Monday, May 21, 2012

Dan Harmon's firing: My take

A lot of you have asked my take on the NBC firing of Dan Harmon from COMMUNITY – a show that he not only was running but created as well. First I should mention that I don’t know Dan Harmon, nor have I personally had any involvement with the show. So it’s like when there’s a big news emergency and networks bring on so-called “experts” like earthquake psychics or terrorist cell consultants and they sound incredibly knowledgeable but then you realize they don’t know shit. That’s me in this situation. Ken Levine – former showrunner expert.

That said, here are some random thoughts:

Networks have been firing showrunners for years. You just never heard about it. Before social networks and the internet, showrunners were essentially invisible. Just names in the credits. Now showrunners have become quasi-celebrities themselves, which I think is a good thing. Only 70% of the viewers think Joel McHale makes up those funny things he says instead of 90%. But the point is, this isn’t precedent setting.

It’s always easier to fire writers than actors. People do notice when their favorite star has been replaced by Ashton Kutcher. (Which tells you how off-the-charts psycho Charlie Sheen had to be to get canned from TWO AND A HALF MEN.)

Shows tend to survive without the original creative force. Even WEST WING when Aaron Sorkin was sacked. Even MASH when Larry Gelbart quit. MASH is a perfect example. If they could replace the genius of Larry Gelbart with a couple of knuckleheads like me and my partner and the show still survived, then you know it’s pretty bulletproof.

Networks now control every aspect of the production. There are no more independent studios to stand behind showrunners who are under attack.   And if there is an indie studio, they're partnered with the network.   It's the Tony Soprano business model.

For a network to fire a showrunner, his behavior had to be pretty unruly. The network weighs the value of his contribution with the nightmare of dealing with him and must decide if he’s worth it. Dan Harmon apparently wasn’t worth it.

And let’s be real. NBC has no faith in COMMUNITY. They scheduled it in a death slot of Friday night. They’re only looking to appease viewers and show that they’re cool, and make more episodes to fill out a possible syndication deal (i.e. more money for them). So if the creative quality of the show suffers for these last thirteen episodes, no one in Burbank gives a rat’s ass.

Harmon complains that he wasn’t properly told of NBC’s decision. Fact: There is no civility in Hollywood anymore. Courtesy? Respect? That’s over. From another era. People are fired by texts. People are fired on vacation. People are fired at Christmas. Submitted material receives no responses. That’s just how it is now. Gone is even the pretense of humanity. But writers can take heart, executives do the same thing to each other now.

From what I’ve heard second-hand, Dan Harmon was very erratic. There are horror stories of 24-hour writing sessions. A number of writers have supposedly run screaming from the show. So if these stories are true (and I have no proof that they are), it’s not just NBC that has problems dealing with him.

The Chevy Chase incident. Forget who said what to whom and who was an asshole and who was a bigger asshole – the fracas never should have gone public. And it was Harmon who spilled the beans by airing his dirty laundry during a stand-up routine. Networks frown on this.

Although I personally thought some of the format-bending episodes of COMMUNITY didn’t work, I always admired Dan Harmon’s fearlessness in doing them. I love his desire to challenge conventions and push the envelope. Again, networks only love this when the show becomes SEINFELD.  Then all the execs who hated it, take credit for it.  If it doesn't become a break-out hit then they do hate it. They’ll never say they hate it but they do. They’d much prefer something safe and predictable. Something they know how to give notes on.

I look forward to what the new showrunners might do. It could be they improve the show. Who knows?

And finally, I worry that Dan going public with this will ultimately hurt him. Other networks might put him in the “too much trouble” bin. He’s a talented guy but he’s yet to create FRIENDS. And I wonder, is this worth it? Besides getting all this stuff off his chest, what is the upside of going worldwide with this feud? Yes, your fanboys rally around you and you’re a media martyr, but they’re not the people who can say “yes” to your next project. They can’t make the decisions that will shape your career.

Ultimately, I wish Dan Harmon well. I hope I’m wrong. I hope two networks are lining up to get his next project. And I’m very sorry he got fired, if for no other reason than it must make Chevy Chase really happy. That really pisses me off.


119 comments:

  1. It's my impression that Sony, which produces the show, are the ones that fired Harmon. NBC just didn't object to it. Sony are the ones who stand to benefit most if Community goes into syndication.

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  2. Wait. Doesn't the studio, in this case Sony, reap the benefit from any syndication deals? Not the network.

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  3. Mitchell Hundred5/21/2012 6:23 AM

    From what I've heard (I've only seen Season 1, so can't say if it's true or not), the reason why people are so mad about Harmon being fired is because most of the show's edginess stemmed from his creative input. And since that was what the hardcore fans really loved about it, they don't believe that it'll be as good without him.

    And maybe he was tough to work with. Many artists are. As long as they produce good art, I don't really care about it one way or the other.

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  4. I'm sure the guy is a crazy asshole, but it sounds like the show was what it was because of his demanding and erratic behavior. I'm a huge fan, and it just seems strange to combine the "no one new will ever watch this show so thus is just for the superfans" schedule change with putting 2 generic showrunners in charge of a show that has been written with one crazy-bananas voice. As far as taking it public, Dan has been remarkably restrained- for him. He is, as mentioned above, a crazy-bananas asshole. But he's also pretty brilliant, and the show will not be the show I loved without him. My show is dead. All hail zombie Community.

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  5. Looks like Harmon is going to learn things the hard way.

    This post makes me wonder: Will anyone will ever tell their Chevy Chase horror stories? The man has great comedic ability, but apparently everyone who's ever met him, walked past him the street, or met someone once walked past him the street, despises the man. I'd love to know how he's managed to gain such a dreadful reputation.

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  6. I just don't know why you renew the show, then fire the guy who makes it good. What is the point in that?

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  7. "NBC has no faith in COMMUNITY. They scheduled it in a death slot of Friday night."

    Fox did the same with Fringe, but it got two renewals since then. (Although Fringe's showrunners don't appear to be assholes...)

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  8. Harmon said he insisted on the "what I want, exactly the way I want it" model, so I assume he personally selected and hired known asshole Chevy Chase, right?

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    1. dan harmon had to be talked into getting chevy. he wasnt into the idea, but they needed a name. (besides joel mchale)

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    2. thanks for this info. I wasn't a fan till season 2.5

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    3. To expand on what Anon said, In the commentaries on the season 1 dvds, he says something along the lines of Chevy's presence having to do with the producers wanting to give the show some immediate appeal to get an audience.

