TV

‘Community’-Gate 2013: Dan Harmon Apologizes, Starts Work On Season 5


Community-Gate 2K13 continues! The good news is, returning show-runner Dan Harmon has started work on Season 5 of Community. The bad news? He had to apologize profusely for insulting everyone.

But first, the background: as most of you Greendale human beings know, Community Season 4 was a bit of a train-wreck, to put it lightly. Show creator Dan Harmon was unceremoniously booted, and replaced by Moses Port and David Guarascio… Who proceeded to deliver a show that was a pale imitation of the original, more like fan fiction than a follow-up. That’s not even editorializing, really, nor do I blame them: Harmon is a singular, eccentric visionary who misses as often as he hits. But you can’t follow up Van Gogh with a three year old, it just doesn’t work.

Realizing the show was tanking, and with a new season of the horizon, star Joel McHale managed to convince NBC to bring Harmon back into the fold, a near unprecedented move in television. That of course meant Harmon had to watch the fourth season, something he had previously avoided doing for obvious reasons. So he watched the show. And then, true to form, Harmon went on his live podcast Harmontown, and spoke about the season. And the Internet erupted.

The two quotes in particular that people hooked into were:

“Watching those characters without me there was not f**king cool, man. It’s like flipping through Instagrams just watching your girlfriend just blow a million people.”

And:

“There’s something awesome about having any and all of those preconceived notions kind of ripped away from you. It’s exciting. There’s something awesome about being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach. It’s liberating. It makes you focus on what’s important.”

What they missed, of course, was that Harmon was extremely gracious to Port and Guarascio, understanding they had an unenviable task. But those two quotes were enough to force Harmon to apologize for his statements in a blog post that went up late last night:

I am first and foremost sorry to Community fans that got paid nothing to stick by Community and get us to a fifth season only to hear the incoming showrunner say some stuff that felt very un-Community. Even if my goal had been to hurt someone, it would never have been you. What I said was disrespectful to your love for this show, love that I sometimes erroneously equate with validation of me as a person. I am unwittingly and unfortunately infamous for the amount I care about your opinion. I often say that I write in an attempt to “make people like me.” I’m realizing what makes me unlikable is that I haven’t made the leap from “caring what people think about me” to “caring about people.” And let’s face it, if I’m doing this at 40 how cool am I going to get before I die. But I do know, every minute of every day, that I owe you folks what I consider to be my life and guarantee you that every time I’ve pissed you off it’s been on accident. And to keep from hurting you, I’m going to try thinking about you before saying things into microphones. I’m usually okay at it when I’m talking to actual press, because there’s a big visual reminder in the form of a cube on a mic or monkey in a diaper on the table. But when you’re listening to Harmontown, or, worse yet, reading transcripts from Harmontown, you’re catching me in unforgivably human moments. Obviously the solution is to stop talking about my job in my podcast until production is safely complete. That will protect the show you love, and your love of it, from the creator with the Mouth from PR Hell. I will do this. But more importantly, I am sorry.

Next I want to apologize to the people that did get paid to work on that season, but not enough: the cast and crew. I get personal value out of being as honest as possible, but, honestly, how honest was what I said? It was dishonest to imply that something you worked on was as hard to watch as my family being assaulted. I was riffing and tried to turn darkness into levity through shock and hyperbole. I was very much not thinking about anyone but myself while watching that season, which was the crime. I hope over time you’ll forgive me. I wasn’t thinking about your contribution or describing it. I was just indulging my petty feelings about being left out. It seemed kind of funny at the time because it seemed at the time like I was the only person with feelings. Because my head was up my ass. Again, it’s been up there 40 years so it would be dishonest to promise it’s coming out, but what I can promise is that I’ll stop talking about the show without thinking of you. You second, fans first. I think that’s how you’d want it.

Thirdly, because they got paid more, but still not enough, the season 4 writers. I’m sorry I pooped on your work. You had to do something nobody should have to attempt, and you had the option of doing it the lazy way or the sellout way and you clearly did what you did because you were thinking of the fans. There was some amazing stuff in there. Funny jokes. I liked the “Hogan’s Villains” line. The idea that in Germany, people watch Hogan’s Heroes, but they call it Hogan’s Villains, is seriously so funny I had to rewind it a couple times to finish laughing. I will apologize to the Germans later. Season 4 writers: Thank you and I’m sorry. As I went on to say in my podcast, the creatives are not the bad guys…I shouldn’t be letting an inhuman system that doesn’t care about humans enough turn humans against humans. Especially us. Don’t tell anyone I said this but all writers are better people than all non-writers. Nobody read that unless you’re a writer. I broke a code when I judged the work of writers with whom I wasn’t in the same trenches. I’ll suffer for it because I’ll be looking for a job soon enough and nobody will want to work with Judgy McPsycho Van Crieswhenhetypes. So I hope my ten seconds of, as the kids say, “butthurt” comedy was worth it to me, and I’ll see you in Hell, where, don’t tell anybody I said this but is where I believe all writers go because we make God jealous.

There’s plenty more at the link, including Harmon’s take on the recent “rape joke” controversy that’s ripped through the comedy community, ripped being a very poor choice of words on my part, so I should edit that, but I won’t because nobody is reading this far down. Right? Right.

Anyway! Guys! Almost to six seasons! Good news!!!