Saturday, August 4, 2012

Community Divided: Dan Harmon vs Chevy Chase

A few months ago, Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase had a public falling out. This year, the critically acclaimed series was awarded the best show on TV by the readers of TV Guide and they landed on the cover but there was speculation that they were canceled mid-season because Community wasn't on NBC's spring schedule. The show came back to finish out it's 3rd season but I, and all of fandom, were concerned that we'd seen the last of Greendale's funniest study group.

Then Community was renewed but Dan Harmon, the creator of one of the best shows on TV was fired. After three spectacular seasons, we're still left to wonder what season 4 of our beloved show will be like.

Then a few days ago I came across an article on msn about Dan Harmon's interview with G4 in which he says: "In television, you're engaged in the pacification of the masses, but I think that the masses need to be pacified. They deserve it."

He also speaks of his future in television this way: "My idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television," he said. "I turned off 90 percent of my brain... for the first season of 'Community.' I was able to disguise myself as a person who just wanted to make television and do a good job. And slowly, I got itchy."

You shut off 90% of your brain for the first season? So you're saying that you look at that first season as not very good? That first season built the fanbase.

There's no denying that Community is a fantastic show and the constant shifting of tone has been fun and unpredictable, but I can see why he was fired. He's essentially saying that anyone involved in a successful show is brain dead compared to him and that TV viewers are idiots who need their entertainment dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. He may have created the show but the actors brought the roles to life, the many writers have broken stories and scripted wonderfully hilarious episodes - Dan Harmon didn't do it alone.

Saying he wants to be successful by having less ideas and shutting off 90 percent of his brain means that if he has a successful show in the future, it's because we're stupid and deserve to be pacified. When you have a show on TV you have to work with the network that is paying you and allowing your show to go out over the airwaves. From now on I have to check to make sure any future shows I watch don't have Dan Harmon as the creator - because I don't want to be exposed as one of the brain-dead masses by enjoying it.

Hear that CBS – I know you’ve tapped him for a blind script deal. I won’t be watching whatever show gets crapped out of that deal.

And I listened to Chase’s rant on Harmon’s voice mail. He predicts that Harmon will die because he’s fat and eats like crap. As someone who is also fat and eats like crap: thanks Chevy – I appreciate knowing how you view fat people.

On that note, Chevy Chase is famously difficult to work with and recently described his role on Community to the Huffington Post this way: “This is the only time I’ve ever had to act every week in the same clothes and as the same character, and I don’t find it particularly enlightening. It’s not teaching anybody anything.”

What was Chevy doing before Community? A stint on Chuck. And before that? I don’t know either. Instead of being a fan of the show he’s on and being energized by the terrific writing and constant, steady employment he’s concerned with his own enlightenment. Maybe I’ll avoid Chevy Chase project (if there are any more) in the future.

Community is great but between Dan Harmon leaving and Chevy Chase impossible to deal with, how much longer is the show going to continue. I hope it’s as good next season as it has been for the past three years. But if Chevy Chase feels he isn’t enlightened by the show any more and goes his own way, I’m going to find it tough to miss him.

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