Dan Harmon and Community got the big fancy New York Times treatment today. Most of the information revealed in the article is nothing new to anyone who has been following The Great Community Saga over the past 24 months or so, although there were a few interesting tidbits about the upcoming season, like the fact that the first episode will be titled “Repilot,” and that they’re doing a David-Fincher-style episode at some point. But the most interesting part — for me, at least — was this brief passage, which appears to speak volumes about Joel McHale’s opinion of the show’s Harmon-less fourth season.
“The show has always been in Dan’s head,” Mr. McHale said. “That’s where it lives.”
The difference between losing Mr. Harmon and gaining him back, he added, was “the difference between a desert and an oasis.”
Now, some of this was certainly implied in the THR profile of Harmon that ran back in July, which made it clear that McHale was instrumental in bringing Harmon back for Season 5 (a fact that this profile also covers, with the added nugget that Jim Rash was a second influential voice in the Bring Back Dan camp), but seeing as creativity is often referred to in terms of running water (“the ideas flowed out of him,” “the fountain of inspiration,” etc.), calling Season 4 “a desert” can be interpreted as a pretty harsh shot at the team responsible for it. Not entirely unjustified, and not quite to the level of, say, comparing the season to a violent sexual assault, but still, pretty harsh.
But anyway, in other Community-related, state-of-NBC news…
NBC’s policy is to “let him do his show, as long as it’s coming in on budget and on time, and celebrate that,” said Vernon Sanders, a network entertainment executive who oversees “Community.”
The series, despite low ratings, is shown in repeats on Comedy Central, broadcast in more than a dozen foreign territories and sought by advertisers who want to reach younger viewers. “It’s a show that we make money on,” Mr. Sanders said. But more important, it is a show that cultivates an enthusiastic audience, a feat that he said NBC did not take for granted.
“When a show is really well done, that’s not a guarantee,” Mr. Sanders said.
It says a lot about NBC’s recent run that “some people seem to like it” and “it’s not currently bankrupting us” is now enough to warrant total creative control, no?
[Photo credit: NBC]