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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chuck Lorre and I are LikeThis

I was reading Ken Levine's column last month. By sheer circumstance, I may have been one of the first people in the country to notice the now-famous Chuck Lorre placards:

Times Union Section: LIFE & LEISURE
Page: D7 Date: Wednesday, October 1, 1997
ROB OWEN TV/Radio writer

The new TV season is only in its second week, but already there has been a noteworthy sighting of minutiae -- an insider's joke during the end credits of ABC's "Dharma & Greg."

Roger Green of Albany telephoned last week to point out the producer's credit for Chuck Lorre Productions that included lines of type running down the screen in less than two seconds.

Green videotaped "Dharma & Greg" and by freeze framing it was able to read the statement from the show's executive producer, which included the following:

"I believe that the obsessive worship of movie, TV and sports figures is less likely to produce spiritual gain than praying to Thor."

"I believe that the Laws of Karma do not apply to show business, where good things happen to bad people on a fairly regular basis."

"I believe when ABC reads this, I'm gonna be in b-i-i-g trouble."

A spokesperson for the show's production company said this type of credit is unusual, but wouldn't confirm whether it will be different each week.

But the lightning-fast statement concluded with this hint: "Please be sure to tune in again to this vanity card for more of my personal beliefs."

Set your VCRs tonight for just before 9 p.m. and prepare to freeze frame.

Here's the complete message.

I recall specifically that I taped the new show only because I was about to watch it when my good friend, the late Lillian Johnson, called right at 8:30. So I taped the show on the VCR. Then I watched it immediately thereafter and had a "what was that?" moment.

It was three weeks before I saw the phenomenon mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, so I'm going to assume I was among the first to note it.

See all of Chuck Lorre's placards, for The Big Bang Theory. Two and a Half Men and Dharma & Greg here. Apparently, he wasn't doing the messages for Cybill or Grace Under Fire.

Not so incidentally, I can't help but think of Jenna Elfman whenever I hear about the Dharma Initiative on Lost.


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