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The best writing on TV today...

... may not be in any of the shows. But anyone who records the Charlie Sheen comedy Two and a Half Men on CBS knows that the biggest laugh of the week is the one-page, black on white, title card for Chuck Lorre Productions that flashes for all of two seconds at the end of each episode. Viewed in real time it looks like legal boilerplat with "CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #XXX" at the top in Courier (all caps) followed by a lot of single-spaced text. Usually you can't even read more that "CHUCK LORRE" before the thing disappears, but a couple of weeks ago - just before I hit the "delete" button - my eye happened to a couple of lines into the body of the text and I saw what seemed to be an unflattering reference to the folks who hand out the Golden Globe Awards. Sure enough, it was a highly personal screed complaining about how the Hollywood Foreign Press Association kept snubbing the show and its stars. Curious to see if this was a one-off, I started checking out the cards at the ends of the shows that reran over the holidays. Sure enough, they're all different. Just off-the-wall little essays about whatever Lorre is thinking about each week, tacked onto the end of each episode probably as an in-joke for family, co-workers and friends, and as a little reward - like the prize in a box of Crackerjacks -for any fan who stumbles across them.

Here's tonight's edition:

People often ask me, “Chuck, where do the ideas for Two and a Half Men come from? Well, the answer is very simple. Tonight’s show, for instance, was inspired by many o f the great films that have been out recently. Two handsome young cowboys share a hidden love that society condemns. A love that torments them and presumably requires a lot of lubrication. A brilliant homosexual author is not tormented about being homosexual, but drinks a lot and is tormented while writing a book about tormented men who have killed people. A brilliant and tormented country singer is tormented until he stops drinking and finds the love of a good woman who is not tormented. A brilliant TV news man is tormented by his moral obligation to stand up against a tormented bully. A spy is tormented by the corruption and deceit that lies beneath the politics of oil (a lubricant). A cross-section of Los Angelenos are tormented by the endless cycle of racisms that lies beneath the surface of Los Angeles. An Israeli soldier is tormented by the endless cycle of violence that lies beneath the surface of the Middle East. And finally a big monkey is tormented because he loves a really small woman who, if their love were to proceed, no amount of lubricant would help. Now, if you go back and review tonight’s episode, you’ll see that both Charlie and Alan were tormented. See how it works? The lubrication stuff we’re saving for sweeps.

I posted this to the Home Theater Forum and somebody pointed me to this site, where all of Chuck Lorre's "vanity cards" going back to the first episode of Dharma and Greg are collected. I should have known something like this existed - somewhere on the internet someone has collected everything you could possibly think of and lots of stuff you couldn't. :)

I love the opening line of the first one, "Thank you for videotaping 'Dharma & Greg' and freeze-framing on my vanity card" :D


Well, I like Two and a Half Men better than I liked Dharma and Greg. Crap, perhaps, but funny crap. D&G was just annoying crap about people I don't care about. Kinda like Will & Grace when the sound is on and Megan Mulalley is not on the screen. (With the sound off I like just looking at Debra Messing.) I only needed to watch a few minutes of D&G to realize there was nothing there for me. (And I didn't at all understand the appeal of Jenna Elfman. However, the commercials for her new show have presuaded me that I may have been too hasty in deciding she lacked sex appeal. I'll have to TiVo - actually Adelphia DVR since the move to HD has caused me to abandon my beloved TiVo and join the Dark Side - Courting Alex and see if it is worth watching.)

Two and a Half Men features gorgeous women and Charlie Sheen making crude sexist comments about them while undermining his annoying brother and fencing with their slut mother. (The always-fun Holland Taylor.) What's not to like? :D


I should've prefaced my last post with a warning about how I'm a snob who snubs his nose at all sitcoms.

Also, them new fangled eye-Pods and MTV and that dang hippity-hop music that the kids like.