The supporting cast of characters really help make this show a lot of fun.
Something about Jenna Elfman seems a bit off.
I had never seen one single episode of Dharma & Greg before I was given it to review. I remember when it was on as there seemed to be a big a deal being made about Jenna Elfman who played Dharma Finklestein on the show. Truthfully, as much as I like blondes, all of that stuff about her was just over my head. So I was pretty excited to get a chance to watch this sitcom as A) I am becoming a TV junkie and B) I am dabbling in writing sitcom screenplays myself.
This show premise is pretty simple. Dharma meets Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson), a spitfire wedding ensues which means that all manner of worlds are going to collide. Sure, this show focuses on Dharma being a free spirit and Greg being a button-down type, but the real crux of this show is in how it examines these two disparate families. In a nutshell, Dharma & Greg: Season One is somewhat of an expose on how relationships can be effected by our "loved"
When World's Collide
The most interesting aspect of these "How the show got made" featurettes is usually revealed in the opening moments. I say this because that is when the initially spark of the show is brought forth. Dharma was a reaction to a lot of shows at the time that I believe were portraying women as unhappy or neurotic. It seemed to be going out of it's way to say that relationships can work, people need other people and that is something the world should also see. Overall, while this segment is pretty typical I found that it was also somewhat profound.
Co-Creator Chuck Lorre used to post cards at the end of the show (back in the days of VCRs) that lasted for two seconds. Then people who taped the shows would pause them to read his musings on politics, the world, Hollywood and just about everything else. They have included them as a separate feature on this DVD set so that you no longer have to ruin your VCR trying to read what they say.
Knowing Your Inner Dharma
This is a ten question survey that gives you situations and then asks you how Dharma would react. Like a multiple choice test, you are given answers the questions and you use your remote control to pick the correct one. For someone new to the show, I didn't do that bad at this.
Commentary tracks are provided by Jenna Elfman, Mimi Kennedy (Abby O'Neil) and Alan Rachins (Larry Finklestein). They done are for the Pilot episode, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father and The Official Dharma & Greg 998 Winter Olympics. I chose to listen to the Olympics episode because the title caught me as interesting. As these are all actors here they dish on the comedy of the script, the types of prop bags employed in TV shows and obviously what's on screen. While I found this interesting, I was curiously wondering about Thomas Gibson's invisible man act on a lot of the bonus materials.
Full Frame - 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio. The biggest difference between this show and a lot of the other sitcoms that I have reviewed, is that Dharma & Greg: Season One seems to have an orange tint to it. Aside from that the shot compositions and everything else are pretty much what you would expect from TV. With 500 minutes of content it seems like something very easily could have been ill compressed along the way, but that doesn't seem to have happened here.
Dolby Digital. English and Spanish Stereo. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. Close Captioned. Again, I think the audio on these discs was pretty standard. There is so much dialogue that just shoots back and forth like ping pong balls. The jokes are all set it up in a way so that we know they are coming, yet they still feel fresh. The audio was so crisp, I don't think you could miss a joke if you wanted to.
Gibson and Elfman are the only people on this front cover and surprisingly, Gibson seems to take up more of it than Elfman. The back cover has a light orange, hippyish color with a description of the show, a Special Features listing and technical specs. This three disc collection is stored in two slim cases, with the same front cover image as the box that stores it. There are episode listings and descriptions on the back as well as airdates for people who really want to return to the early part of the 21st Century.
There is a cleverness that sitcoms have that I think to try and examine would only dilute their effectiveness. Dharma & Greg had a built in device simply because the two characters were so different. Yet, this show worked because it seemed like our main characters really wanted their relationship to work. Whether Dharma was getting Greg into yoga, or the FBI were investigating both families or they are competing in a dance contest at a country club, this is a show whose heart was always in the right place.
While ultimately I found the secondary characters to be more interesting than our main ones, many a great sitcom has had that be the case and Dharma & Greg is no exception.