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Dharma and Greg aired from September 1997 until April 2000 on ABC.
Opposites attracted quickly indeed in this romantic comedy, a hit of the 1997 fall season. Dharma ( Jenna Elfman), was a free-spirited San Francisco yoga instructor and dog trainer, living life on impulse. When she spotted ruggedly handsome attorney Greg ( Thomas Gibson), on a subway platform, she knew at once he was her spiritual mate. Greg was as stiff and conservative as Dharma was wild and impetuous, but somehow he knew too, and they were married on their first date. The news did not sit well with either set of parents, for different reasons. Dharma's bohemian mom Abby ( Mimi Kennedy), liked to paint in the nude, while her father Larry ( Alan Rachins),was a bumbling ant-war radical from the '60's who acted as if he was still hiding from the authorities ( although nobody seemed to care). To them Dharma had married into the hated establishment ( Greg was an assistant U.S. Attorney). Greg's rich parents, Edward and Kitty ( Mitchell Ryan, Susan Sullivan), were blue bloods from the country-club crowd, to whom Dharma was utterly incomprehensible. Pete ( Joel Murray), was Greg's gross co-worker and Jane ( Shae D'lyn), was Dharma's flaky friend.
During later seasons Greg left the U.S. Attorney's office, went on a " voyage of self-discovery," and eventually set up a private practice with his friend Pete. Abby had a baby; and Dharma and Greg were both injured in a car accident, which led them to be even more appreciative of their lives with each other.
A Review from variety
September 22, 1997 12:00AM PT
Dharma and Greg
Realism takes a holiday --- a long one --- in this loopy new romantic comedy pitting polar opposites. She's a dog-training, yoga-teaching free spirit. He's a button-down, anal-retentive Ivy League lawyer. It can't possibly work. Not in a million years. But this being TV, all they need is 23 minutes. And for all its implausibility, by the end of the "Dharma and Greg" pilot, you're smiling anyhow.
By Ray Richmond
With the luminous Jenna Elfman (“Townies”) leading the charge, the San Francisco-based series largely succeeds because writer-producers Dottie Dartland and Chuck Lorre throw caution to the wind and allow the show to sprint at its own giddy pace. And with a master director like James Burrows calling the shots, an irresistible edge of cuteness seeps through.
Elfman, who combines the sexiness and comic instincts of a metaphysical Tea Leoni, stars as Dharma Finkelstein, the passionate, impulsive product of a bohemian mother (Mimi Kennedy) who paints in the nude and a hippie dad (Alan Rachins of “L.A. Law”) who bashes the establishment for sport.
When Dharma sees Greg (Thomas Gibson, the hunky “Chicago Hope” alum) getting off a subway train, it’s love at second sight. They’d already had a moment in the exact same spot 20 years before.
And now she’s not going to let her unlikely soul mate get away. So she surprises him at his office. Their courtship lasts a matter of hours. Before 24 of them pass, they’re in Reno getting married.
Thickening the plot are the disparate reactions to news of the marriage by Dharma’s hippie parents and Greg’s stiff-as-a-board, pate-and-Pellegrino folks (perfectly played by Susan Sullivan and Mitchell Ryan).
Elfman is being bred as thebreakout star, and she has the spirited presence to make it happen. Fast. She’s a bombshell who carries the payload effortlessly. Gibson is more or less along for the ride as straight-man, but is adequate enough; together, their chemistry is a force to behold.
A larger question surrounds where “Dharma & Greg” goes from here. The opposites thing can quickly slip into a one-joke trap. And the opening stanza is awfully preoccupied with sex for an 8:30, kiddies-aren’t-in-bed-yet half-hour. But the pilot remains so lively that it sweeps you into its nutty whirl anyway.
Tech credits are all dandy.
Dharma and Greg
Wed. (24), 8:30-9 p.m., ABC
Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Chuck Lorre Prods. and 4 to 6 Foot Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox TV. Executive producers, Dottie Dartland, Chuck Lorre, Erwin More, Brian Medavoy; co-executive producer, Bill Prady; producer, Kevin Berg; consulting producer, Don Foster; writers, Dartland, Lorre; director, James Burrows; director of photography, Richard Brown; production designer, John Shaffner.
