'Dharma' Manifesto

Vanity cards are nothing new. Producers often get a spot at the end of shows to display their company logo, usually with a sound or music bite — as in Spin City cocreator Gary David Goldberg’s ”Sit, Ubu, sit — good dog” clip. Leave it to producer Chuck Lorre to push the envelope. His Dharma & Greg sign-off treats viewers to a veritable written manifesto in under a second. The first of two (and counting) missives included 268 words of Lorre’s thoughts on, among other things, fans (”I believe that the obsessive worship of movie, TV and sports figures is less likely to produce spiritual gain than praying to Thor”), the Three Stooges (”I believe that Larry was a vastly underrated Stooge”), and, perhaps, Brett Butler or Cybill Shepherd, stars of previous Lorre gigs (”I believe that if you can’t find anything nice to say about people whom you’ve helped to make wildly successful and then they stabbed you in the back, then don’t say anything”).

Reading the Dharma card requires viewers to tape, then freeze-frame, the end of an episode. Not many viewers are obsessive enough for that. But Lorre has gotten letters, particularly in response to his ”I believe I have … maybe the greatest dog in the whole wide world.” He laughs: ”The prominent theme is everyone thought their dog was the greatest.

”This is just me having fun — adding an extra laugh at the end of the show,” says Lorre, who worried he’d be in ”big trouble” with ABC when execs read the card. Good news, Chuck: They believe it’s fine.

Jay R. Ehrlich and Kate Pavao

Dharma & Greg
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