Greg: "You wanna have children?" Freewheeling, eccentric nymph Dharma
Dharma: "Yeah, unless you wanna have 'em!"
and laid-back, sensible lawyer Greg meet one morning, fall in love and marry later that afternoon. The rest of the show centers on this mismatched relationship, the wackiness of Dharma's (and now Greg's) life, and the reluctant attempts by Dharma's hippie parents and Greg's rich WASPish parents to get along.
Ran for five seasons (1997-2002), and was especially successful in its first three, but also critically divisive. Whether you responded to it or not depended on whether you thought Jenna Elfman's kooky antics were charmingly silly or hopelessly contrived. Dharma and her family believe in every possible aspect of several new age belief systems, bordering on Fantasy Kitchen Sink
. Actor Thomas Gibson had little impact on the critical reception, since 99% of his job was playing the straight man to everybody else in the show — after the pilot, Greg instantly loses most of his quirky personality.
Years after the show ended, the couple had a cameo on Two and a Half Men
, bitter and on the brink of divorce. Given the amount of episode plots revolving around the couple role-playing in public, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
Also featured the Chuck Lorre Vanity Plates, which can be found on ChuckLorre.com
This show provides examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: Right in the title.
- Artistic License – Linguistics: In one episode, Dharma and a teenaged guest pretend to be German tourists who can't speak or understand English. Anyone who tries to talk to them gets a response in gibberish. Finally, a saleswoman says, in real German, "Kann ich dir helfen?", meaning "Can I help you?" There are two mistakes here. Firstly, she is speaking informal German, which is only used with children, family, and very close friends — never with a customer. Secondly, she is using the singular form of "you" when talking to two people. What she should have said is, "Kann ich Ihnen helfen?"
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other
- Beta Couple: Jane and Pete, though their six-week marriage was a Pair the Spares moment due to not wanting to be alone on Valentine's Day. The Montgomeries and Finkelsteins also fit this trope from time to time.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Dharma's parents.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Abby (Dharma's mother) thinks she's entering menopause and turns out to be pregnant.
- The Cameo: Bob Dylan
- And K.D. Lang
- Dick Clark
- Lyle Lovett
- The Cast Showoff: Jenna Elfman apparently once considered becoming a drummer. Dharma has multiple episodes in which she shows off her skills.
- Well, she auditioned once for the band (not that one) of Bob Dylan.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Larry usually.
- Edward has his moments too.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Dharma and Greg when Kitty walks in.
- Dead Air: Happens when Dharma creates a pirate radio station. She gets into an argument with Greg for several seconds before realizing she's left dead air and panics, bringing out all the instruments she has on the table.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pete
- Also Marlene
- And Edward, usually to Larry
- El Spanisho: Well, "ein German-en", really, during the German tourist gags.
- Embarrassing First Name: Myron Lawrence Finkelstein
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Gregory Clifford Montgomery; Dharma Freedom Finkelstein
- Forgotten First Meeting: Dharma and Greg first saw each other as eight-year-olds, on the same train they met on twenty years later.
- Fourth Date Marriage: They're self-aware about it at least- they rationalise that with their tattered past relationships, getting married might be the impetus they need to stay together.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Every episode. Watch carefully during the end credits.
- The Fun in Funeral
- Fully Absorbed Finale: Also doubles as a Distant Finale. Dharma and Greg turn up in Two and a Half Men (another Chuck Lorre production) as potential buyers of the recently-deceased Charlie Harper's house. Their marriage...isn't doing so well.
- Which creates a Celebrity Paradox on that show since in a previous episode Charlie happenend upon an episode of D&G on late night tv.
- Garfunkel: Thomas Gibson. The show's draw is Hilarity Ensues, which leaves little room for The Straight Man to get much focus. Though Greg was not without his quirks, most episodes centering on his problems were overshadowed either by Dharma's reaction, a demonstration of how his parents messed him up in this particular instance, and sometimes even the B-plot of an episode. Ouch.
- Granola Girl: Dharma and Abby
- Green-Eyed Monster: Kitty invokes this in Edward to restart their love life in "The Tooth is Out There" by bribing the valet to flirt with her.
- Hippie Van: Dharma's old-school hippie-parents have a VW van, which is usually either broken down or in the process of breaking down.
- Inter-Class Romance: Dharma and Greg have a lot of similarity to the story type, but it's actually an aversion in that, though Dharma's parents live the hippy lifestyle, they aren't doing that badly for themselves financially.
- Invisible President
- ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: Lampshaded in one episode, where it's mentioned that every time Greg does the groceries he buys a baguette even though no one eats it.
- Karma Houdini: Spider the self-defense teacher from "Instant Dharma".
- Law of Inverse Fertility: When Dharma is trying to have a baby, her mother has an accidental pregnancy when she thinks she's menopausal.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: One episode focuses on Dharma and Greg trying to win a contest by having sex on the steps of the courthouse during the last episode of Seinfeld.
- Dharma and Jane (respectively) have a running competition to see who can have sex in the weirdest place without getting caught. The reward is a ceramic duck.
Edward: "That's not a duck, it's a goose."
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Dharma to Greg.
- Meat Versus Veggies: Abby is a vegan, which is a source of problems in some cases. It doesn't help that her husband Larry is a fanatical meat lover.
- Mistaken for Gay: Greg's mom and his then fiancee are mistaken for a lesbian couple by Abby, during a flashback episode.
- Mondegreen: Greg's interpretation of virtually every popular song.
"I got a black magic woman and she's tryin' to take a pebble out of me! Yeah!"
"We are family! I got all my systems on three!"
"I wanna rock and roll all night! And part of every day!"
- Name and Name
- Naughty by Night: Greg
- New-Age Retro Hippie
- Not Right in the Bed: One episode has Dharma become possessed by a dead woman who never lost her virginity. Somehow Greg is not surprised that she begins smoking cigars in bed.
- Nude Nature Dance: In one episode, Dharma dances naked on TV to celebrate springtime.
- Obnoxious In-Laws
- Odd Couple: One of the basic themes of the show
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Kitty Montgomery. Even Edward only calls her Katherine when he's issuing her an ultimatum.
- And in "The Parent Trap" when he's extremely angry with her.
- Also Larry.
- Only Sane Man: Greg
- Parental Sexuality Squick: Averted by Dharma. Played straight by Greg.
- Put on a Bus: Jane disappears after a single appearance in the fifth season.
- Running Gag: Larry's short term memory, specially when calling or answering the phone. Also, when someone steps out in the Filkenstein's yard, they are warned to watch out because their goat's been sick.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl
- Screaming Birth
- Shout-Out: The name of Marlene's cat.
Dharma: "Greg, have you met Leonardo di Catrio?"
- Slobs Versus Snobs
- Straight Man: Greg
- The Snark Knight: Pete
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Many episodes featured a subplot involving either the Finkelsteins, the Montgomeries, or Jane and Pete.
- Uptight Loves Wild: And vice versa.
- Vanity Plate: Chuck Lorre started his here.
- Wham Episode: Dharma realizing that her early childhood was not quirky and fun - it was just unhealthy.
- The episode in which after reconciling their marriage, both Dharma and Greg get into a horrific car crash at the end.