On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive profile on Community creator Dan Harmon.
The piece, entitled “The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Dan Harmon. TV’s most controversial showrunner and self-professed ‘rude asshole’ reveals the crazy story behind his return to NBC’s Community.”
Harmon, who was fired from his own show for his erratic and confrontational behaviour, blended with a strange mix of perfectionism and procrastination, recalls the moment he learned that he had been dumped – via text message no less. “I remember feeling an odd sensation of relief, which I understand criminals feel when they get caught,” he says. “Maybe my insecurity made me feel like I finally ‘got caught’ making a show sort of reviled by everyone paying for it, and my three-year crime spree was over.”
What followed thereafter was months of Harmon ranting on Tumblr; calling NBC Entertainment chairman, Bob Greenblatt, “Darth Vader,” saying that “NBC is not a credible source of All News Dan Harmon,” and when referring to his former bosses at Sony: “They’re not human.”
It seems absurd that those same people Dan was ranting about would be the ones to come asking for him to return. However, between the studio executives, Harmon’s very vocal and rabid fan base, and the help of Community’s own star, Joel McHale, this is exactly what happened.
Fast forward a year and Dan is back in control of the Community reins and, naturally, already falling behind schedule. “The feeling is familiar and delicious,” he explained.
"Have you ever had a lover that breaks up with you for a year and then doesn’t really tell you why, says that they’re not ready for a relationship to make you feel better about getting dumped, and then you see them on Instagram hanging out at the same restaurants? When that person comes back and says, ‘I miss you, I miss the way your hair smells,’ how do you react to that? There’s a slight feeling of vindication, but there’s also a lot of ‘Screw you.”
During his first tenure at Community Harmon reflects on how he handled the role of creator, showrunner, writer, producer, boss and collaborator. “I wanted to kill myself constantly. It’s not an exaggeration to say that every single day, I was the reason why everyone above me and everyone below me had a problem.”
It’s no secret that Harmon butted heads with cast member Chevy Chase. “[Chevy is] a befuddled old man, but he’s also the guy who calls you to his trailer and shakes the script in the air and says: ‘I’m not a befuddled old man! I’m sexy! I could be the star of this show! I’m not gay. You’re writing me as if I’m gay, [and] I’d say to him, ‘Do you understand that what you’re saying is funny and it makes an interesting character?’ He would kind of blink and stare at me and go, ‘Whatever, I just don’t think it’s funny.’“
Chase has since left the show, but is quoted as having said, “Dan and I are friends again. He’s brilliant and can be very funny. The reason I wanted to do the show in the first place was Dan’s writing. And I stand by that. But I have to go now, I’m very busy writing Community's Ice Capades Extravaganza.”
During his break, Harmon says he refrained from watching what he called the “new Community” and had no interaction with the cast, but little did he know that behind the scenes the shows actors – led by Joel McHale – were secretly plotting to bring him back. “The show is in Dan’s brain, and he’s by far the only person that can do it.”
According to insiders, executives at Sony recognised that the shows fourth season was faltering and that there was only one person capable of handling the fifth series – Dan Harmon. Ultimately, the determining factor for both the studio and the main reason that NBC agreed to his return, was to appease Joel McHale.
In relation to season 5, Dan says, “I want to astound people with a season five that makes an unbeatable argument for a sixth season; I want the headlines to say, ‘Holy crap, Dan Harmon pulled it off.’
To read the profile in its entirety, head over to The Hollywood Reporter.