Crew: Editor, Peter Chakos; music, Dennis C. Brown; sound, Bruce Peters; casting, Nikki Valko, Gillian O'Neill.
With: Cast: Jenna Elfman, Thomas Gibson, Shae D'lyn, Susan Sullivan, Alan Rachins, Joel Murray, Mimi Kennedy, Mitchell Ryan.
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; She's Wild, He's Square: It's Made in Heaven
By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 24, 1997
When Dharma Finkelstein, a free spirit whose parents are permanently stuck in the 60's, meets Greg Montgomery, an assistant United States Attorney from an upper-crust San Francisco family, their eyes lock, they realize they are soul mates, they fly to Reno for blueberry pie and get married that very night.
If that sounds weird, consider this as an example of the inscrutable ways of television: ever since the fall schedules were announced, the insufferably cute ''Dharma and Greg'' has been considered one of the season's most likely hits and Jenna Elfman hyped as a ready-made star. Those predictions might come true, but it's a depressing thought. Dharma and Greg are so cloying they make the happy, well-adjusted Buchmans on ''Mad About You'' seem like Bonnie and Clyde.
Ms. Elfman gets a lot of mileage out of squealing, making little chipmunk faces and flaunting Dharma's retro-chic wardrobe and supposedly wacky lack of convention. How unconventional is she? She loves going to baseball games because you can stand up and yell anything, the more nonsensical the better. ''Come on, big guy, drive your coffee table to Idaho, woooo!'' she yells. That's as wacky as it gets.
Mr. Gibson (from ''Chicago Hope'') has the thankless job of playing straight man, and strait-laced man. Occasionally Greg lets his emotions break through, but basically he has to act like a tree. And these are the people we're supposed to care about.
Unlike the lovers, their disapproving parents are meant to be laughable stereotypes, and are more amusing for it. Susan Sullivan has a perfectly poised delivery as Greg's aloof country-club mother, and Mitchell Ryan is amusingly stiff as his father (you see where the son came from). Alan Rachins is apoplectic and endearing as Dharma's father, a balding man with a ponytail halfway down his back. Mimi Kennedy is Dharma's sweet, understanding mother.
Next week the in-laws meet and plan a wedding reception, with predictably disastrous results. The groom's side wants uniformed waiters serving veal; the bride's side wants the waiters to sit with the guests so they won't feel exploited. Despite some amusing moments, the series has nowhere to go except in circles.
''Dharma and Greg'' obviously wants to update ''Barefoot in the Park.'' That's not a foolish idea. The advance praise might even suggest some reaction against the staid 90's, or some longing for romantic comedy. But ''Barefoot in the Park'' belongs to a time when free spirits were truly rare; the idea makes a lot less sense and has a lot less charm today. Or maybe the advance praise says more about the cookie-cutter quality of most other sitcoms than it does about the slender wit of ''Dharma and Greg'' itself.
DHARMA AND GREG
ABC, tonight at 8:30
(Channel 7 in New York)
Created by Chuck Lorre and Dottie Dartland. Mr. Lorre, Ms. Dartland, Brian Medavoy and Erwin More, executive producers; Bill Prady and Regina Stewart, co-executive producers. Randy Cordray, producer. A Chuck Lorre production and a 4 to 6 production in association with 20th Century Fox Television.
WITH: Jenna Elfman (Dharma Finkelstein), Thomas Gibson (Greg Montgomery), Mimi Kennedy (Abby Finkelstein), Alan Rachins (Larry Finkelstein), Susan Sullivan (Kitty Gibson), Mitchell Ryan (Edward Gibson), Joel Murray (Pete) and Shae D'lyn (Jane).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
STRANGE BED FELLOWS
CAN A HIPPIE (DHARMA) AND A YUPPIE (GREG) FIND TRUE LOVE--AND HELP ABC WIN BACK VIEWERS' HEARTS?
