Over the weekend, Dan Harmon was let go as the show runner of Community and replaced by Happy Endings producers David Guarascio and Moses Port. He blogged about it. Sooooo. Uhhhh. What do you think? Something about a dark timeline? Something about a probably-for-the-best timeline?

Comments (83)
  1. Dan Harmon seems sort of like an asshole in all of the interviews with him that I’ve read. So while I’m not a fan of artists losing control of their work, I’m going to assume that there’s a reason that NBC isn’t bringing him back, and he’s probably not the innocent victim that he’s making himself out to be here.

    • Absolutely. I get that he presents himself as some kind of maverick auteur, but if you want to continue being employed in an industry like television, you cannot be such a huge asshole to the people you work with (i.e. the Chevy Chase voicemail/wrap party incident.) If he created something that he loves and he wanted to keep hold of it, he should have had the sense to know that he’d have to play the game just a tiny bit and maybe make some attempt to be seen as a professional by the people who get to make that decision.

    • Yeah. I think he’s responsible for just as many of the bad things about Community as the good. I mean, his “hands on producing style,” has lead to a pretty high writer turn-over for a three year sitcom, which can’t be helping some of the more infuriating inconsistencies in character and storyline.

    • Yeah, he seems like he’s probably really hard to work with or for, and brought this on himself to some non-insignificant degree. However, I can’t help but think that regardless, Community will be vastly different without him and anything after this season will end up being considered “non-canon” by fans of the current iteration of the show.

    • Networks don’t really seem to have any problems working with sort of like assholes until their ratings go down. So I’m going to assume that there’s a reason that NBC isn’t bringing him back, and it’s probably because they want to rework the show to make it more marketable so they can make more money.

      Or they have very high moral standards. One of those two.

  2. Ummmm, I’m fairly distressed by it.

    Now, I’m not saying I like or agree with everything Dan Harmon has said or done, or the way he presents himself, or the way he acts. He definitely seems like a smug asshole (albeit a self-loathing one) at times, and makes dumb decisions (playing that Chevy Chase voicemail.) However, I think it’s fairly safe to say that Community is Dan Harmon’s baby and that he’s created something really special. Something that I enjoy a lot and actually kind of means a lot to me. Without him, it won’t have quite the same voice, or the same things to say. This new version of Community might be good, and it might be funny, but it won’t be the same Community.

    • I get where you’re coming from, but at the same, time, it’s pretty clear that NBC couldn’t or wouldn’t work with him anymore. So if Community necessitated his attachment, there probably wouldn’t be any more Community. What’s worse, different Community or no Community at all?

      • The depends entirely on what “different Community” is like, dunnit.

        I’d be curious as to what the consensus was on Gilmore Girls after its highly idiosyncratic creator was cut out of the show. I didn’t really like the show much but I seem to remember you could tell the difference between “thing created by obsessive weirdo” and “thing produced by team of competent professionals.”

        I suspect Harmon could make the move from TV to film a la Apatow and eventually be very happy.

        • Gilmore Girls was very much past its prime when the Palladinos got ousted, but it’s kind of amazing how much worse the final season was even than the previous couple. They more or less dumbed down the show.

          In this situation, I’d say Community is still solidly in its prime so it’s kind of distressing to think about what kinds of changes they’ll make. I am optimistic that it may still be very good, but there’s also potential for them to kind of ruin it. Hearing that they’re hoping to give the show more broad appeal is ominous.

        • The thing that bothers me the most about Gilmore Girls is that Palladino said she always knew what the last four words of the series would be. This might have been a bullshit publicity stunt, but it makes me think she had a specific vision for the Gilmores’ future that didn’t include the nonsense of the final season.

          Also, people (on IMDB) complained about the finale of season 6, saying she purposely left the characters in a mess to screw up the following season for those that took her place. I don’t believe that and think that if the show would have stayed in her hands, the show’s drama would have been handled well.

          • Now I want to guess what the last four words were.

            -Let’s get some coffee.

            -Gee, you talk fast!

            -”I love you, Jess” – Rory

          • I do remember being really frustrated with the final season of GG. That Christopher plotline?! Give me a break! It was handled so poorly! And I was always kind of a fan of Lorelei/Christopher, but MAAAN, so stupid. The Rory/Logan breakup? The way they shoehorned Luke and Lorelei back together? BUUUT, I still cried like a baby the entirety of the finale. To the point where my mom (who was also crying) was like, “Uuuuhh, are you going to be okay?” But I would love to know those last four words. “I love you, Mom?”

          • “Your boyfriends suck, Rory.”

