Jenna Elfman still believes in <EM>Dharma</EM>. Jenna Elfman still believes in Dharma.
Hi-larious. That's the word coming out of Jenna Elfman's mouth, midconversation, as she picks up the phone for this TVGuide.com Q&A. What is the gifted comedienne in the midst of describing? That was the first topic at hand as we used the occasion of the DVD release of

Dharma & Greg: Season One to chat up Elfman fresh from Courting Alex's abbreviated run about her sitcom hits, misses and lessons learned, the Dharma-Lost connection, and the early scoop on her next CBS series.

TVGuide.com: So, what is "hi-larious?"
Jenna Elfman:
Oh, I'm just contemplating my next "journey televisionatically." [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: It was just in the trades that you and CBS are developing a new sitcom. What's the plan this time around?
Elfman:
I don't know yet, but I know that if it cracks me up, then I'm happy. That's what I'm going for. You can't please everyone with humor, but if it feels hilarious and I'm having fun doing it, then I'm happy.

TVGuide.com: Are there any broad strokes yet? Like, do you want to play a mom or...?
Elfman:
You know, I don't have broad strokes. I just want it to be hilarious.

TVGuide.com: You're obviously too smart an entertainer to be gun-shy after the whole Courting Alex thing.
Elfman:
No, I just love doing comedy, and I love doing television, and I also learn from every single thing I do.

TVGuide.com: What did you learn from Courting Alex?
Elfman:
It wasn't that big of a deal. It's really like, "Oh, wow. That was that." I reviewed and I saw what was good, what could be better, and said, "OK, this is what I'm going to [dp] now."

TVGuide.com: I liked the concept for Courting Alex. Plus, you can never go wrong with Dabney Coleman.
Elfman:
I'd love to have him on my next show if it works out, because Dabney's just too good. He's a gem. We had so much fun together. I don't want to leave your question an incomplete answer, but I learned a lot from [Courting Alex]. I don't know how to articulate it, but I learned.

TVGuide.com: Well, the TV playing field is very different from the Dharma & Greg days. The scheduling decisions are hastier, you have to open big and stay big....
Elfman:
You're correct, yeah. We were actually doing pretty well on Monday night, then [got moved to Wednesday]. There are several factors. I had a great experience doing it, and I have literally learned so much that I'm taking with me to my next experience. I've had pretty good success in television, so I'm not worried about it. I was on Townies [in 1996], which was short-lived, and then I got Dharma & Greg [1997-2002]. Then I was not on television for a while; I did Two and a Half Men and their ratings spiked when I was on; and then I did Courting Alex, which was short-lived. So maybe the next one will be more like Dharma & Greg and have a longer run!

TVGuide.com: Speaking of Dharma & Greg, why did it take so long to arrive on DVD?
Elfman:
I have no idea. [Laughs] It was sort of a mystery. I actually had mentioned it in, like, 2003. "Hey, we should really put out a DVD, shouldn't we?" That started the ball rolling for a few months and... we didn't do it.

TVGuide.com: You know what it was, Jenna? They were obviously waiting for the HD-DVD technology, so we could see you and Thomas Gibson in all your glory.
Elfman:
Oh, that must be it.

TVGuide.com: When did you first realize that Dharma had legs  albeit not nearly as impressive as your own?
Elfman:
Oh, thank you! I think it was the first second I heard the pitch. Chuck [Lorre] and Dottie [Dartland] pitched me the idea at lunch, and I shook on it right then and there. I didn't even go home and think about it or ask anyone else's advice or opinion. I just went, "Yep, that's it," we shook on [it] and we did it. It always felt right. I just knew.

TVGuide.com: It was a fresh overdue update on the whole Odd Couple thing....
Elfman:
Yes, it was.

TVGuide.com: With the added romantic element that Felix and Oscar didn't officially have.
Elfman:
[Laughs] Yes!

TVGuide.com: Who from the cast do you keep in touch with?
Elfman:
All of them, actually. Mimi [Kennedy, who played Dharma's mother]... I ran into Thomas at the CBS upfronts last year because he has Criminal Minds....

TVGuide.com: Why is he MIA from the DVD commentary?
Elfman:
You know, I don't know. I have no idea.

TVGuide.com: By chance have you ever watched Lost, perhaps just the episode where [Courting Alex costar] Josh Randall's neck got snapped?
Elfman:
I saw Josh in his episode, yes.

TVGuide.com: Are you aware that a central piece of the show's mystery is named Dharma?
Elfman:
No, no idea! I am a pop-culture retard.

TVGuide.com: No way, you? I find that surprising.
Elfman:
Mmm-hmm. Not every aspect of pop culture, but I don't watch television, really.

TVGuide.com: But I see you've dived into the MySpace thing.
Elfman:
I have, thanks to my husband.

TVGuide.com: Have you found it to be a good outlet for your thoughts, a place to spread awareness of things?
Elfman:
Yeah, it has been. I don't give it that much of my time, but I go on there occasionally.

TVGuide.com: You have a nice blog entry where you declare, "I like people who truly understand humor and its importance." And then you say, simply, "I like people."
Elfman:
I do like people, and I think that's what makes acting so much fun, because you're representing people. You make these characters people. Life and people are the most interesting things in the whole world.

TVGuide.com: Tell me about your appearance on the CBS special AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers (Wednesday at 8 pm/ET), counting down the 100 most inspiring films.
Elfman:
We just sort of talk about different films I found inspiring, like Silkwood and Places in the Heart. Meryl Streep is just fascinating with her amazing ability to play a character and still make the character a person. [In Silkwood] she played such a flawed character and at the same time had so much integrity. That was inspiring to me.

TVGuide.com: In closing, I wanted to share that my wife and I saw you in the Meatpacking District this past Valentine's Day. It was dinner time and you were chatting away on your cell phone.
Elfman:
That's right, I was in town for a photo shoot. I had arrived in New York City two days late because of the weather.

TVGuide.com: Don't tell me you were alone on Valentine's night?
Elfman:
No, I was with my friends, at Pastis. I love New York so much. I don't get there very often, but when I do, my favorite thing is walking around. My most favorite thing is the West Village at sundown  there's something about the way the light flows in through those particular types of buildings when the sun is setting.... I get a rush!

TVGuide.com: Plus, there's good shopping in that neighborhood!
Elfman:
Yeah, there is! You know, I am a girl!