      Chevy being cast comes down to nothing more than a publicity stunt.
      Harmon did however pick everyone else.

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  9. For what it is worth, Larry Gelbart created the television version of MASH with Gene Reynolds and was certainly the guiding force behind everything about it--none of this is to say anything against him. But he did not create MASH itself, nor did he do it alone. And the series did change after he left--in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse. That might have happened anyway.

    But a word about Aaron Sorkin and The West Wing. He, too, was erratic, and the network was tired of it; the cast apparently was, too. But if I watch post-Gelbart MASH episodes, I see some inspired lunacy and some brilliant writing, and consistently good shows until around the 9th or 10th season, when the wheels came off a few times (the two-parter about Klinger and the stolen camera may have been the worst MASH episode ever). When I watch the post-Sorkin West Wing, I don't see the show that was the pre-Sorkin West Wing. Is it because he was the creator of it? Or that the show had a shelf life? I don't know. But I do think that is worth considering.

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  10. Well-written and lots of good observations. Having been on the exec-side of the equation, I certainly do agree that the "too much trouble" bin exists in Hollywood. People are willing to put up someone if they feel they can make them money; truth is, Community has never done well and Harmon doesn't have a history of being involved in projects that bring in tons of cash.

    Still, though, the cult of personality -- something that Harmon seems to be fostering -- can be helpful. If you take Joss Whedon's projects purely by the numbers, they aren't that impressive. Buffy/Angel did decently but never phenomenal in ratings. Dollhouse did awful. Serenity did awful. Yet, clearly Joss has a huge base of fans who are avid and vocal. Marvel wouldn't have hired him based simply on numbers; they hired him based on extraordinary creative performance *and* fans who push the Joss-agenda. Dan Harmon may not quite be there yet but catering to his fan base isn't the worst idea -- at least he has one.

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  11. Interesting stuff, Unknown, but I'm not sure that Marvel factored in the Whedon fan base too heavily. It didn't help his last movie, Serenity (and Universal appears to have been banking that it would), and Marvel's other choices for directors don't have strong fan bases.

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  12. @Harley: Networks do get a cut from a syndication deal, typically, but since their main reward is supposed to be selling commercials for first-run airings, yes, the production company still gets a much bigger percentage.

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  13. To Unknown (is that my Uncle Nown? How are you? Do send my regards to Aunt Nonymus):

    I appreciate your input, it is god to hear from the executive side of things. To echo previous sentiment, not being a jerk must help somewhat. When Joss Whedon called Nathan Fillion to see if he wanted a part in "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog", I've read that Fillion saw the caller ID, saw it was Whedon, picked up the phone and said, "Yes!", as in, "whatever you're asking me to do, I'll do before I even know what it is!" I don't think that if he was a nightmare to work with he would get that reaction.

    Also, to be fair, "Firefly" ("Serenity" was the movie) was poorly promoted, shown out of sequence (the first episode of the wasn't the first to be aired), so one can imagine that the numbers would be bad on a show that has serial elements. In Fox's defense, "Dollhouse" ran for two seasons, maybe as penance for scuttling "Firefly", even though "Dollhouse" was not as strong a show as "Firefly".

    As for Chevy Chase, if the book "Live from New York" is to believed, one of the times Chase came back to the show to guest host, he met Terry Sweeney, who was openly gay. Chase, as a rib, began to make AIDS jokes.

    Cute.

    "Community", in my opinion, didn't really find its sea legs until the middle of the first season, but after then, it had more good than bad episodes. If the new show runners are smart they'll woodshed with the old episodes and run the show accordingly. I am certain things will be different, but I am not willing to condemn a show before I've seen it.

    There are two shows that I can think of that were affected by the original creative team leaving. "The John Larroquette Show", which degenerated into lunacy from noir-ish comedy after the first season. "Anything But Love", which ousted the creator, Wendy Kout after the first year and the show's subsequent seasons were better than the first!

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  14. "Good to hear", not "god to hear".

    Sory.

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  15. Thanks for sharing that, Brian! Yep, that about does it with regards to Chase. "Uncontrollably obnoxious" sounds like it covers it. Maybe he's changed, though.

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  16. This makes me think of what happened to Moonlighting when Glen Gordon Caron was squeezed out before what would turn out to be one of the most disastrous final seasons ever! Glenn Caron was a similar erratic perfectionist who drove the writers, actors and the suits mad with his ambitious designs. The result was one of the most innovative shows ever. Community is the Moonlighting of today (except Moonlighting was popular). Unfortunately it's heading for the same fate.

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    1. Moonlighting was not helped by writers strike of the mid-80s as well.

      Community:2012 :: Moonlighting:1985 .... I'll have to ponder that.

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  17. Brian,

    While "erratic" probably describes Harmon rather well, most indications other than the Chevy situation indicate that he isn't a jerk to work with either. Basically the entire rest of the cast and the writing staff made some sort of statement effecting that they were unhappy with the decision to dump him. One writer has apparently quit over it and another has said he would not resume his acting role on the show.

    If Harmon was a nightmare to work with, I don't think he would've gotten that reaction either.

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  18. Can we just skip to the timeline where this show airs on cable and has its six seasons and a movie?! Network once again murders creativiy! Stupid bloggorns!

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  19. Jeffrey Mark5/21/2012 10:50 AM

    Maybe, me thinks, the lack of civility in Hollywood is one of the reasons there is so much banal, crass and just plain juvenile(ie, dreck) writing of (so-called) comedy shows on television these days. I just get the feeling the peeps running the shows in town don't really respect one another - they're all so damn jealous of what the other "one has" in terms of power, wealth, status, possessions, and on and on. I really do. I sit back here and I have to laugh at all the (they think they are) hot-shit 37.5 year old men and women TV executives living in their fashionable newly renovated, bloated-to-excess 2.3 million West LA mansions, driving their million dollar German cars, eating $300 meals out every Saturday night living the good life, when in reality, most of them create such horseshit TV programs, none of whom know what the "F" really is going on, and only caring if the show will make a pile of dough.

    You guys - y'all know who you are...you don't fool me. "Boo-hoo, boo-hoo," spare me, please. Grow up...really, folks, grow the "F" up and learn some real MANNERS. Yes, people in Hollywood once had manners, and they once really knew how to speak in half-way intelligent conversations with one another once upon a time when coming to a decision whether or not to green-light a show. ("The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show" doesn't count.)

