A couple weeks ago, noted mercurial comedy writer Dan Harmon said he was going make some popcorn, sit back, and watch Season 4 of Community, but that he wasn’t “going to be a jerk about it” because “there were some great writers working on that show who bled with [him] for seasons one, two and three” and “the worst thing [he] can do is fart in their direction at all.”
This week, on his Harmontown podcast, noted mercurial comedy writer Dan Harmon said this about Season 4 of Community:
I watched season four. I guess I already knew this, but apparently, I’m quite a genius … I think I feel pretty comfortable expressing any kind of “Eh, not my cup of tea” about it because – this has been expressed a thousand times over – it’s obviously not somebody doing what they do and trying very hard to make people happy. It is very much like an impression, and an unflattering one. It’s just 13 episodes of “Oh, I’m Dan Harmon! [stupid laugh]! Die Hard! [stupid laugh]” I feel like I’m going back to work tomorrow morning, and I just feel like, “Do I talk like that?”
They replaced us with two guys who didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. They went to Comic-Con, saw what was going on … and they went “F-ck.” They tried their best.
And this, too, regarding the Bill-Murray-as-Jeff-Winger’s-dad situation.
While I was watching season four, I called him and left a voicemail … I said, “My name is Dan Harmon. I created an NBC show called Community. I would like to talk to you as soon as possible about the possibility of you” [gets interrupted] … I didn’t want to like try too hard or try to not try to hard, so I probably just sounded like a robot … I think he just calls you back and goes like, “Hey, it’s Bill Murray.” I don’t know. I know it’s not gonna happen to me, but I think it was a healthy exercise because I was watching the “Jeff meets his father” episode. Of course, I always wanted Jeff’s father to be Bill Murray. I kept putting off the meeting between Jeff and his father because I kept hoping that somehow fate would allow for that to be the case. I named him Jeff Winger. His last name’s Winger after Bill Murray’s character in Stripes. I just always thought Jeff Winger’s dad would be Bill Murray. But there’s something awesome about having all of those preconceived notions ripped away from you. It’s exciting. There’s something exciting about being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach. It’s liberating. It makes you focus on what’s important.
Now, I’m not exactly an expert on what does or does not constitute jerkery, and I’m not saying he doesn’t have a point when you keep those quotes in context and boil them down to a thicker, concentrated paste, but I will say that comparing a creative decision made by the staff of the show to “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach” could, maybe, kind of, be construed as farting in their direction. A little. A tiny bit. Although he did also say “they accidentally created a TV show with a bunch of great actors that makes people really happy, and now we have 13 more episodes,” so I guess he tempered it a little.
Anyway, this GIF seems relevant here.