Dharma & Greg

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Dharma & Greg
Created by Dottie Dartland
Chuck Lorre
Starring Jenna Elfman
Thomas Gibson
Joel Murray
Mimi Kennedy
Alan Rachins
Mitchell Ryan
Susan Sullivan
Shae D'Lyn
Susan Chuang
Helen Greenberg
Opening theme "Dharma & Greg" by Dennis C. Brown
Ending theme "Dharma & Greg"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 119 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Chuck Lorre
Dottie Dartland Zicklin
Don Foster
Brian Medavoy
Erwin More
Bill Prady
Sid Youngers
Running time est. 22 minutes
Production company(s) Chuck Lorre Productions
More-Medavoy Productions
4 to 6 Foot Productions (season 1-2)
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor 20th Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 24, 1997 – April 30, 2002

Dharma & Greg is an American television sitcom that aired from September 24, 1997, to April 30, 2002.

It stars Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as Dharma and Greg Montgomery, a couple who got married on their first date despite being complete opposites. The series is co-produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, More-Medavoy Productions and 4 to 6 Foot Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The show's theme song was written and performed by composer Dennis C. Brown.

Created by executive producers Dottie Dartland and Chuck Lorre, the comedy took much of its inspiration from so-called culture-clash "fish out of water" situations.[1] The show earned eight Golden Globe nominations, six Emmy Award nominations, and six Satellite Awards nominations.[2] Elfman earned a Golden Globe in 1999 for Best Actress.

Brief summary of the show[edit]

Free spirited yoga instructor Dharma and lawyer Greg get married on their first date despite being complete opposites. Their conflicting views lead to comical situations. Greg was born and raised as a conservative Republican. He was educated at Harvard pre-law and Stanford law. After he graduated, he went to work with the US Attorney's Office as a federal prosecutor in San Francisco. He met Dharma, who was a yoga instructor and grew up with hippie parents. They saw each other once when they were kids at a subway station. Once they grew up, they found each other and Dharma made the first move and found Greg. Greg fell in love with her on the instant, they eloped and got married. Greg's parents and Dharma's parents are totally different. But over time they too learn to like each other, causing a unique family blend.


Main characters[edit]

Jenna Elfman as Dharma Freedom Montgomery, née Finkelstein, Greg's wife and a flower child. She is overly cheerful and sensitive, but she is also more compassionate and forgiving than most people. Despite her trust in the goodness of people and persistent good intentions, Dharma is not naive. She understands the real world, employs sarcasm and receives it well. Dharma perseveres in expressing her personality and her identity even in the face of an overwhelmingly opposing world. Dharma encourages Greg to seek happiness rather than fret about practical issues like money. She is named after the concept of dharma in Indian philosophy. A Native American friend of her father's gave her the name "Crazy Man's Daughter". She addresses both of her parents by their first names.

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".

Thomas Gibson as lawyer Gregory Clifford "Greg" Montgomery, Dharma's husband. He is an upright, uptight, decent, though sometimes surprisingly open-minded man. Greg grew up in a conservative Republican family. 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 relationship with Dharma has been rocky at times, Greg has never been shown to regret their marriage. He is an alumnus of elite schools, Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University, and Stanford Law School.

Susan Sullivan as Katherine "Kitty" Montgomery, Greg's extravagant mother. In the beginning of the first season Kitty was generally represented as a manipulative, controlling woman who only had higher aspirations for her son. As an elite socialite, Kitty was initially quite displeased to have Dharma and her parents join the family, but over the course of the series, Kitty broadens her limited country club world to become part of a larger family, becoming a major part of Dharma's life, while remaining lovingly manipulative. Despite their vast differences, she recognizes Dharma's place in their family's life, once telling her "We both know you're not the girl I would have picked for Greg. What matters is that you are the girl that Greg did pick."

Mitchell Ryan as Edward Montgomery, Greg's eccentric father. His philosophy for dealing with his wife, Kitty, involves remaining as uninvolved as possible. Head of Montgomery Industries (though he keeps working 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" in the English custom of gentry's addressing manservants by their last names alone. Edward is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, of which he is fiercely proud, and partially resents Greg for considering Notre Dame to not be "good enough" for him. Ed is often seen drinking martinis and Scotch.

Mimi Kennedy as Abigail Kathleen "Abby" O'Neil, Dharma's free-spirited, 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. She and Larry were engaged and held the wedding ceremony but still did not marry to "stay under the radar". 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. During her pregnancy in season 4, however, she did make exceptions because of her food cravings. It was mentioned in Invasion of the Buddy Snatcher that she has a degree in ornithological psychology from Berkeley.