    It's just plain SAD that people all so treat one another this way in Hollywood these days. But, really, no one gives a crap about the other anyway...it's only about MONEY and MONEY alone. Now more than ever. All about who can acquire more and more million dollar "things" just to prove how successful they are in their colleagues or friends or family's eyes. Well, gang, keep grinding out more shows where 20 year old girls get to say "vagina" over and over. Yeah, good stuff. Oh, yeah, right. Grow up, learn some manners, treat others with respect, be honorable. Good manners never go out of style. If y'all in Hollywood had more of 'em, maybe you would actually produce shows of some real strong creative writing. Good people like Larry Gelbart and Norman Lear and Michael Landon knew that. I'll climb off the soapbox now.

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  20. Andrew Reeves5/21/2012 11:18 AM

    BI am not convinced that a move to Friday night is a death sentence for a show like Community. I think that the young tech savy audience they crave will just reset the dvr and continue watching over the weekend as they always have. At least that's how I watch.

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    1. that's how everyone watched it. hence why there ratings sucked...

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    2. Don't they have those new Nielsen ratings +3 and +7 to account for DVR watching? Prob not as strong as regular viewership but at least an accounting of the actual audience.

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  21. Seinfeld didn't become Seinfeld until its fourth season. Networks don't even give shows a chance anymore as most shows are cancelled by then.

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  22. I still don't see how this is a good move. Is it just cheaper to stuff this show on a Friday night than to green light one of the new pilots?

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  23. I love it when the "expert opinion" matches what I thought. Makes me feel so smart. Thanks, Ken.

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  24. In regard to Joss Whedon -- when someone proposed doing a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" project without him, fans were outraged, and they were right to be. The entire show was infused with his sensibility. It could have been just another teen vampire show, rather than an enthusiastically remembered cult classic.

    It's the same way with "Community." While that show takes the form of a typical sitcom, it's actually Dan Harmon's experimental commentary on sitcoms. Yes, you could turn it into a typical comedy -- the actors are appealing and funny enough -- but what would be the point?

    I agree that some of the experiments he's tried have worked better than others. (I didn't love the recent video-game episode as much as some other people did.)

    But if you want to make an updated version of "Friends," go ahead. (The creators of "Happy Endings" did, and it turned out great.) Don't take a show that (sometimes brilliantly) turns the "Friends" model on its head and try to make IT a version of "Friends." What's the point?

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  25. One other reason that Marvel was comfortable with Whedon was his two-year critical and commercial success as writer of Astonishing X-Men. They had seen him handle their characters with intelligence and respect in one medium, knew that he had skill in filmmaking, and figured that the change of medium from comics to film wouldn't be a problem -- he could do the job.

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  26. I just keep thinking of the seventh season of Gilmore Girls & sobbing.

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  27. I've never been called a "fanboy" before (53-year-old mother of two and diehard Community obsessive, yes). Oh, and MASH did suffer from the loss. But you are right about one thing, Hollywood is a pretty cutthroat town and Dan's axing is no more egregious than what happens to dozens in the business on a weekly basis.

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    1. @BurnThis

      I don't think that is what's being debated here. I think it's the fact that the creator of the show was axed and then they said "Hey we're going to cancel it after you're gone." It was almost like they said we'll finish the show the way we want it and you can watch from the sidelines. I'm not saying that is what's going to happen, but without Dan in the driver's seat it could be any finish. And worse than that, if they write it with an actual series finale in mind it will really screw up the possibility of a reincarnation on another station. Sure Hollywood is cut-throat and dog eat dog, we've heard that before. But in general I think the consensus is despite the low ratings, NBC probably messed something up along the way to prevent this show from really gaining widespread notoriety (I think little to no ads killed it, I didn't find out about it the second part of season 3 aired). Now I'm a die hard fan too. I have a Troy and Abed in the Morning Mug even. And as the sentiment is here - you have a genuinely funny, creative and fresh idea person who's getting ousted even with a three year old show. What does that say to aspiring writers?

      Abed would probably say this is the second darkest timeline.

      Delete
  28. Community is a genius show from a genius showrunner/creator. I continually discover more layers in each episode as other fans point them out.

    Like M*A*S*H, Community is anchored by a deep and sincere humanitarian core. It also has brilliant writers and cast members.

    If network TV can't have people like Dan Harmon, then network TV is not for me.

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  29. As one of the fans of Community (and Dan's rant) I'd like to say...

    I never knew Gelbart left.

    (I guess that proves your first point. I, at some point, knew who wrote Mary Tyler Moore or Cheers, but otherwise I never knew who created anything till... maybe... Chicago Hope & Ally McBeal. And after that, I cared (I think DEK is awesome, but some of his stuff is not). And now I love TV writers/creators...most of the time -- when I'm not spending half a season watching the Ghost of Denny Duquette)

    Pam,
    fan of
    Kelley
    Whedon
    Rhimes
    and
    Sorkin

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  30. If you're on the creative side of entertainment, exactly what are networks good for anymore? One doesn't need them to get one's stuff out there, and one certainly doesn't need them to get paid for putting it out there.

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  31. Jeffrey Mark5/21/2012 2:54 PM

    Clayburn Griffin: I'll debate y'all 'till the cows come home on your opinion that Seinfeld only "became Seinfeld" in the 4th season. What about season 3: THE BOYFRIEND? C'mon, if that episode didn't bring it all home...and the brilliance of THE LIMO episode in season 2...THE RED DOT...(Sex with the cleaning woman on a desk)THE PEN episode in season 2, my gawd, man...that was as good or better than anything from the 4th season on. THE BABY SHOWER, season 2...oh, man, go back and watch again. And again. Never that good after the 4th season. (Larry was the secret ingredient.)

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  32. Ken,

    Big fan of your blog and your writing.

    Question for you.

    In rewatching Cheers recently on Netflix, I noticed that Diane was mentioned infrequently after she left. However, in the 10th and 11th seasons, she came up pretty frequently, the point where in the last season, she was being mentioned every few episodes. As some for instances, I think of the waitress at the trendy new bar Carla works at after the fire. That new waitress is basically a clone of Diane. And in a scene at a drive-in, supposedly referring to Godzilla, Norm says "Why would an actress leave a successful series right in the middle?"

    My theory is that you guys wanted to minimize references to the character after she left to let viewers get accustomed to Rebecca on her own terms. But when you were planning the finale, you realized Diane returning would make for a great end and wanted to foreshadow that. Any thoughts?

