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Old 09-22-2011, 10:37 PM   #1
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TV Thomas Gibson Talks About the "Dharma & Greg" Reunion on "Two and a Half Men"

Thomas Gibson on How "Two and a Half Men" Pulled Off a "Dharma & Greg" Reunion
Sept 22, 2011
by Michael Schneider

The biggest surprise of Monday night's big "Two and a Half Men" season premiere may have been the unexpected appearance of "Dharma & Greg" stars Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson.

While much of the episode's secrets had already leaked — from the death of Charlie Harper to the funeral appearance of his old girlfriends — the show managed to keep the cameos by Elfman and Gibson a complete secret.

Turns out that's because Elfman and Gibson weren't actually at the taping of "Two and a Half Men's" season opener. Instead, they shot their cameo days later, and didn't do it in front of a studio audience. The clip of Elfman and Gibson was later shown to another audience in order to record their reaction and laughter — and that crowd, which signed a non-disclosure agreement, managed to keep it quiet.

"Nobody seemed to put it out there, which was kind of nice," Gibson says.

"Two and a Half Men" executive producer Chuck Lorre was also the creator behind "Dharma & Greg", which ran on ABC from 1997 to 2002.

(Trivia note: It's the first show to feature Lorre's now-famous weekly vanity card messages.)

Gibson, who's already a team CBS player ("Criminal Minds"), was immediately game to the idea.

"I got a call and Chuck wanted to have some surprises and make a really big splash for the first episode," Gibson says. "I thought it was a really funny idea."

That's why, nine years after "Dharma & Greg" went off the air, Elfman and Gibson — bickering like a couple that has now been married 15 years — were among the guest stars showing up to take a look at the Malibu beach house formerly occupied by Charlie, and now on the market.

John Stamos was another cameo.

One hiccup: "Dharma & Greg" was produced by 20th Century Fox TV, while "Two and a Half Men" is a Warner Bros. TV show. Lorre didn't secure permission to use the characters, but technically he didn't need to: Elfman and Gibson never referred to each other as "Dharma" or "Greg", and they were simply billed as special guest appearances, without actual character names.

"I don't know if it was Dharma and Greg," Gibson says with a wink. "It could have been a different couple."

But even casual "Dharma & Greg" viewers probably picked up on the similar character types. Elfman, for example, walked down the stairs marveling about the home's "feng shui."

Then the two start squabbling, Gibson suggests a divorce, and Elfman promises to "take you and your uptight bourgeois family for everything you've got."

(If you recall, the conflict between Dharma's hippy character and Greg's uptight family provided the backdrop for the show.)

So are Dharma and Greg on the outs?

"They certainly seem to be having some issues," Gibson says.

"I'd like to think things are still OK between them, even though they might have been at each others' throats there."

Gibson says the scene took about an hour to shoot, and that he had a chance to catch up with Elfman.

"I hadn't seen her in a while," he says.

Much of the "Two and a Half Men" crew once worked on "Dharma & Greg", which made for another type of homecoming, he adds.

"To get the chance to get together again, even for just an hour or so, was cool. It was a family reunion and a great experience for us."
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