. of episodes: 119 (List of episodes)

Production

Running time: est. 22 minutes

Broadcast

Original channel: ABC

Original run: September 24, 1997 – April 30, 2002

Dharma and Greg is an American television situation comedy co-produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, More-Medavoy Productions and 4 to 6 Foot Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. It first aired from September 24, 1997, to April 30, 2002, and starred Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as Dharma and Greg Montgomery, a couple who marry instantly on their first date despite being complete opposites. The series, set in San Francisco, also starred veteran television actress and Falcon Crest alumna Susan Sullivan as Greg's snobbish mother, Kitty. The show's theme song was written and performed by composer Dennis C. Brown.

Dharma and Greg

Created and executive-produced by Dottie Dartland and Chuck Lorre, the comedy incorporated in Dharma & Greg took much of its inspiration from so-called culture-clashy "fish out of water" situations. The show earned Elfman a Golden Globe for Best Actress, out of a total of eight nominations, and moreover garnered six Emmy and Satellite Awards nominations respectively.

Dharma and Greg Cast

Jenna Elfman as Dharma Freedom Montgomery, nιe Finkelstein, Greg's wife and a flower child. She is extremely peppy and ditzy, but she also seems to be more compassionate and forgiving than most people. Dharma encourages Greg to seek happiness, rather than fret about practical issues like money. Due to being homeschooled by her parents, she has a limited understanding of Western culture and is very naοve when it comes to trusting strangers. She is named after the concept of dharma in Indian philosophy. Once, a Native American friend of her father's gave her the name "Crazy Man's Daughter".

Dharma and Greg

According to Chuck Lorre's eleventh vanity card (see below), he and Dottie Dartland originally conceived Dharma & Greg as "a series revolving around a woman whose personality is not a neurotic product of societal and parental conditioning, but of her own free-flowing, compassionate mind."

Dharma and Greg

Thomas Gibson as lawyer Gregory "Greg" Clifford Montgomery, Dharma's husband. He is an upright, uptight, decent, though sometimes surprisingly open-minded, man. Greg's life was hopelessly banal before he met Dharma and married her on their first date. Since then, he has played straight man to the antics of his eccentric wife. Though his and Dharma's relationship has been rocky at times, Greg has never been shown to regret their marriage. He is shown to be an alumnus of the famous Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University, and Stanford Law School.

Dharma and Greg

Susan Sullivan as Katherine "Kitty" Montgomery, Greg's snobbish mother. She highly disapproves of Dharma and is often successful in making her feel guilty. This often has the unintended result of making Dharma try to make it up to her in a "special" way, which everyone tries (unsuccessfully) to talk her out of and which then leads to Dharma having another fiasco to make up for.

Dharma and Greg

Kitty is generally represented as a manipulative, controlling woman and the other characters tend to consult her when they wish to do something evil. As an elite socialite, Kitty was initially quite displeased to have Dharma and her parents join the family, since they aren't exactly the kind of family she can present to her country club friends. However, she comes to accept Dharma somewhat over the course of the show and has even gone to her for condolence on rare occasions. She has also tried, unsuccessfully, to make Dharma come around to her way of thinking, especially involving the "responsibilities" of being the wife of a Montgomery.

Mitch Ryan as Edward Montgomery, Greg's eccentric father. His philosophy for dealing with women involves remaining as uninvolved as possible. Head of Montgomery Industries (though he keeps going to work only because he can see little tugboats out the window) and at odds with Dharma's father, who calls him "Ed" and whom he calls "Finkelstein." Ed is often seen drinking martinis and Scotch.

Mimi Kennedy as Abigail Kathleen "Abby" O'Neil, Dharma's caring mother, who encourages her daughter and son-in-law to produce children; "Feel free to have sex anywhere." Although they have a grown daughter and later a son, she and Dharma's father are not married. Unlike her "lifemate" Larry, she immediately accepted Greg, though she still constantly annoys and conflicts with his parents. She is a militant vegan, which is a never-ending source of trouble.

Alan Rachins as Myron Lawrence "Larry" Finkelstein, Dharma's father. He is a stereotypical sixties radical who frequently rants about various conspiracies. Despite this, he manages to get along with Edward, often when both are sick of dealing with Kitty. It is often alluded to that Larry is a chronic user of marijuana, though never proven. In the pilot episode Abby explains his usual cluelessness with "he blew out his short term memory back in 1972".

Shae D'Lyn as Jane Deaux, Dharma's friend. She considers all men more or less evil; over the course of the show, her hair went from black, to red, to blonde. She and Dharma met when Dharma was calling strangers to meet new friends. D'Lyn left at the end of the fourth season, though she had one "guest appearance" in season five.