    I would also be curious to know if you guys ever thought rebecca and Sam would have some big love affiar, or if you always knew that Rebecca and Sam never had the same kind of chemistry or relationship that Sam and Diane did.

    Thanks very much,

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  33. Dan Harmon is already getting a new show on Adult Swim so I don't think he has to worry about kowtowing so he can create network "friends." In the age of the Internet, having a built-in, young, loyal audience that you're directly connected with can be pretty useful, "fanboys" or not. Old world media veterans should do well to remember this.

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    1. And Adult Swim embraces the non-mainstream... hence Tim and Eric. If anything, Harmon's new show should be one of the more normal shows on the schedule.

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    2. It's Harmon and Justin Roiland, who is anything but normal. Look up his Channel 101 stuff!

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  34. I realize this is a showbiz centered blog, but do you think the lack of civility is only in Hollywood. Take a look at politics, for example. And case in point, the few times Ken has made political comments. Look at the way BOTH left and right crucify each other here in the comments section.

    And something else that jumps out in Ken's posts from time to time. Remember this is still a workplace; in a lot ways, just like all of us go to every day. And you only get so much leash even in Hollywood. And you can only drive your bosses so crazy before they will fire you. Even in Hollywood.

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  35. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Yes, to the executives, Community may seem broken, but that's just because they're idiots. They place it in a crappy time slot. They don't advertise the show properly. Of course it isn't going to bring in ratings. The fans know there's absolutely nothing wrong with the show, and so obviously any creative change is a bad one.

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  36. Is there any proof he's an a-hole to his staffers outside of the Chevy Chase incident. I want to have better evidence of how difficult he is before condemning him as a problem personality.

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  37. Showrunners may get fired all the time, but I have to ask... what was the point in this instance? Was Dan so unbearable they couldn't have put up with him for 13 more episodes so that Community could bow out gracefully? We all knew NBC was planning on killing the show anyways after they announced the new time slot. But they also had to have known that Community's diehard audience would follow. In fact, the rapid fans were the ONLY ones who would follow. Not much chance of attracting new viewers on a night nobody is home to watch... If syndication was their endgame it made little sense to gut the show of its creative heart and soul right at the last second. (And yeah, I know it wasn't NBC's decision but Sony's but NBC could have stepped in. We all know it.) This was Dan's VISION. Everything that makes the show wonderful, unique and a cult hit stems from his (irascible) brilliance. To be clear, I wasn't happy about the Chevy thing either. It was in poor taste to air dirty laundry that way. But I thought Dan's statement clarifying why he wasn't going to be running the show anymore was very poignant, polite, and remarkably restrained. It was quite classy of him, in fact (beastialty joke notwithstanding). And I wish more people would give him credit. I'd like to say I'd tune in next fall simply for the cast, but I fear that it'll feel like a creative rape. I'm still smarting over Aaron Sorkin leaving the West Wing. The show survived, sure, but it never sounded or felt the same.

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  38. I don't know why Mr. Levine is assuming Dan Harmon was fired for being a jerk (and therefore deserved it in a way for not being nicer to execs) and not because they want to make the show more accessible/more on-budget so it can get a back half order and hit the syndication goal more easily.

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  39. e supone que la venta de anuncios publicitarios para el estreno respiraderos, sí, la compañía de producción todavía se pone un porcentaje mucho más grande.

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  40. Never trust a creator of a series who *doesn't* fight rabidly for what he thinks should be the direction of the show. Anything less means than that just shows that the creator didn't care about the show from the start.

    I would rather see a show cancelled than have it turned into something it was never meant to be. JM Straczynski was hated by TNT executives because he stuck to closely to his vision of what Babylon 5 and Crusade. The execs didn't bother trying to pry into the stories until the last season of Babylon 5 (...but they couldn't do anything since they were already contract committed..) "Crusade", from it's very start, was plagued by executives who thought JMS needed to "sex" up the plot and make it more mainstream. You see, he had gotten their attention by the huge ratings for B5. He refused, so they ended the series *BEFORE IT EVEN AIRED*.

    Another thing: Anyone who uses rumors they "heard second-hand" to prove a point has already conceded.

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  41. My impressions were that Harmon was much adored by those who worked with him who could stand the craziness. The crazy was never nasty, except when pushed. As a textbook narcissist on the same personality axis that has Charles Manson on one end and Jesus on the other, anyone thinking they could tell him what to do would come to hate him very much indeed. Because they are small men, I would suggest. But then we're into opinions and they have the money and make the decisions. I know that if you're like Dan, or Jesus, or to a lesser extent Charles, trying to make people happy while working for smaller men than you, and you drop your guard, lose your cool for a SPLITSECOND, you will be eaten alive. I guess the Chevy thing wasn't the reason but a very convenient excuse.

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  42. johnforamerica5/21/2012 4:12 PM

    Yep, even "experts" are making the mistake of blaming NBC instead of Sony...

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  43. No. Chevy read the script and wanted to be a part of the show. See here, for example:

    http://filmreviewonline.com/2010/02/17/community-creator-dan-harmon-and-star-chevy-chase/

    And by the way, Dan tweeted today to say that Chevy left him another voicemail yesterday. Don't believe what you read in the papers.

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    1. Piliocolobus5/22/2012 8:11 AM

      Yes I read that tweet and Dan said that in a very friendly way. He said that, "Chevy did NOT want this for him." He said, "Chase and he have always liked each other" and IMO Chase sending him silly voice mails now PROVES it. Why would he do that NOW if he didn't care? (They probably cheer him up)Also, Harmon said, "he and Chase are both alike, they're both babies."

      I wish people would stop blaming Chevy. Oh and by the way, contrary to all the current gossip he DOES have friends. You don't have to delve far to find that truth out. You people need to STOP feeding the Chevy-Harmon fabricated knockdown dispute. Even Harmon says it ain't so.

      And if Harmon's creativity is being compared to the genius of M*A*S*H (of which I TOTALLY agree)we will definitely see him again. Community is just a stepping stone for him.

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  44. You know, if they can fire Harmon and not get any fallout from it, it won't improve the standings of Showrunners in the industry :(

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  45. With streaming replacing DVR that replaced DVD that replaced broadcast, and advertising money unsure where to go next Hollywood needs to pay more attention to what money it can make, not the money it used to make. And a hint; it's less and less in any show or movie with a predictable format or storyline.

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  46. If enough people went public with the crappy behaviour, maybe it would no longer be a common thing.

