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December 22, 2008

That Unreadable Jibberish in TV Show Credits

Filed under: Business,Uncategorized — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:36 am

For this holiday week, a change of pace to a lighter subject. Most people don’t read the credits at the end of television programs. Even fewer folks have probably noticed what appears to be a screen full of boilerplate language at the end of the CBS programs “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.”  The microtype fills the screen and only appears for two seconds.  No one can read it, even if they wanted to, unless you can freeze frame that moment on the screen.

While the casual observer may have assumed this was some type of elaborate copyright notice, in fact, the screens of tiny white letters on a black background are called “vanity cards” authored by the show’s executive producer, Chuck Lorre.  And they change every week.

Here is the very first one he wrote in 1997 when he produced the show Dharma and Greg:


Chuck Lorre

Mr. Lorre has now authored over 200 of these vanity cards, that range from Seinfeldian rants about nothing, to chiding the brass at CBS for some slight, and everything in between.

Even the Wall Street Journal noticed his two-second treatises and wrote a story about them.  For a slide show of a few vanity cards, click here. His entire collection of vanity cards is immortalized on Chuck Lorre’s own website.  Enjoy.

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  1. Slow news day? Nice job reporting on an 11 year old topic. Next week you should cover the GE commercials that end with a series of panels that can only be read if you view it frame by frame. Welcome to 2005!

    Comment by Clay — December 22, 2008 @ 10:14 am
  2. Clay

    [your comment was not appreciated]

    Peace out!

    Comment by Shawn — December 22, 2008 @ 12:16 pm
  3. I had always assumed these were full of legal jargon. Great post!

    Comment by Tony — December 22, 2008 @ 12:30 pm
  4. The Simpsons is full of freeze frame fun in main show as well end show credits.

    Comment by Joe B — December 22, 2008 @ 1:15 pm
  5. Clay

    [your comment was funny and made me laugh]

    Peace off!

    Comment by Chris — December 22, 2008 @ 3:34 pm
  6. What about The J. Geils Band song “Freeze Frame”. That’s a cool song . . .

    Comment by Shawn — December 22, 2008 @ 4:48 pm
  7. I don’t watch very many sitcoms, but actually found the vanity cards as amusing as the shows that I have caught random episodes of. But now that I’ve found your site, I’m glad to know there is someone else out there as observant as myself. It is pretty sad commentary when you find yourself needing to study the differences of the 1-ply versus the 2-ply, how many sheets on a “double roll”, and the height of the roll of toilet paper. While I prefer Charmin, I’m sufficiently satisfied with the Kirkland brand, 36 roll package at Costco. Life is way to short to spend it counting sheets of TP.

    Want to know my current beef? Laundry soap. The newer 2X or 3X strength in the smaller bottles. While they are much easier to lift and store on your shelf, they are not well marked as to the amount to use. So when my husband, bless his heart, does laundry, he uses a full lid full…and the lid sizes don’t change. So my bottle of detergent never last the number of loads it claims to provide. For those of us with “older” eyes, even finding the line to use on the lid is extremely difficult.

    Oh, and ice cream at my store has gone down to 1.5 quarts. Maybe it’s time to go back to Baskin Robbins…they aren’t so overpriced anymore!

    Comment by Helen — December 31, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

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