By Dan Snierson
DHARMA & GREG CBS, 8:30-9 PM STARTS SEPT. 24
One day this summer, while shooting the upcoming Disney comedy Krippendorf's Tribe, Jenna Elfman of Dharma & Greg found herself sitting in the makeup trailer next to Murphy Brown's Lily Tomlin. ''She's getting her hair done and I'm getting my makeup done, and I'm going on about how our show shouldn't have much competition this fall,'' Elfman recalls. ''And she says, 'We're on Wednesday at 8:30 too.' So I'm like, 'Lily, if we kick your ass in the ratings, will you still like me?' And she just rolled her eyes toward me and gave me a very slow, sly smile.''
Who can blame the kid for showing a little rookie bravado? ABC's uptight boy- meets-hang-loose girl series is already being trumpeted as the freshest sitcom of the fall -- not to mention the perfect breakout vehicle for the 25-year-old Elfman (''What exactly am I breaking out of?'' she asks). ''Everyone seems extremely confident in us,'' cautiously notes the other half of the equation, ex-Chicago Hope hunk Thomas Gibson, 35. ''A couple of advertisers came up to us at the network presentations and said, 'I can't wait to spend our budget on your show.'''
Dharma domination would be a welcome (and necessary) blessing for the No. 3 net, which seeks to reverse tumbling fortunes. ''This show has instant hit potential,'' gushes (admittedly biased) ABC VP of marketing Alan Cohen.
Instant hit? That'd be a doubly impressive feat, considering that prime-time audiences haven't cozied up to a romantic comedy since 1992's Mad About You. (RIP If Not for You, It Had to Be You, Almost Perfect, Hudson Street...) In this slicker, twentysomething take on the genre, Elfman plays chirpy tree hugger Dharma, who bumps into buttoned-up Ivy-schooled lawyer Greg (Gibson); they see fireworks, yada yada yada, and they're hitched by the end of the first date. Conflicts and yuks arise as the couple get to know each other and their polar-opposite parents, who include Falcon Crest's Susan Sullivan as Greg's pass-the-beluga mom and L.A. Law's Alan Rachins as Dharma's screw-the-Establishment dad. ''Falling in love was the easy part,'' notes Dharma exec producer Chuck Lorre. ''Staying in love is the series.''
Hollywood execs have already fallen hard for the 5'10'' Elfman, who swiped scenes last season as sex-happy Shannon on Molly Ringwald's nixed ABC sitcom, Townies. ''Jenna is the only person I've ever seen who could combine height and cuteness,'' notes ABC VP of comedy series Carolyn Ginsburg. Elfman immediately latched on to Dharma and joined in the search for would-be suitors. ''A lot of the guys were handsome and potentially charming,'' she recalls. ''But they would walk in and apologize for it in a weird, kiss-assy way. The moment I saw Thomas, I knew. It was like KSHHHHHHHH! Something smacked me across the face.'' (''I certainly didn't mean to slap her,'' deadpans Gibson. ''I was just standing there.'')
And the rest, as they say, is chemistry. Like the many deep-sixed romantic comedies before it, Dharma must live or die on that ineffable attraction. If this particular marriage fails, though, it definitely won't be for lack of effort. ''You want to use everything you've got, not just one part,'' notes Elfman. ''To survive, you have to be willing to play the fool. And I'm very willing. I don't care, I'll sing loudly, I'll do anything!'' Lily Tomlin, consider yourself warned.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
HOUSE OF WACKS
A VISIT TO THE SET OF ABC'S DHARMA & GREG PROVES ONE THING: IT'S DHARMA'S WORLD--GREG ONLY LIVES IN IT
By Dan Snierson | Feb 06, 1998
Dying to know the secrets of Dharma & Greg's success? Think it's the stellar writing, or the ABC comedy's two charismatic stars, Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson? Ha!