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  47. Scott, that's very true. I bet Community was watched most of all by illegal download. Lot of people out there.

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  48. bruce miller5/21/2012 8:06 PM

    Perfect, Ken! Your take on show runners in this, and previous blog posts is pretty well on the nose. I have worked for quite a variety, and when they actually give a crap, and have had substantial parenting in their youth, they are the focus and the reason for success. But when they are so into themselves that the show becomes nothing more than a vehicle to make noise about themselves, believing their personal hype as well as potentially earning zillions of $$$, you get ....um....um.....I'm not retired yet, so I'll keep the examples to myself. I've had such great experiences with show runners who are truly creative and caring AND respectful AND APPRECIATIVE.....it makes everyone feel good and want to deliver their best efforts. But put a headstrong child in the drivers seat, and you get a show like "INSERT TITLE HERE"! (still not planning on retiring......)

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  49. Oh, look! Harmon has mentioned Ken on his Twitter page now, passive-aggressively misrepresenting what Ken said here to make Ken look stupid.

    One has to admit there is a certain fidelity of behavior you can absolutely count on from a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (google it), and Harmon's never disappoints.

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    1. LOL, Google can't diagnose someone with a personality disorder, silly. At least not yet. I'm sure there's someone over there working on the algorithm, but it's probably in beta at best.

      On the other hand, Asperger's Syndrome is something DH himself HAS mentioned as self-descriptive, on more than one occasion. (Google it.)

      And I saw the tweet, which wasn't so much passive-aggressively misrepresenting this post (it's how I got here), as speaking from the perspective of a person in the weird position of being talked about in an article that doesn't really solicit his input, written to other people who may or may not be fans of him, about something both intensely personal (being let go from the show he created and lived for the past 3 years) and bizarrely public. If you've read any of Dan Harmon's musings on these and other matters, you'll note that "self-deprecating" is a tag phrase that can be attached to most of his stuff.

      Is that narcissistic? Sure, since "self" is part of it; but it's also a normal, reasonable human reaction to having so much of your public image out of your personal control.

      I'm also not sure how anyone, even without the necessary consideration of one's self-interest and feelings over and above the need to be true to the entire meaning of a blog post, is supposed to PROPERLY represent anything of any length written by anybody, via Twitter. I mean, I can't even respond to your short comment in 140 characters without resorting to name-calling (which is why I'm responding at length!).

      From my POV, I came here actually anticipating a blog post written by a friend of DH...and I got that viewpoint solely from the tone of the tweet from Dan Harmon himself. I'm not going to say you're reading it wrong, but I am pointing out that there are a few different ways to take DH, as with anyone: if you hate him already, you'll hate whatever he says; if you already love him, you'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

      But let's leave the DSM diagnostics to experts, shall we?

      Delete
    2. "But let's leave the DSM diagnostics to experts, shall we?"

      That includes Dan Harmon, diagnosing himself with Asperger's.

      Delete
  50. "Dan Harmon ‏@danharmon

    A guy that ran my favorite show after its creators left warns me that in TV, it's not the audience that pays our rent: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/dan-harmons-firing-my-take.html?m=1"

    sheesh, he does seem hard to work with when he takes every thing as an assault.

    ps: ken, why the chevy chase hate?

    ReplyDelete
  51. You can see why he'd be peevish. I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan but no television ever made me happy like Community did. Society doesn't reward love, so we forget that matters?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Y'all, did you SEE "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux"? That was about Harmon. Harmon was Pelton. Pelton was Harmon. Poor Annie, victim of Stockholm Syndrome, represented the crew. Millions of rewrites, filming at all hours, editing the episode right up until airing, constantly picking fights with fans on the internet: Harmon was a mess of a showrunner.

    And I had to roll my eyes at "And maybe he was tough to work with. Many artists are. As long as they produce good art, I don't really care about it one way or the other." It's amazing how white dudes manage to skate by with that attitude. If Dan was Daniela Harmon, causing "artistic" chaos at every turn, turning in episodes late, causing mass turnover in writing staff, would she have gotten three whole seasons of terrorizing their staff and crew and cast? What if it was a POC threatening to quit 8 times a day if they didn't get their way? Harmon got a pass for his behaviour far longer than many others would have.

    And honestly: I've always felt that Community was a great show despite of Harmon, not because of him. The cast is incredibly talented (Danny Pudi and Donald Glover created the Troy/Abed bromance when Harmon envisioned Pierce/Troy, Donald chose to turn Troy into the character we love instead of "angry jock dude", and Britta became more likeable when Gillian was allowed to improv a bit); and the Russo brothers and the original writers had a lot more input in S1, which really grounded the show. (I remember listening to the commentary on 1x09 and Harmon talking about how this was the first ep he kind of stepped back from, and I was like, "Oddly enough... this is when I started to like the show. Hunh.")

    The latter seasons where Harmon had more creative control were far more uneven. I'm actually really curious as to how the new showrunners will run things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But by the end of that episode, we love the Dean. Mainly because he comes to the point of self-realization, apology and hilarious and loveable humility. And that's how I read much of DH's commentary as well...and I think it explains why a lot of people still like him, in the end.

      I don't think we need to resort to saying all his supporters are suffering from some kind of Stockholm Syndrome for that to be reasonable.

      (Your commentary on the privilege of being a white male is interesting to me, and I'll have to think more about that and its implications.)

      Delete
    2. "But by the end of that episode, we love the Dean. Mainly because he comes to the point of self-realization, apology and hilarious and loveable humility."

      Yes, it's completely surprising that that's where the episode ended up, given the inspiration for the story was still the boss.

      Delete
  53. Don't worry, Pilli. Nobody is accusing Harmon of being capable of writing an episode of MASH. Harmon needs television references to rip off when he runs out of plot. What's he going to use in the MASH timeline? The Goldbergs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/22/2012 10:01 AM

      Wow. That was harsh. I guess you aren't a Community fan?

      Off topic but kinda on..., WHY was Philip Loeb from "The Goldbergs" blacklisted? I'm kinda interested seeing as this blog speaks of people being blacklisted in the business and being labeled poison "and put in the “too much trouble” bin."

      Delete
  54. Pilli-

    The blacklisting occurred because he talked shit about Chevy Chase – arguably one of the most popular cities in the United States at the time.

    Now you know the rest of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I was fired as a showrunner looooooong before it was trendy. The executive producer actress fired me and the entire writing staff at the end of a very successful season. Just another chapter in my memoirs...

