Vanity Cards Are Not in Vain

Chuck Lorre Vanity card 349.

Review of Chuck Lorre Vanity Cards, by Stefan Stenudd


I watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory, an enjoyable sitcom, when I noticed something odd passing by in a second on the credits. You see it above. A subliminal message, perhaps? I had to investigate.



       I learned on the Internet that this is no secret, but it was news to me. The very successful TV writer and producer Chuck Lorre puts in what he calls Vanity Cards at the end of every TV sitcom episode he produces. It started already in 1995.


Chuck Lorre Vanity card 353.


       In these messages he reflects on all kinds of aspects of life, show business, or whatever comes to his mind. It's charming – and it shows his commitment to his creative urge. Surely, the man has plenty to do as it is, and makes enough money to sit back by the pool and drink Madeira from the beginning of the previous century.

       But he got this idea, and he can't help himself. It has created a cult of sorts, and sometimes there's noise in the Hollywood corridors. Charlie Sheen called one of these Vanity Cards evidence in his conflict with Lorre about Two and a Half Men. In other instances, Lorre has been accused of blatantly supporting Obama (and that's sure to aggravate the bosses of any business). So, of course his Vanity Cards have been censored more than once.

       Here's one example of that, which I picked up from Chuck Lorre's own website. It's both cute and accurate, so of course it makes every social predator crazy:


CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #375 (CENSORED) Forgive me a moment of political reflection, but I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss something that's been on my mind for a very long time. I've always understood the Republican Party to have, as its central platform, the idea that human beings should never be dominated by a monolithic government which tells them how to live their lives. I like that. It feels like a fundamental truth, and I can't imagine any right-minded person finding fault with it. I've also noticed that there are many in the Grand Old Party who insist on telling people exactly how they should live. For example: Alcohol, yes. Pot, no. Straight marriage, yes. Gay marriage, no. Jesus, yes. Others prophets, no. The death penalty, yes. Abortion, no. Capitalism, yes (by force if need be). Collectivism, hell no! Added to this is an inclination to find anyone who chooses these other paths to be deeply repugnant. All of which causes me to wonder, is there a middle ground? In fact, are there big political gains awaiting those of a conservative bent if they can figure out a way to celebrate individual freedom while simultaneously tolerating diversity of opinion and lifestyle? With that in mind, I humbly propose the following slogan designed to both embrace this paradox and ignite the general electorate in the coming presidential campaign.


Chuck Lorre campaign button.


       He illustrated it with the image above. I find his reasoning flawless, and what's more important: humorous. I think I'd like the guy, if we ever meet. It's obvious to me that he writes from an inner necessity, what someone called a burning wound on the soul. Every writer should.

       And he's got a neat track record, too. Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, just to mention two. They're skilled and innovative examples of sitcom when it shines – for a while. It's an art where durability is neither possible nor desirable.

       I would have spent a night catching up on his Vanity Cards, if I didn't already on the fourth episode of the Big Bang Theory fifth season that I examined come across this one:


Chuck Lorre Vanity card 356.


       Enough said, except for a couple of missing lines on the poem:


But when some people anyway talk
decency takes a leap.

Stefan Stenudd
April 23, 2012




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