Joel Murray as Peter James "Pete" Cavanaugh, Greg's friend and colleague at the Justice Department. He's a particularly bad, lazy lawyer and was married to Jane for a time. His entire life can be summed up by the interior of his apartment: a massage chair surrounded by empty take-out containers, next to this is a small refrigerator and a stack of porno tapes. A high-class entertainment center is in front of this. It is said he wears adult diapers to football games. Greg once said of his friend: "Pete went to law school in Barbados; he failed the Bar seven times. The last time because he threw up on the exam."

Dharma and Greg Other characters

Celia (Lillian Hurst) — Kitty and Edward's Hispanic maid. She is given constant support from Larry, who views her as "oppressed." When Kitty and Edward are out of town, Celia and her family move into the Montgomerys' mansion and invite their friends over, pretending it's their house. (appears in 16 episodes)

Marcie (Helen Greenberg) — one of Dharma's Co-Op friends; nasal-voiced receptionist, whose vocabulary primarily consists of the words "I'm sorry." (appears in 17 episodes; Greenberg also played a different character in the episode "Drop Dead Gorgeous")

Susan (Susan Chuang) - another of Dharma's friends from the Co-Op, she is seen as Marci's counterpart. Susan also pulls a "Dharma & Greg" with a lawyer hired by Kitty in a community garden spat (Her wedding, along with Dharma's accident, was the Season 4 finale). (appears in 17 episodes; Chuang also played a different character in the episode "Looking for the Goodbars")

Marlene (Yeardley Smith) — Greg's legal secretary who he fired and then re-hired. She is snide, rude, and a bad secretary in general, though a better "lawyer" than Pete. (appears in 13 episodes)

George (Floyd Westerman) — an elderly American Indian, who came to live with Dharma and Greg in the episode "Indian Summer"; he died at the end of the episode, but his ghost sometimes appears to Dharma to offer her advice. (appears in 4 episodes)

Charlie (Kevin Sorbo) — a university professor going through a divorce who falls in love with Dharma. His affections, particularly a love letter and offering to drive Dharma home on a rainy day, cause Dharma and Greg to briefly separate. (appears in 4 episodes)

Young Greg (Mathew Weiss) - Greg as a young boy (appears only in pilot). Falls in love with Dharma instantaneously when the two swap glances for the first time while barely missing each other on the subway--years before they finally meet and marry on their first date.

Young Dharma (Megan Butala) - Dharma as a young girl (appears only in pilot). Megan is Jenna Elfman's niece (her brother's daughter), as told by Elfman herself in the audio commentary to the pilot episode from the DVD release.

Stinky — Dharma's and Greg's dog; a long-haired mutt. Nunzio (Bud 1997–1998, Butch 1998–1999, Twiggy 2000–2001) — Stinky's dog, a Welsh Corgi; Dharma's gift to Stinky on his Bar Mitzvah.

Dharma and Greg Ratings and cancellation

The series was a top-20 fixture during its first two seasons, first airing Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., then at 8:00. It was moved to Tuesdays at 9pm during its third season where it experienced a dramatic ratings lift thanks to a lead-in of the then red-hot Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. As ratings for that series waned in 2000/2001, Dharma & Greg suffered a similar fate, compounded by NBC moving Frasier into the same time slot. As Millionaire fell even further and was moved off the night in the fall of 2001, ABC tried to rebuild a Tuesday night comedy block consisting of Dharma & Greg, What About Joan?, Bob Patterson and Spin City. The move was ill-fated, however, with Joan lasting just two episodes and Patterson five. Dharma & Greg and Spin City shared the 8pm timeslot for the rest of the season, despite ever-declining ratings. The final episode aired on April 30, 2002 to just 6.8 million viewers, compared to the 20 million the series had peaked at just two years previously.

Dharma and Greg DVD releases

20th Century Fox has released the first season of Dharma & Greg on DVD in Region 1.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date The Complete 1st Season 23 June 13, 2006

Season 2 was released in Australia as a Region 4 PAL as of 2008-01-23, with a picture of Dharma and Greg dancing on the cover. It is available in Japan as a Region 2 PAL format with a picture of them sitting down for the cover art. In the spring of 2008, the second season was released in Europe as a Region 2 PAL as well. All countries have different covers, and all are using the "dance shot".



Vanity cards

At the end of each episode, a message appeared on the screen for a brief moment, so that it is readable only to those who record the program (using a VCR or DVR, for example) and pause it. These "vanity cards" were written by producer and show co-creator Chuck Lorre, and express his personal views on a variety of subjects. These vanity cards are also seen at the end of episodes of CBS' Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, also Chuck Lorre productions.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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