It's called feng shui, the ancient Eastern cleansing ritual and environmental luck charm favored by Hollywood's suddenly spiritual elite. ''There were a bunch of failed pilots on this stage,'' explains executive producer Dottie Dartland, ''and if you're superstitious, you'll do anything to help your show. So this guy came in and painted the walls purple and red, and put up mirrors to reflect the energy. Then we peeled oranges and threw them on the stage and sprinkled some water around. But it was worth the 250 bucks.''
No kidding. The show has blossomed into a hit, and the Twentieth Century Fox lot's stage 21 -- once home to CBS' Picket Fences -- is now definitely Dharma's domain: a pepped-up pastiche of colors, patterns, and generally bizarre objets d'art. ''I like the word whimsical,'' production designer John Shaffner says of the 35- by 20-foot set, which cost roughly $60,000, took three weeks to build, and was modeled after a San Francisco warehouse-turned-loft. ''The idea was to make [yuppie lawyer]Greg a foreigner in [hippie] Dharma's world. She isn't afraid of color. She finds charm and loveliness in things the average person might have a hard time finding charming or lovely.''
These things include the flower-patterned vintage surfboard (a gift from one of Dartland's wave-riding buddies) and the fish diorama-turned-end table (a $600 buy at Charles & Charles, an antiques wholesaler). ''It's one of my favorites, but it's always hidden,'' laments set decorator Anne Ahrens. ''We've been meaning to put a light in it.''
The wooden swing in the corner gets short shrift too, thanks to an early Elfman mishap. ''The cameras were rolling,'' says the actress, ''and I swung right into the bookshelf. The whole thing came crashing down, and I broke some stuff.''
The prop getting the most attention from set visitors -- the mosaic kitchen table with inlaid place settings -- is also the most expensive ($2,000 at the Los Angeles store Civilization). ''People eat lunch on it,'' says Ahrens. ''I don't mind. It gives it a lived-in look.''
The set may appear cozy, but the stars know better. ''The sofa used to be snuggly,'' laments Elfman. ''But then they put a board underneath the pillows for when we have to jump on it.'' Gibson has other pet peeves, courtesy of his canine costars: ''There's lots of dog hair and slobber on those pillows.''
An Article from The New York Daily News
'DHARMA & GREG' & BOB IT MUST BE THE MILLENNIUM: DYLAN DOES SITCOM CAMEO
BY DAVID BIANCULLI
Tuesday, October 12th 1999, 2:11AM
He has gone electric, then unplugged. He's gone country, then Christian. He's gone on never-ending tours and into intensive care.
And tonight, in one last stunner before the millennium, Bob Dylan goes "Dharma."
ABC has been promoting tonight's episode of "Dharma & Greg" (at 9) only obliquely, by asking viewers to guess which special guest star shows up to play in Dharma's garage band. The celebrity in question, though, has his or her face obscured by a giant computer-generated dot.
I've acquired a tape of the show in advance, though and it's Dylan.
(The episode title, "Play Lady Play" was somewhat of an early giveaway. ABC declined to confirm the guest's identity, yesterday but sources said the Dylan connection was made via one of the show's writers.)
The show's plot has Dharma (played charmingly, as always, by Jenna Elfman) fleeing from the obsessive arguing of her newly nonworking husband Greg (Thomas Gibson) and acting as fill-in drummer for the rock group run by her teen neighbor, Donald (J.D. Walsh).
At the end of the show, though, Dharma heads off to try out with another band and ends up playing drums alongside musicians T-Bone Burnett, John Fields, Tony Gilkyson, Joe Henry and Dylan, as Dylan.
Dylan doesn't sing at all, but plays a lot of guitar several instrumentals, including an improvised polka and generally, improbably, follows Elfman's lead as her character of Dharma "tries out" for the band.
It's astounding enough that Dylan shows up in prime time, on network TV, for this casual little appearance. It's even more astounding that he talks not much, but I've attended many concerts where he's said less.
Most astounding of all, though, is how much he smiles. When Elfman, as Dharma, finishes the first song and shouts "Cool!" Dylan grins like a Cheshire cat.