      • The answer to your last question: Same difference.

        And yeah, Harmon is a pain in the ass and I’m sure he’d admit as much, but he’s made a great show. Other creative people are a pain in the ass to work with too. I’ve seen Harmon give a talk before live and I wanted to kick his ass just in that one hour, but I really like his show. That’s all that really matters.

        And I’d hardly give any benefit of the doubt to NBC here, ever.

        • I think having somebody you can stand to work with matters to the rest of the cast and crew though. Also, this would have been Sony’s decision, not NBC’s. NBC actually have nothing to do with it.

      • I’d rather have no Community at all. Yes, we’d all love #sixseasonandamovie, but four seasons of Harmon’s Community is pretty damn good, considering we all expected it to be cancelled ages ago.

        • Yeah, I can’t really imagine being excited if they brought back Arrested Development, but with some goons from another network running it instead of Mitchell Hurwitz.

      • As far as what’s worse, different Community or no Community, I don’t really know. I guess it will all depend on how this final season shakes out. It really could be a fun, new version or it could be an unmitigated disaster. I love the cast and the characters so I’m willing to watch. At the same time, the S3 finale really felt like a series finale, so if it had ended there, I don’t think I would’ve complained too much if that meant that the show ended on a high creative note and didn’t get dragged through some kind of creative ditch on its way out. But I totally understand that Harmon was probably hard to work with and manage. He seems temperamental and unruly (late scripts, last minute changes, blogging about things best left quiet, etc..) so I can totally understand that his whole “I have no idea what happened!” might be a little disingenuous. But, on the other other hand, NBC is not known for it’s wise creative decisions.

        • With all that said, I reiterate my above point: it won’t be the same show. So I’m going to grieve the show I know. And then move on, because I’m an adult and it’s a television show, and this is how life works.

    • I should also point out here that I was pretty torn up over Al Lowe losing the rights to the Leisure Suit Larry series, and I would rather have seen it end instead of going on to be terrible without his input. On the other hand, I actually discussed this with him once (laaaaaadies), and he was kind of bummed about it, but still handled the whole situation in a much more poised fashion than Dan Harmon seems capable of displaying.

    • Moving to Fridays, shortened season announced… Dan was kicked off a boat that was sinking anyway.

      (Granted, a boat full of funny people, but still…)

  3. On his blog post he said, “I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you can’t make my version of it,” so I’m definitely leaning towards probably-for-the-best timeline. I can only speak for me, but if the choice is between “Dan Harmon’s version” and “a good version,” I’m going to choose “a good version” every single time.

  4. This may be missing the point, but did anyone else read something nefarious in the periods in “was what you might call a….hands on producer.“? It seems sinister. I’m not saying that Dan Harmon killed and ate his employees, but really, is there any proof to the contrary? Any at all?

    I rest my case.

    • After all, isn’t there a little Alison Brie in all of us? In fact, you might even say we just ate Alison Brie and she’s in our stomachs right now! Haha! Wait, scratch that one.

  5. Wait, Community wasn’t cancelled?

  6. Did Happy Endings get cancelled?

  7. I love how the positive spin mentions Happy Endings’ show runners and the negative one mentions American IT Crowd’s show runners.

    • In the defense of the American IT Crowd, the producers had the good sense to cast both Jessica St. Clair and Joel McCale WHILE keeping Richard Ayoade as Moss. So they have good instincts at least.

      • I don’t think they are bad show runners… It’s just funny to me which example is used. I have never seen the American version bc it looked like a nerd minstrel show (see: Theory, Big Bang), but I loved everyone in the cast and the original is 100 percent perfect so I figured I would ignore it and wait for everyone to go elsewhere.

  8. As long as there are still like-minded individuals online who like to generate animated gifs based on Alison Brie’s jiggliest moment from the latest episode… um… bu… ok sorry, I lost my train of thought there.

  9. Community without Harmon isn’t Community. Please join me in boycotting watching it for free on the internet with the ads blocked!

    • Wait, are we boycotting watching it for free on the internet with the ads blocked? Is it cool if I pay to see it and pay close attention to every ad?

    • So no one likes that joke? Or no one realizes it’s a joke?
      Or all of you actually watch Community live on television?
      Guys – the joke is that many of us watch this show on the internet and aren’t counted by Nielsen Ratings, so let our voices be heard, when we stop watching it, and we’re still not counted!

  10. This is the most :( timeline.

    Really, when I heard the news I got really upset. Then I figured out that I was getting upset about a dude that I don’t know being fired from a show that NBC actively hates, and I had to do a lot of evaluation about choices in my life.