Alan Rachins as Myron Lawrence "Larry" Finkelstein, Dharma's "hippie" father. He is a stereotypical sixties radical who frequently rants about various conspiracies, a lot of which revolve around Richard Nixon. He also thinks he's wanted by the FBI, but when Greg discovers he's not, his family goes to great lengths to prove to him that he still is because this is a source of great pride to him. Despite this, he manages to get along with Edward, often when both are sick of dealing with their wives. He homeschooled Dharma in American history, passing on his conspiracy theories, such as the latest Apollo mission secretly burying the missing minutes of the Watergate tapes on the moon. It is often alluded to that Larry is a chronic user of marijuana, though never shown. In the season 4 episode Mother Daughter Reunion, Dharma mentions that Larry has a resistance against most drugs after frequent use. In the pilot episode Abby introduces his usual cluelessness with "he blew out his short term memory back in 1972". He sometimes becomes a "pothead savant" and reveals skills such as his talent for carpentry and his music.

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 married Pete Cavanaugh in Season 2, and made an attempt to divorce him after 6 weeks. They eventually divorced in the premiere of the fourth season. She and Dharma met when Dharma dialed a wrong number. 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. A particularly bad, lazy lawyer, he 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 which 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 eight times. The last time because he threw up on the exam." In season 1, he mentions that he worked as a plumber's assistant during college. Pete marries Jane in the second season because neither of them wants to be alone on Valentine's Day.

Helen Greenberg as Marcie, one of Dharma's Co-Op friends; nasal-voiced receptionist, whose vocabulary primarily consists of the words "I'm sorry". Greenberg joined the main cast in season five; she also played a different character in the episode "Drop Dead Gorgeous".

Susan Chuang as Susan Wong, one of Dharma's friends from the Co-Op, she is seen as Marcie's counterpart. Susan also pulls a "Dharma & Greg" with a lawyer, Darrell Gottlieb, hired by Kitty in a community garden spat (her wedding, along with Dharma's accident, was the Season 4 finale). Chuang joined the main cast in season five; she also played a different character in the episode "Looking for the Goodbars".

Other characters[edit]

  • 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 is their house. (Appears in 16 episodes.)
  • Marlene (Yeardley Smith): Greg's legal secretary whom he fired and then re-hired. She is snide, rude, and a bad secretary in general, though a better "lawyer" than Pete. (Appears in 17 episodes.)
  • George (Floyd Westerman): an elderly Native American, 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 four 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 in a story arc that alienated many viewers of the show. (Appears in four 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.


Season Episodes Original airdate
Premiere Finale
1 23 September 24, 1997 May 20, 1998
2 24 September 23, 1998 May 26, 1999
3 24 September 21, 1999 May 16, 2000
4 24 October 10, 2000 May 22, 2001
5 24 September 25, 2001 April 30, 2002

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Dharma & Greg
Year Award Category Recipient Result
1999 American Comedy Award Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication Jenna Elfman Nominated
1998 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Dennis C. Brown Won
1999 Won
2000 Won
1998 Casting Society of America's Artios Award Best Casting for TV, Comedy Pilot Nikki Valko Won
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series James Burrows (For the pilot episode) Nominated
2002 Genesis Awards Television - Comedy Series "A Fish Tale" Won
1998 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Jenna Elfman Nominated
1999 Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Jenna Elfman Won
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Susan Sullivan Nominated
2000 Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Jenna Elfman Nominated
1998 Online Film & Television Association Award[3][4][5] Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Best New Comedy Series Nominated
1999 Best Actor in a Comedy Series Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Series Jenna Elfman Nominated
2000 Best Costume Design in a Series Nominated
1998 People's Choice Award Favorite Television New Comedy Series Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jenna Elfman Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series James Burrows (For the pilot episode) Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Series John Shaffner and Anne H. Ahrens (For episode "Invasion of the Buddy Snatcher") Nominated
1999 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jenna Elfman Nominated
2000 Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series John Shaffner and Anne H. Ahrens (For episode "Hell to the Chief") Nominated
Satellite Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Jenna Elfman Nominated
2001 Nominated
2002 Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Jenna Elfman Nominated
1999 Teen Choice Award TV - Choice Comedy Nominated
1998 Television Critics Association Award Outstanding New Program Nominated
Individual Achievement in Comedy Jenna Elfman Nominated
1999 TV Guide Award Favorite Actress in a Comedy Won
2000 Won
2001 Nominated
1998 Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Quality Comedy Series Nominated
Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Jenna Elfman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Susan Sullivan Nominated
1999 Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Thomas Gibson Nominated
Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Jenna Elfman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Susan Sullivan Nominated
2000 Nominated
1999 Writers Guild of America Award Episodic Comedy Dottie Dartland and Chuck Lorre (For the pilot episode) Nominated
2000 Bill Prady, Eric Zicklin and Chuck Lorre (For episode "The Paper Hat Anniversary") Nominated

