Dharma & Greg

Dharma & Greg
Genre Sitcom
Created by
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
  • Brian Medavoy
  • Erwin More (all; entire run)
  • Dottie Dartland (1997–99)
  • Regina Stewart (1999–2000)
  • Bill Prady (1999–2002)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time est. 22 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 24, 1997 (1997-09-24) –
April 30, 2002 (2002-04-30)

Dharma & Greg is an American sitcom television series that originally aired on ABC from September 24, 1997, until April 30, 2002, for 119 episodes over five seasons.

The show starred Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as Dharma and Greg Montgomery, a couple who married on their first date despite being polar opposites. The series was 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 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.

Show summary

Free-spirited yoga instructor/dog walker Dharma Finkelstein and straight-laced lawyer Greg Montgomery marry on their first date despite being complete opposites. Their conflicting views lead to comical situations. Ivy League Greg was raised by wealthy, conservative parents. After graduation from Harvard and Stanford, he went to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office as a federal prosecutor in San Francisco. He then meets Dharma, who was raised by hippie parents. They fall in love immediately and elope. Despite being totally different, their parents eventually learn to tolerate each other.



  • 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 gave her the name "Crazy Man's Daughter". She addresses both of her parents by their first names. A darker side of her personality is revealed during episodes in which she plays pranks on people without appearing to show any concern for how her behavior might be affecting them. 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", but whom in return he calls "Finkelstein". 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, a Canadian who frequently changes her hair color, going from black to red to blonde over the course of the show. Jane often joins Dharma in playing pranks on people around them, including their neighbors and clerks at shopping malls. She considers all men more or less evil, yet she married Pete Cavanaugh in Season 2, attempting to divorce him after only six 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 guest appearances in three episodes of 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".


  • Lillian Hurst as Celia: 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.
  • Yeardley Smith as Marlene: 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.
  • Floyd Westerman as George: 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.
  • Kathryn Joosten as Claire: an elderly woman who works in Dharma's co-op, along with Susan and Marcie.
  • J.D. Walsh as Donald: a high school (later college) student who lives in Dharma and Greg's building. He is often given (occasionally unsolicited) advice from Dharma, and sometimes Greg.
  • Kevin Sorbo as Charlie: 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, causes Greg to briefly move in with Pete. The season 4 story-line was considered a risk and creator Lorre said that "while they won't destroy the marriage, they will threaten it", possibly alienating fans and destroying the show.[3]


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 23 September 24, 1997 (1997-09-24) May 20, 1998 (1998-05-20)
2 24 September 23, 1998 (1998-09-23) May 26, 1999 (1999-05-26)
3 24 September 21, 1999 (1999-09-21) May 16, 2000 (2000-05-16)
4 24 October 10, 2000 (2000-10-10) May 22, 2001 (2001-05-22)
5 24 September 25, 2001 (2001-09-25) April 30, 2002 (2002-04-30)

Awards and nominations

In 1998, the Online Film & Television Association Awards[4][5][6] nominated Elfman for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and the series itself as Best New Comedy Series.

Ratings and cancellation

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. Bob Patterson and What About Joan? were quickly cancelled while Dharma & Greg and Spin City shared the 8 p.m. hour 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 and Dawson's Creek, Dharma & Greg was one of the last three surviving shows to debut during the 1997–98 season (Dawson's Creek would remain for one more season in 2002-03).

Ratings for Dharma & Greg
Season Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st September 24, 1997 May 20, 1998 1997–1998 #25[7] 13.9[7]
2nd September 23, 1998 May 26, 1999 1998–1999 #25[8] 13.5[8]
3rd September 21, 1999 May 16, 2000 1999–2000 #14[9] 15.76[9]
4th October 10, 2000 May 22, 2001 2000–2001 #38[10] 12.3[10]
5th September 25, 2001 April 30, 2002 2001–2002 #82[11] 8.1[11]

Home media

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.[12] It is available in Japan as a Region 2 NTSC format with a picture of them sitting down for the cover art.[13] 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.[14]

Vanity cards

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).[15]

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


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),[16] but they appear to be based on Dharma and Greg. While the couple remain married, Greg seems overly tired of 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. Joel Murray also makes a cameo appearance in the episode, although not as Pete but as a character named "Doug".[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Dharma & Greg trivia". IMDb. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  2. ^ "Dharma & Greg awards". IMDb. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  3. ^ Boedeker, Hal (January 11, 2001). "WILL THERE BE 'BETTE-R' DAYS AHEAD?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "1997-98: The Season of Merlin". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "1998-99: The Season of The Practice". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  6. ^ "1999-2000: The Season of The West Wing". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly (434). May 29, 1998. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b "Top TV Shows For 1999–2000 Season". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly (598). June 1, 2001. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  11. ^ a b "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  12. ^ "Buy Dharma & Greg - Season 2 (3 Disc Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "ダーマ&グレッグ シーズン2 DVD-BOX DVD・ブルーレイ - ジェナ・エルフマン, トーマス・ギブソン, スーザン・サリバン, ミミ・ケネディ, ミッチェル・ライアン, アラン・レイキンズ". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Dharma & Greg DVD news: Announcement for Dharma & Greg - The Complete Season 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "CLP - Vanity Cards". Chucklorre.com. February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "What To Watch". Aoltv.com. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  17. ^ Carina MacKenzie (September 20, 2011). "Dharma & Greg reunite for 'Two and a Half Men' Season 9 premiere – Zap2It". Blog.zap2it.com. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2016.

External links