    ReplyDelete
  56. (Which I will write 12 years after the death of everyone I've ever known.)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Piliocolobus5/22/2012 11:36 AM

    Since I am starting to realize that this blog is being followed by a lot of writers can I ask you all a question? Is it that Harmon used references to other's material in Community that you hold against him? Because it seems to me that you might just be a little honored seeing as the current generation may not remember or know of your work. In fact in my own family, if it weren't for me bringing my kids up on reruns and DVDs of M*A*S*H then they would not know about or LOVE it. I worked in a hospital on a pediatric ward and I made the mistake one day of asking an older teen if he ever watched M*A*S*H and he just looked at me as if I was an alien.

    Instead of lambasting Harmon why don't any of you try and mentor him? In one of his interviews he mentioned that when studying the character of Abed for Community that he discovered that HE had Asperger's. In fact he got the idea for Community when he went back to school at a community college in his thirties. I have an older child with Asperger's who is attending community college and it IS very difficult. These people can achieve GREAT things but they need mentors, coaches and support....yes even into adulthood.

    ReplyDelete
  58. @ Piliocolobus -

    1) Dan Harmon's medical diagnosis is unconfirmed. He seems to have diagnosed himself, for one thing, which is problematic. If I read WebMD, I can diagnose myself with cancer from any range of symptoms, but that doesn't mean I *have* it. And one layperson's Aspergers is another's NPD.

    2) I think you're overestimating other people's desire to mentor a fully grown, comparatively successful man who was primarily destroyed by his own unprofessional behavior.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Piliocolobus5/22/2012 12:06 PM

      We don't know WHY he was demoted. The network never said. And BTW when that whole Chevy-Harmon debacle broke loose like wild fire I was completely on the Chase side. As it is now I don't even think Chase took it too seriously. And I sincerely do NOT believe Chase wanted Harmon fired.

      I just think people in the industry should give Harmon a brake now.

      I have another question. Did Alan Alda or others ruin M*A*S*H or step on the toes of creators when THEY collaborated or wrote episodes for M*A*S*H?

      Thanks for allowing me to post and taking the time to respond.

      Delete
    2. "We don't know WHY he was demoted. The network never said. And BTW when that whole Chevy-Harmon debacle broke loose like wild fire I was completely on the Chase side. As it is now I don't even think Chase took it too seriously. And I sincerely do NOT believe Chase wanted Harmon fired."

      You weren't paying attention. This isn't about Chase, though I'm sure Harmon's behavior in that tussle didn't help. Harmon's twitter feed for the last three years has been a lesson in how NOT to behave when you have a bubble TV show - rabidly attacking anyone who wasn't a mindless sycophant, whether they @'d him or not. He was a PR-liability there practically from the get-go. The network had issues promoting the show because the episodes were rarely in the can early enough for the promo guys to do anything with them. He had major writing staff turnover every year. If you listen to DVD commentaries, or even read his self-pitying missive, it is incredibly easy to picture the kind of management style the man employs whilst running a show. (Again: see "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux.") The Chase thing was probably a straw that broke the camel's back. His contract was up, they could get rid of him easily, he's more trouble than he's worth, bingo-bango-gone, predictable to anyone who was paying attention.

      "I just think people in the industry should give Harmon a brake [sic] now."
      Why?

      Delete
    3. And Piliocolobus, they do say why they fired him. They cite his management shortcomings (going over budget, getting episodes in late, etc.)

      Delete
  59. I'm not lambasting Harmon. Like I said, I admire his fearlessness and willingness to take chances. Give me that over "safe" any day.

    That I didn't think some of the shows worked, that's the risk. But it's one worth taking. Besides, who am I? Stuff I didn't like, others loved.

    Pop references sprinkled in now and again is not a problem for me. I use pop references on Mariners broadcasts.

    And my point about his taking this firing so public is that it could have repercussions and I don't want to see doors closed needlessly.

    Lastly, Dan Harmon does not need me as a mentor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/22/2012 1:06 PM

      That was very well put Mr. Levine, and I hope he sees this. You are a good and wise man.

      And may I say that I LOVED M*A*S*H? Like I said, I made sure to bring my kids up on the reruns and DVDs and THEY love it! We always look to M*A*S*H, "All in the Family" and others of that caliber when referencing the BEST of the best!

      My family loves Community. It's one of those shows a whole family can sit down to and enjoy together. It's also one of those shows that you can re-watch over and over again. Will it achieve the heights, following or longevity of M*A*S*H? No but I to would like to see what else Harmon can do. And I appreciate your thoughtful words based from your obvious experience in the industry. "I don't want to see doors closed needlessly" either.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my posts. And please excuse my grammar. LOL I am not a writer. :) Just a fan. :)

      Delete
  60. @Karen Hall - I looked you up on IMDb. I figured I could easily figure out who you were talking about. Then I saw that you worked on Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, and Moonlighting.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Just a thought...
    I'm a big fan of democratization. What I mean is that I believe great things can happen when more people are able to participate. With the internet growing and the line between TV content and online content blurring, is it possible we'll see more creative, quality shows done cheaply, cutting out the major broadcasters allowing showrunners to make a decent salary and maintain some sort of integrity? Yes, 90% of internet content is shit, but there's some good stuff (e.g. funnyordie) out there. For instance, I like that Netflix is getting into the TV business and bringing my beloved "Arrested Development" back from the dead. I gladly pay for Netflix and would continue to do so if they made good shows.
    Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  62. "Yes, 90% of internet content is shit, but there's some good stuff (e.g. funnyordie) out there."

    Ooooo! Sorry son. You've just been disqualified from talking about comedy. Please accept this "Community Season 1" boxed dvd as your parting gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does that even mean?

      Delete
  63. Lucius Paisley5/22/2012 10:04 PM

    Sorry Anonymous, you've just been disqualified from talking on the internet. No parting gifts, just leave.

    ReplyDelete
  64. The signs are pointing towards Harmon being fired to broaden the show rather than because of his behavioural or management skills.

    The merits of retooling a cult show with a season 4 order of 13 episodes in the Friday death slot seem rather dubious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really think it's so much "either/or" as "A little of Column A; a little of Column B."

      Delete
  65. @Karen Hall

    You wrote Big Man On Mulberry Street!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. @pumpkinhead

    I still think it's pretty obvious she's talking about Roseanne.

    ReplyDelete
  67. @Christopher, Why is that clear?

