May 19, 2012

Community: Dan Harmonless, Rudderless

Well, just as I was settling down for a relaxing weekend, ready to soak in the bath and read review after review about the craptastic Battleship, NBC had to go and refuse to renew Dan Harmon's contract, thus effectively firing him from the show he created and ruining my weekend (I was going to eat scones!). True, in some ways it makes sense to replace Harmon, who besides his very public feud with Chevy Chase, has defied network notes on a variety of instances and hasn't turned in a show that delivers ratings. Still, much like fellow television auteurs Matthew Weiner and Louis C.K., it's difficult to imagine his show continuing without him. He is intrinsically linked with every brilliantly nut-log and amazing thing that has come out of that show. Plus, he made an American Sweetheart out of Joel McHale, and
that is an accomplishment.

I could expound for paragraphs about what a boon to television Dan Harmon is, how his maniacal and total control of Community has grown the show into one of the most smart and stylistically inventive programs on television. But explaining how important and amazing Dan Harmon is as a showrunner is like trying to explain how important and amazing Pixar or Ice Cream Sandwiches are.  People already get it, and those that don't are just stupid Ice Cream Sandwich haters. How did you not cry while watching Up???

I'm not trying to say Community is a perfect show. There are weak episodes, and sometimes the jaded characters (though increasingly less so) can leave a viewer cold. But it is Dan Harmon's show, and it doesn't seem right to take that away. As Maureen Ryan from The Huffington Post so astutely observed, they totally Britta'd it.

The Cast is Not Happy
Also, Dan Harmon posted a disarmingly frank and honest post on his Tumblr, filling people in on the situation. It's worth a few dozen reads.
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