Ratings and cancellation[edit]

The series was a top-25 fixture in the US during its first three seasons, first airing Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., then at 8:00. It was moved to Tuesdays at 9 p.m. 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. Dharma & Greg and Spin City shared the 8 p.m. timeslot for the rest of the season.

The final episode aired on April 30, 2002 to 6.8 million viewers, compared to the 20 million the series had peaked two years previously. Along with Ally McBeal, Dharma & Greg was one of the last two surviving shows to debut during the 1997–98 season.

Season Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st September 24, 1997 May 20, 1998 1997–1998 #25[6] 13.9[6]
2nd September 23, 1998 May 26, 1999 1998–1999 #25[7] 13.5[7]
3rd September 21, 1999 May 16, 2000 1999–2000 #14[8] 15.76[8]
4th October 10, 2000 May 22, 2001 2000–2001 #38[9] 12.3[9]
5th September 25, 2001 April 30, 2002 2001–2002 #82[10] 8.1[10]

DVD releases[edit]

20th Century Fox has released the first season of Dharma & Greg on DVD in Region 1. Season 1 & 2 have been released in Region 2 & 4

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 23 June 13, 2006 June 20, 2007 January 11, 2007
The Complete 2nd Season 24 November 11, 2014 April 1, 2008 January 22, 2008

Season 2 was released in Australia as a Region 4 PAL on January 22, 2008, with a picture of Dharma and Greg dancing on the cover.[11] It is available in Japan as a Region 2 NTSC format with a picture of them sitting down for the cover art.[12] In the spring of 2008, the second season was released in Europe (Netherlands) as a Region 2 PAL as well. All countries have different covers, and all are using the "dance shot".

On November 11, 2014, 20th Century Fox released season 2 in Region 1 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com.[13]

Vanity cards[edit]

The vanity card for Chuck Lorre Productions at the end of each episode included a message written by producer and show co-creator Chuck Lorre, expressing his personal views on a variety of subjects. Because the card only appeared on the screen for a brief moment, it was usually readable only by those who recorded the program and paused it (although the complete collection of cards has now been posted on Lorre's website).[14]

Messages were also included on the vanity cards for later Chuck Lorre Productions shows, such as Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly, and The Big Bang Theory.


Elfman and Gibson had a cameo appearance in the 2011–12 season premiere episode Two and a Half Men "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt". Their characters are not named either in the dialogue or the credits (possibly for legal reasons due to Men's being produced by a different studio),[15] but they appear to be based on Dharma and Greg. While the couple remain married, Greg seems overly tired by his responsibilities and marriage, even going so far as to sarcastically hint at divorce to Evelyn Harper (along with a self-inflicted gunshot gesture) when leaving. However, it is believed by many fans, that the couple are not really fighting, only engaging in one of their classic bits. Joel Murray also makes a cameo appearance in the episode.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dharma & Greg trivia". IMDb. Retrieved June 30, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Dharma & Greg awards". IMDb. Retrieved June 30, 2007. 
  3. ^ "1997-98: The Season of Merlin". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "1998-99: The Season of The Practice". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "1999-2000: The Season of The West Wing". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly (434). May 29, 1998. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "TV Winners & Losers: Numbers Racket A Final Tally Of The Season's Show (from Nielsen Media Research)". GeoCities. June 4, 1999. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Top TV Shows For 1999–2000 Season". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly (598). June 1, 2001. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ Dharma & Greg – Season 2 (3 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD
  12. ^ amazon.co.jp
  13. ^ 'The Complete Season 2' - Finally Available for DVD!
  14. ^ chucklorre.com
  15. ^ Was That a 'Dharma & Greg' Reunion on 'Two and a Half Men'? Thomas Gibson Explains
  16. ^ Dharma & Greg reunite for ‘Two and a Half Men’ Season 9 premiere - Zap2it

External links[edit]