Dan Harmon & Community: what really happened

News 21 May 2012 - 09:54

Community showrunner Dan Harmon’s removal from the cult comedy has peeved and perplexed fans...

You can celebrate too early. Just over a week ago we were doing our happy dance over the renewal of NBC’s Community for a shorter fourth season, and now it’s difficult to know quite what to think. On Friday, Community creator Dan Harmon took to Tumblr with the following words: “I got fired.”

Harmon continued, “Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community […] They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business.”

He went on to explain, in as fair and generous terms as can be expected by someone who’s just been royally shafted, that NBC’s Bob Greenblatt’s vague reassurance that he expected Harmon’s “…voice to be part of the show somehow” was just hot air as “…he’s [Greenblatt] never called me once in the entire duration of his employment at NBC” and “…he didn’t call me to say I was no longer working there and he definitely didn’t call to ask if I was going to be involved.”

Happy Endings and Aliens in America producers David Guarascio and Moses Port have been installed as Harmon’s replacement on Community, an announcement greeted with no small amount of sarcasm by TV comedy veteran Graham Linehan in the following tweet:

“Great news! The guys who didn’t bother to call me when they did the US IT crowd are taking over Community!”

As we know, Community came close to leaving our screens for good during its extended hiatus this year, but Harmon’s treatment and removal makes celebrating its return a bitter pill. What’s preferable? No Community at all, or half a season with the Dan Harmon ripped out? Anyone still interested in those six-seasons-and-a-movie?

Tumblr/THR

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Just saw the final three episodes of 'Community' Season 3. Glad it ended in such a satisfying way. NBC's attitude towards this show just further proves that TV companies don't understand their audience. The reason it stayed on the air for so long, wasn't down to the viewing figures, it was down to the tenacity and loyalty of it's fans. We made Dan Harmon our leader, just as we did with Joss Whedon on firefly, and as we continue to do with the Steven Moffat on Doctor Who. NBC can shove #Sixseasonsandamovie hashtag up their backsides. I don't want that any more. I've got a new one. #Sixseasonandamoviebytheguywhocreatedit .... It's not quite as catchy, but I'll stick with it... Because I'm a fanboy, and that's what we do!

You shouldn't say that's what really happened, because that's nothing like the full story. By all accounts, Harmon has been unprofessional all year (the very public Chevy Chase arguments, along with reports of late scripts and poor management putting everyone's nose out of joint), and it seems like NBC would only feel comfortable with more Community without him in charge.

Admittedly, it was kind of a dick way to go about it (not telling him in person, etc). And it's doubtless Harmon's voice will be missed on the show. But NBC have given him 3 years to do the show in a way that's good for the fans and for the network, and he couldn't (or more likely wouldn't) find that compromise. It'll be a shame to lose his input, his voice, but with Harmon in charge they obviously have no faith in the show lasting beyond the next 13 episodes. With someone else it might stand a chance. It's the right call.

Even if it's not a good one.

After a brilliant season one, the so-so season 2 and the rollercoaster great/awful episodes of season 3, Dan Harmon's departure is just what's needed.

 SERIOUSLY?. Season 1 was just finding it's way, the characters weren't fully formed yet (Jock Troy, for instance) and was far more trad-sitcom in tone. Season 2 was where Community became truly brilliant. This is a terrible decision, as per usual, by the humourless twats in suits.

This next half season could be brilliant, but the show is so intrinsically linked to Harmon, there's no way it can be anything like it used to be. Community is dead. Long live Community.

"Anyone still interested in those six-seasons-and-a-movie?"

Not even a little. #threeseasonsandaboycott

Who cares if it could be a correct business decision? As a fan, all I care about is that the guy who created and ran the show, who gave it it's unique perspective and voice that made us fall in love with it, has been kicked off his creation.

Six seasons and a Movie ALWAYS. But Dan Harmon is Community, so without him, there is no Community

I can't believe this. I just can't see it surviving the switch. Community has such a distinctive style and flavour that this change may just end all that #mourn

#3seasonsAndABoycott?

I'm new to the community love-in having discovered it via tumblr of all places.

After bingeing on season one with VoD and now watching season two on Sony it is definitely up there as one of the better sitcoms I've seen and I suspect I haven't even seen it at it's best yet.

I can only suspect that the reason Harmon isn't coming back has something to do with his fractious relationship with Chevy Chase that has been an issue in recent months.  If the studio wanted Chase back but he wouldn't do it with Harmon I guess they saw the showrunner as less of a draw than the more recognisable star.

Of course, networks always get this kind of thing the wrong way around and whilst I hope there will still be enough integrity left in the team that remains to continue the show's geek-tasticness I suspect that it will be a harder sell to those whose loyalty has been so vocal in the first place.

Can't wait for series 2, and 4 to hit DVD....

And Series 3 for that matter! ;o)

Yup. Without Harmon, COMMUNITY is dead, dead, dead. Sony just wants the magic number of episodes to allow for syndication, so they figure 13 likely-lame episodes without Harmon will do the trick. What they'll have in the fall is an even smaller audience than the one they currently garner. At this point, though, they don't really care. I'll honestly be shocked if all thirteen episodes even make it to air.

I would give up the character (pierce) for Harmon any day. Chevy doesn't really play that pig of a roll....so we can ditch him. Sadly community is now dead though, Harmon is community.

I agree season one was the best, 2 was a let down 3 was great i can't see it getting any better though.

Community is the best show ever, and should never end.

To bad they never brought  Graham Linehan's IT Crowd to the US. GREAT show. Do a U Tube search for "Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again"

NOOOOO they ust keep it going six seasons and a movie that what im waiting for how can you take Dan harmon out it will never be the same flip im so dissapointed now what a let down

I think you've got it backwards there dude

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