When she asks him if he wants her to play more so he can decide, he says "No" with deadpan finality then smiles widely again. And when she asks if he'll help load her van, he both smiles and laughs, and says, "Sure."
When Greta Garbo made the transition from silents to motion pictures with sound, the famous tag line was "Garbo talks!" Tonight, as an unexpected treat on "Dharma & Greg," we've got another one: "Dylan laughs!"
The times, they have a-changed...
An Article from The New York Daily News
EDUCATING 'DHARMA' FAILS
BY ERIC MINK
Tuesday, February 6th 2001, 2:20AM
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and a new "Dharma & Greg" two-part story line is thick with the scent of desperation.
Starting tonight, hunky guest star Kevin Sorbo plays Charlie Sumner, a college history professor for whom Dharma Finkelstein (Jenna Elfman) develops an unexpected mutual attraction. With her lawyer husband, Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson), only superficially supportive of her decision to go back to school, Dharma wrestles with temptation.
I won't explicitly reveal what happens this week and next, but I feel obliged to point out that ABC's suggestive on-air promos would not pass a stringent truth-in-advertising test.
The truth, of course, is that "Dharma & Greg," now in its fourth season, has painted itself into a corner. The show's premise has always been slender: Free-spirited, good-hearted kook Dharma and strait-laced, equally good-hearted lawyer Greg discover that they're soul mates and get married.
Contrasting natures, plus wacky parents and friends, equals comedy. And while that sweet wisp of an idea - and the irresistible appeal of Elfman - has sustained the show this far, it now feels played out.
The stagnation hasn't gone unnoticed. Viewership for "Dharma & Greg" is off about 20% from last year. It surely didn't help "Dharma" to have NBC's still-vital "Frasier" back on Tuesdays at 9 as an alternative.
The result, timed to hit the February ratings period: Sorbo, temptation, promos, etc.
But viewers who tune in for the two Sorbo episodes, titled "Educating Dharma: Parts One and Two," won't find much of the "Dharma" karma. Indeed, the notion of Dharma's cheating on Greg is so fundamentally contrary to her essence that it simply lacks credibility, even - or, perhaps, especially - in a sitcom.
Even ordinary laughs are kindly described as few, far between and familiar. The best line of both shows comes from Mitchell Ryan as Edward Montgomery, Greg's rich and frequently sauced father. Over dinner, Edward informs Greg about the wealth of one of his clients: "Bob Gullicksen," Edward snarls, "has a summer home for every tooth in my head."
It's worth noting that the built-in limitations of the show's premise have nothing to do with the talents of its cast. Elfman is in a class by herself, but Gibson has stayed right with her all along.
Meanwhile, Ryan, Susan Sullivan (as Greg's snooty mother), Alan Rachins and Mimi Kennedy (as Dharma's still-hippie-ish parents), and Joel Murray and Shae D'lyn (Dharma and Greg's closest friends) have made much more of their increasingly repetitive material than anyone could have expected.
For that matter, guest star Sorbo displays a comfortable comedic touch in his scenes with Elfman. It's a skill honed, no doubt, by many tongue-in-cheek moments of his stardom in the syndicated "Hercules."
Solid acting notwithstanding, "Dharma & Greg" seems to be running out of juice.
To watch some clips from Dharma & Greg go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dharma+%26+greg&aq=f
For the official ABC Website for Dharma & Greg go to https://web.archive.org/web/20001202214100/https://abc.go.com/primetime/dharmaandgreg/dharma_home.html
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20090612005715/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/dharma.html
For The D&G Experience (Fan Site) go to http://dh.henryherman.com/dharma/index.html
For a website dedicated to Dharma & Greg go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020124065617/http://www.immortals.net:80/dharma/
For the The Official Vanity Card Archives for dharma & Greg go to http://www.chucklorre.com/index-dg.php
For some Dharma & Greg-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/dharma-greg
� Date: Tue March 2, 2004 � Filesize: 77.0kb, 79.0kb � Dimensions: 575 x 756 �
Keywords: dharma greg