    ReplyDelete
  68. @Karen Hall: were you showrunner on Roseann? Anyways, please atleast confirm that it was not Amy Brenneman from Judging Amy. I just love that woman.

    ReplyDelete
  69. As a young viewer of community--prime ratings age, all I can say is I don't care how the damned sausage is made....but if it's not made well, with the internet these days, I have way too many alternatives to choose from. If Sony botches community, I can replace it with...Korean, French, Swedish, etc. shows or even just replace the show entirely with web series and a shit load of other web content. Hollywood has been making crap movies for awhile so I took my tastes (and my money) to the international markets:)Except the Avengers was AWESOME!

    I respect all the show runners and the tv execs input here but...entertainment has changed due to easier access, an exponential increase in alternatives and commitment of loyal fans (for Korean shows, fan volunteers take hours out of their lives to provide subtitles). These factors I'm sure are considered very seriously but let's really, REALLY let reality sink in...

    I've never heard of Ken Levine or Karen Hall. I was exposed to the existence of their shows through community. But Dan Harmon is now imprinted in my brain. Not Joel McHale or Gillain Jacobs (though I love the whole cast!) and the dude has thousands of little minion followers, like me, for wherever he goes next. An in-built audience that would count with quite a few cable networks and production houses for any new projects of his.

    It's no longer "I'll watch whatever nbc puts up or sony produces because it's either that or CBS (gag)." Whole new ball game as far as I can see. Buckle up over 40s!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/23/2012 6:43 PM

      "I've never heard of Ken Levine" "Buckle up over 40s!"

      Can someone so obviously "with it" other than THIS over 40 please explain WHAT this means? I have access to international shows to and I DO know my way around the internet..., but I also KNOW who Ken Levine is and M*A*S*H for that matter. And I easily looked up Karen Hall and could EASILY identify her work.

      I love Community but Dan Harmon is NOT a God and I think the writers here have given him very good advice.

      Please tell me WHY I need to "Buckle up?"

      Thanks.

      Delete
  70. "I've never heard of Ken Levine or Karen Hall. I was exposed to the existence of their shows through community. But Dan Harmon is now imprinted in my brain. Not Joel McHale or Gillain Jacobs (though I love the whole cast!) and the dude has thousands of little minion followers, like me, for wherever he goes next."

    And just think. Before Dan, you were all stuck in your rooms masturbating to "Mr. Spock." Mr. Spock wasn't even real. Dan's real. Now it's like having sex almost really. You're all going to defend that. Even if your parents finally evict you. Ha! Like that will ever happen. You aren't moving anywhere. They know it. You know it. Ha ha ha! Go Community!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/23/2012 6:45 PM

      And this post is just rude.

      Delete
  71. Doesn't it stand to reason that for every "asshole" showrunner like Harmon there's at least one sane one like Ken? If all else is equal, why pick the troublemaker when you can just go with the guy who lets you sleep at night?

    WV: "noriesi prehef"--Young girl destined to become a Playmate.

    ReplyDelete
  72. If Dan Harmon isn't God it's because there's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he dresses like Joss Whedon. But Dan Harmon in three seasons came very close. I think we're entering a post-studio age, and we're already in a post-network age. Genius creators with their own devoted following connecting directly to their audience. Dan worked out that you could make Community for $5 per fan per episode, and that was just considering the known US viewership.

    Soon we'll be feeling bad for the politically astute non-genius showrunners. Their jobs won't exist any more. A direct connection to your audience will be everything.

    ReplyDelete
  73. "But Dan Harmon in three seasons came very close.

    Easy to say when you're not the one bankrolling him. A major part of the game is to get enough of an audience so that the backers make money.
    If they don't make enough money, you're officially fucking with them. You wrote them a "bad check," so they close out your account and move on.
    If you think Dan's great, mortgage your house (ha ha! j/k you have no house), mortgage your parents house, and give him the money to make an independent film that will make you all rich.
    You're not gonna to do that? Look at you! You're a money-grubbing suit, who hates art! Aren't you somethin'?

    ReplyDelete
  74. I don't need to sell my house. I just said: we're entering a post-studio age. Whedon had a huge cult following and then made Dr Horrible with his own money, let everyone see it for free, and then the DVD made ridiculous profits. Louis CK had a huge cult following and then produced a video with his own money, and it made ridiculous profits. Dan Harmon is on his way to having a huge cult following...

    It sounds revolutionary because we're used to assuming that viewers wouldn't pay directly for television - because television has traditionally been watered-down shit in service of advertisers. Cable changed that, the internet is obliterating it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/24/2012 12:10 AM

      I must admit I've seen some Australian movies made like that. (The Tunnel & The Reef) No kidding. For independent films they were AWESOME!!!!! In fact, they were a LOT better than the main stream films with BIG bucks.

      That being said, someone spoke of international shows.... We're not just talking Monty Python's Flying Circus and Doctor Who here any more..... Anyone seen Primeval from the UK....., Downton Abbey???? And that's just to name a couple. Personally I LOVE the Australian shows. Heck... We are stealing ideas from THEM now. (Wilfred)

      Anyway I must admit. There IS a LOT to chose from now.

      So..., as a 40 and above something please don't be dissing our capabilities to be in the NOW and get around the world or should I say WWW. Yes. The internet and international media has a LOT to offer.

      Delete
  75. This is the anon from the over 40 comment.

    Awwww, I'm so sorry Piliocolobus. I was trying to be flippant, lol. Did not mean it to come out like a diss. I meant more the over 40 execs who've been so used to a certain way of doing business they may still find the idea of celebrity show runners a fad. Wasn't referring to over 40 viewers.

    And yes I found out who Ken Levine and Karen Hall are right after I found out about the existence of "cheers" and "MASH," which are both great shows, FROM community. Before that I'd never heard of the shows.

    As far as the gross masturbating and house selling and stuff comments: Grow up. After a certain age, comebacks like that are just pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piliocolobus5/24/2012 8:40 AM

      We're Cool. Cool cool cool. ;)

      LOL Just to clarify I didn't make the "gross masturbating and house selling and stuff comments." I thought that was way out of line to. Makes you wonder where that hate came from. Maybe it was just a troll trying to get a rise? I don't believe any of the well esteemed writers who follow this blog would write that.

