Vanity Cards: Why Chuck Lorre's Thoughts at the End of His Shows Are Crucial
Do you pay attention to the credits and after-credits?
I know that Netflix wants you to just skip ahead to the next episode like some Pavlovian way of salivating for another fix. Yet, I have to impart that the Chuck Lorre Productions Vanity Card is a true gem to find at the end of every The Kaminsky Method episode. If you're familiar with Lorre's other television staples like The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Mom, Young Sheldon, Mike & Molly, and Dharma & Greg, then you are accustomed to those nuggets of wisdom which follow each episode. Now, they are available on his website (chucklorre.com). In an era where the consumption of television encourages you to binge watch (except for Mr. Sam Esmail) every episode back to back, just fast forwarding or rewinding and pausing to see the white background to the ITC American Typewriter Medium Alternate typeface will grant you the opportunity to see thoughts from the creator himself.
This feature where Netflix feels that you don't wish to see the closing credits is an affront. Why wouldn't we want to see the gaffers or the key grips or the camera operators? The reason that there are even features and episodes is because of the individuals who comprise the film and television sets. They make the shows and movies. Now, of course we like to see the big names in lights. That is a necessity. If they weren't part of the mix, then the whole show would have no draw or capacity to allow for the sight of the spectacle and understanding of rich plots and characters.
But it's like the Marvel Cinematic Universe which employs this reverse tactic to Netflix. They encourage those wise enough to know that there is extra footage after the credits scroll for over ten minutes. Two things are going on here: you get to see the legion of graphic artists, designers, operators, and technicians that make up the people behind the camera. And then... you get more images and sound that hint at what the next sequel is going to be like. All of this signals to the audience that you ought to pay attention to the people who made all of this possible. Producer isn't just a term reserved for the individuals who put on the big screen the necessary locations, hire talent, lend the quality of the showcase or negotiate the business deals. The word producer can also mean anyone who thinks and provides their own ideas and takes action based on their mind to process the materials provided by their senses.
When those credits roll, it is an invitation to understand what the ideas behind the stories that the audience just witnessed mean. Lorre is a champion of the postscript in this regard in that he can give only snippets of thought or full, long essays. With all of the tools that television affords, Lorre is a pioneer in offering his viewers the chance to peer into his brain beyond the show that they just consumed. The purpose of these bits of thinking is to make clearer the intentions of the filmmakers. The vanity cards are not done to be conceited. They remain a way for the top man or woman to express themselves in a way that the actors and director may not have. So, for Netflix to be so gung-ho about binging an entire season without the encouragement to view the credits is a poor spot on their part. Hopefully, it is an economic decision. I would understand if the company found that the way for viewers to best take in the hundreds of shows available on the service was to just skip the credits altogether. Since it is a subscription based model and free of commercials, (for now) I doubt that even this is the reason behind it.
But the best way to do it is manually. I found that stopping and freezing where the white screen appears is always something to do in a pinch. But if you can't pause it in the right moment, you can always circumvent the countdown clock to the next episode. And don't forget about that website.