Dan Harmon Is Back At ‘Community’ Because Of Joel McHale

07.17.13 19 Comments

There’s a big long Dan Harmon profile over at The Hollywood Reporter today. Most of it is stuff readers of this site already know or have come to expect from a profile of the mercurial Community showrunner — Dan Harmon is a gifted comedy writer, Dan Harmon can be a royal pain to work with, Dan Harmon is aware of both of those things and is willing to talk about them at length, etc. There’s also some new information about his firing, and another semi-shot at 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'”), but the most interesting part of the article, to me, is the way it drives home the extent to which Joel McHale’s support got Harmon his job back.

For example, look at this excerpt…

But now, a year after being unceremoniously dumped, the irascible and often untamable showrunner has been asked back by the same executives he had railed against. In accepting their offer — for which star Joel McHale and, to a lesser extent, Harmon’s rabid fan base, are largely responsible — he not only is being granted a rare second chance but also is providing perhaps the most tangible example yet of the power of a savvy creative as well as the forgiving nature of Hollywood.

… and this one…

But not even Harmon’s biggest detractors deny his gift for crafting deeply funny, nuanced comedy, with one exec noting that he can take a good writer’s script and add several additional layers and subtle jokes. “He’s got one of those one-in-a-billion minds,” says McHale, echoing the term “genius” that many employ to describe Harmon.

… and this one…

Harmon later would learn that the actors, led by McHale, quietly were plotting to bring him back. “The show is in Dan’s brain, and he’s by far the only person that can do it,” says McHale. Suggest to Harmon that his successors were all but set up to fail, and he shrugs: “It said ‘no-win situation’ at the top of the contract, and they signed it anyway,” he says.

… and this one…

According to two sources, Sony execs recognized not only that the show had faltered without Harmon but also that he would be better equipped to handle a truncated season of 13 episodes. He also would bring with him McKenna, who has his respect and comedic sensibility. Ultimately, though, the determining factor for the studio — and the primary reason NBC agreed — was to appease McHale.

You know, between the highs the show is capable of reaching when everything is clicking, and all the behind-the-scenes controversy and turmoil, you could make a pretty decent argument that Community is both the best comedy and the best drama on television today.

Around The Web