  11. Culturally he’s just more Adult Swim than Network Television. I think he’ll be better off for it, even if I will miss seeing his vision for the show’s ending. Abed has always been his surrogate on the show — that character will probably suffer Harmon’s absence most.

  12. Does it bother anybody else that he starts the post by addressing everyone as Kids?

  13. Look, what I think is important to talk about here isn’t “Is Dan Harmon an asshole/egomaniac/creative genius” (because yes, he is all of those things), but the shady way in which Sony and NBC managed to cut the balls off of the show without having to cancel it outright (thus enraging millions of fans and probably breaking the Internet). Harmon definitely didn’t help anything with the Chevy Chase debacle, but I honestly believe that was merely a good scapegoat so that people like us will blame Harmon for being difficult to work with, when the truth is they have been gunning to kill off Community for years. After we all reacted so strongly to the December hiatus, they knew they shouldn’t just cancel it outright, so instead they removed the person who has had to continuously fight for all of the best aspects of the show.

    Add to that the fact that Harmon has championed a gender-balanced writing staff in addition to creating a show with one of the most diverse (in terms of race, sexuality, gender, religion, age, and class) cast of characters on network television – his removal as showrunner holds greater implications for the future of television (especially looking at all the whitewhitewhite and mostly-malemalemale upfront previews). We need more people like Dan Harmon willing to fight for such amazing, progressive, inventive, inclusive, and heartfelt shows.

    • I concur, cool.coolcoolcool.

      Let’s not forget that Chevy Chase is ALSO A HUGE ASSHOLE WHO IS HARD TO WORK WITH. “It’s probably for the best because Harmon and Chevy, right?” Yeah, it’s not just that they’re both difficult people and yeah, Harmon should’ve handled that voicemail way better (and really that incident is the Harmon/Chevy talking point), but I personally granted all behind-the-camera behavior a HUGE pass this season because of how much the show was being fucked with. That hiatus was a huge sticking point for me. It was the Sarah Silverman Program all over again.

  14. The cast and writers seem to be pretty bummed that he’s gone, so he couldn’t have been the biggest asshole who’s ever assholed. I’m sure the NBC and Sony executives weren’t enamored with him b/c they are the ones he had to fight to have his creative vision realized every week. But all that stuff is irrelevant to me as a fan of the show. With Dan Harmon gone, Community has lost its weird, unique voice which was its greatest asset. There is plenty of talent still connected to the show, but it’s the weird I want. Darkest timeline.

  15. I know real life doesn’t work like this, but given that it’s in all likelihood got one season left, and it’s a shortened season at that, I wish they gave him the chance to let it go out his way, with a viking funeral

  16. For all the great entertainment that Dan Harmon has brought me, I feel like when one becomes too familiar with the name of the creator of a television show that one enjoys, things have gone off the rails a bit.

    • It all depends on the show. From day one, this was Dan Harmon’s baby and, while a lot of fantastic shows have had behind-the-scenes shakeups on a regular basis, this was a show that the fans knew inside and out. Firing Harmon as showrunner for Community is akin to firing Louis CK as the show runner for Louie. I don’t think that’s too bold a statement to make considering the type of show we’re talking about here.

      I’m sure the show will be watchable at the very least, but all those brick jokes that have been a long time coming (like Jeff’s table-for-one at Morty’s steakhouse on May 23, 2013 that he mentioned in season one) are almost certainly going to be dropped.

      • I don’t think that’s a great comparison (Harmon doesn’t appear onscreen, it’s not a fictionalized account of his life, the title isn’t his name…)- but I do agree that the Community that we knew is pretty much gone.

        All I meant was “Get behind the curtain, wizard. I don’t need to know who you are to enjoy this show, and if I do, it probably means you’re doing something wrong!”

  17. I’m just looking forward to the “season five of ‘The West Wing’” themed episode.

  18. [Flippant comment disrespecting Community and Dan Harmon]

  19. Probably for the best?! PROBABLY FOR THE BEST?!?!? What is WRONG with you people!??

  20. Being that (as much as you love it and are totally free to do so and still be an intelligent and critical person) this is a television show on a major network, which at this point in time is just a thing that exists because people won’t watch 50 ads in a row. Anyone who loves Dan Harmon should be happy that he is going to have to try something else. There are no auteurs in prime time, they are creative the way Don Draper is. Maybe he is a genius, hopefully he’ll now go somewhere that he can really show it (clearly NBC is the wrong place for him). And if you think “different” Community is worse than no Community at all, ask the person who is forcing you to watch a show that you don’t like to either untie you or change the channel.

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