      Anyway all, have a nice day and thank you for letting me participate in this blog discussion. :)

      Delete
  76. I still haven't seen Community, so can't comment directly on it or Harmonm but I can speak a little to Chevy Chase and Joss Whedon. First, Chase has been known as a jerk for a while; he was basically playing himself on SNL when he was doing his smarmy snob character, ditto for Caddyshack, and he picked a fight with his SNL replacement, Bill Murray, when he came back to host the show after leaving the first season, purely out of insecurity because of Murray's breakout popularity. (That made for some awkward moments when they did Caddyshack; apparently Harold Ramis had to twist their arms to get them to do a single scene together.)

    Also, WRT Joss Whedon: People who see the success of Avengers as some sort of huge vindication of Whedon (including Whedon himself) should remember that Marvel kept him on a pretty tight leash, as they had some pretty definite ideas about what they wanted to do with the characters (one of the reasons why Jon Favreau, Edward Norton, and Kenneth Branagh aren't signing up for more films). Plus, of course, he benefited greatly from those previous efforts. As much as his fans like to think of him as the great geek auteur, it might be worth remembering the success of this film vs. his own more personal projects.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Remember all those interviews, and stories, about what a female friendly writer's room Community has.

    It's because Dan Harmon was using it as a dating pool.

    Dan Harmon passed out drunk on the writers room floor.

    Dan Harmon kept a large bottle of Vodka on his desk.

    Dan Harmon tweeted about being drunk, and hallucinating, WHILE AT WORK.

    Dan Harmon turned in scripts Thursday for an episode that started shooting on monday.

    Not denying that he had an interesting vision and that Community is his brain child, but he wasn't able to be a good task master and keep himself and the writers on a schedule. The Show runner is a CEO of a $60 million TV show, and he wasn't able to manage his time, meaning the production suffered for it.

    Dan Harmon shouldn't have been show runner after season one. They gave him two extra chances.

    ReplyDelete
  78. - Allegedly, Dan Harmon, in the first season of the show he co-created, "The Sarah Silverman Show, was fired by Sarah Silverman because, according to Silverman, he was "crazy."

    This is akin to Charles Manson kicking you out of his family because he felt you were too "stabby."

    ReplyDelete
  79. Silverman couldn't work with him because it was her show, she needed to be the boss, and Dan can't take orders. That's all. They totally respect each other.

    ReplyDelete
  80. You guys do realize that there was a new page put up on Thursday by Mr. Levine on this discussion?

    ReplyDelete
  81. What's funny to me is that I have been a very loyal viewer and been totally in love with this show from the beginning. However, based on getting my heart broken before over Sports Night and Firefly, I tend not to "look behind the curtain" too much these days (unless it's Sorking or Whedon). So I have been completely oblivious to all the goings-on with the show. Having said that, I've always wondered about Chase's character. The character feels unnecessary and poorly acted. It's interesting to find out that the actor at least was not the "best" choice for the character. I wonder if the character as a whole was forced onto the show or if the character has been minimalized because an unwanted actor filled the role.

    ReplyDelete
  82. That's an interesting point. I thought Donald Glover was the worst actor ever during most of the first season. He's not a character actor, he doesn't have the acting chops to pull off the role of a football player to save his life.

    Glover is a metrosexual black guy, and that's all he's going to be able to play.

    Once, I guess, the writers figured this out, they started writing him as a nerd, which was a lateral move on the metrosexual archetype. That is, Donald is still "nerdy," except instead of being nerdy about plucking his eyebrows, his character is nerdy about video games.

    From then on, Donald was off to the races.

    Chevy seemed to have the same problem as Donald, but the writers, for whatever reason, wouldn't adjust the character to fit Chevy's strengths. He's always been a bumbling leading man character, and they kept him as a drug addict on the show, and didn't even do that very well.

    "Jim" from "Taxi" was a drug addict who was funny, and interesting. He's what you'd call a "three dimensional character." Pierce was just a lot of shitty writing, with no shame. Also, the role of Jim was given to a very talented character actor. Chevy isn't really a character actor, but they tried to force him into it.

    Bad decision that eventually blew up in the show runner's face, I'm afraid. I always suspected the "writing" for Chevy's character was used as punishment for whatever shenanigans Chevy may have pulled on the set. If so, that was a terrible decision. You don't write shittily to punish one of the actors, and you can't "write around" some actor you don't like for long. That's not the way to manage a show. It brings the whole show down, as we've seen.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now ;)

    ReplyDelete
  84. Jeffrey Mark: Sorry for the late response. Just saw you now. I didn't meant to say that Seinfeld didn't have good episodes prior to Season 4. However, it did not gain mainstream popularity and large network support (and consequently commercial success) until Season 4.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I like this when the "expert opinion" complements things i imagined. Tends to make me sense consequently intelligent. Many thanks, Ken.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Just a relevant update:

    "If you think Dan's great, mortgage your house (ha ha! j/k you have no house), mortgage your parents house, and give him the money to make an independent film that will make you all rich."

    As I said, that isn't how things are done these days. Dan Harmon is producing Charlie Kaufman's next project. I sent them $100 through Kickstarter. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/anomalisa/charlie-kaufmans-anomalisa

    ReplyDelete
  87. "Yes, your fanboys rally around you and you’re a media martyr, but they’re not the people who can say “yes” to your next project. They can’t make the decisions that will shape your career. "

    Regarding Ken's thought above, here's an interesting footnote to consider: The model may be shifting. Dan and some other creatives (Charlie Kaufman, Dino Stamatopoulos) have raised almost $300k to make a stop-motion film via the fund raising site Kickstarter. Crowdsourced funding is the fanboys saying "yes" with their own money. Will the project be profitable? Maybe, but it doesn't need to be. The fanboys don't answer to stockholders; they've contributed and aside from whatever tchotchkees they receive, there is no expected return on investment, other than patronizing artists they believe in. Crowdsourced funding may not reach the critical mass to bankrupt the studios, but it's nice to see Harmon doing what he does best, whether or not anyone in a suit thinks it's a good idea.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/anomalisa/charlie-kaufmans-anomalisa

    PS - Love the blog, Ken.

    ReplyDelete
  88. It's a shame that this is what the industry has come to. I wish Dan Harmon the best, he has created art that will outlive him and us, and will be appreciated by anyone that has internet connection. He might possibly be our new Joss Whedon.

    As for NBC and Sony, NBC is going to pay for all the pain they put their employees in. It's a shame.

    I just hope this doesn't end the show, I want my 6 Seasons and a Movie.

    ReplyDelete
  89. They made the right decision though. He personally admitted that he would have fired himself.

    ReplyDelete
  90. NBC don't believe in community. This issue must be investigate well.

    ReplyDelete

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