The difference between making Adult Swim’s new animated half hour Rick And Morty, and making NBC’s live-action comedy Community at Sony, is that Adult Swim exec vp Mike Lazzo is “a bona fide genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Dan Harmon said this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Harmon came to the tour today to talk about Rick And Morty, the comedy about a genius inventor grandfather and his less-than-genius grandson that Harmon is doing with creator Justin Roiland. But Harmon is best known for creating and exec producing Community, for being sacked from the show last season because of his behavior, for being brought back to the show for its fifth when the fourth one tanked, for saying that watching the fourth season of Community was like “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” and then issuing a mealy-mouthed apology.
“[Lazzo] has the autonomy and the humility and the mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is, a document, read it and then tell you what his reactions are to it as an individual,” Harmon continued, answering the which-place-is-better question. “He never says ‘I don’t think people are going to like this’. He never branches out into the business of speculating into the biomass for which we are creating this opiate. He never says ‘people are going to react this way’ and he never confuses the script for the final product,” Harmon said. Then he added: “On the NBC side, it’s even better.”
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
Although Community creator Dan Harmon offered up few reveals about the cult comedy show’s fifth season at its Hall H Comic-Con panel today, he used the platform to champion the fans to demand a sixth season and a movie with the Twitter campaign #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE. “I created a machine that eats pain and craps joy. The people in this room gave us five seasons. It’s about legacy and six seasons and a movie,” exclaimed Harmon to the throng of screaming fans. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me,” Harmon told moderator Chris Hardwick, “I don’t consider these the last 13. I will do everything I can to get us the sixth season.”
Still undetermined is when Community will air on NBC next spring. As far as new storylines, Harmon — who didn’t brainstorm any during his time off — only said, “We need to re-establish these characters. I don’t want to plan too hard. We’re taking a different approach in the writers room, and we’ll be done shooting by Christmas.” Harmon also mentioned that he wouldn’t undo the story arcs laid out in Season 4 in an effort to maintain the show’s “organic spirit” and apologized again to fans for his snarky podcast remarks slamming Community’s recent run.
UPDATE: Dan Harmon took to Twitter and his blog to apologize for the “very un-Community” comments in Sunday’s podcast rant. He offered a mea culpa to the show’s fans, its crew, and the writers on the fourth season that Harmon was absent for: “I’m sorry I pooped on your work.” Harmon also apologized for using language that “dehumanize[d] the developmentally disabled” and for “using the word ‘rape’ in a comedic context.” Harmon’s now back at work on Community Season 5.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: At Sunday’s taping of his Harmontown podcast, returning Community creator and exec producer Dan Harmon unloaded on the show’s fourth season, which carried on under writers David Guarascio and Moses Port after NBC replaced Harmon as showrunner last year. “It’s very much like an impression and an unflattering one,” he said. “It’s 13 episodes of ‘I’m Dan Harmon!’ I’m going back to work tomorrow morning and I’m just like, do I talk like that?” Harmon, who is heading back for Season 5 with writer Chris McKenna, compared catching up on the Guarascio and Port-led fourth season to “flipping through Instagram watching your girlfriend blow a million [people].”
Charlie Kaufman and his producing partners — former Community showrunner Dan Harmon and Dino Stamatopoulos — do not want to deal with Hollywood, and now at least for one project they don’t have to. A stop-motion animation adaptation of the Kaufman-written play Anomalisa raised $406,237 for the film’s production in 60 days via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. “We want to make Anomalisa without the interference of the typical big-studio process,” according to a pitch video that Harmon and Stamatopoulos’ Starburns Industries put up on the project page. The film raised more than double the money the producers were asking from 5,770 Kickstarter backers.
“The only thing we care about is keeping it the weird wonderful gem it always has been, said new producer David Guarascio to applause from the packed ballroom. “We’re not going to screw it up,” the other new showrunner Moses Port added later. Guarascio and Port became Community’s showrunners after Harmon was fired by NBC in May. Cast members Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, series writers Megan Ganz, Andy Bobrow and executive producer Russ Krasnoff joined the showrunners on the panel. Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover and Jim Rash were not there.
“It’s a strange transition time” at Community, series star Joel McHale said this morning on the sidelines of Comic-Con ahead of the NBC show’s panel presentation. The sudden departure of series creator-showrunner Dan Harmon from the comedy …
Shortly after news broke that he will be replaced as showrunner on his NBC comedy Community by David Guarascio and Moses Port while he was becoming executive consultant, Dan Harmon took to his blog to clarify the circumstances around the switch. In brief: he says he was fired and doesn’t mince words about his employers. Here is his post:
HEY, DID I MISS ANYTHING?
A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice – actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because they once created a show and cast my good friend Jeff Davis on it, so how bad can they be.
Why’d Sony want me gone? I can’t answer that because I’ve been in as much contact with them as you have. They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business. Community is their property, I only own ten percent of it, and I kind of don’t want to hear what their complaints are because I’m sure it would hurt my feelings even more now that I’d be listening for free.
I do want to correct a couple points of spin, now that I’m free to do so:
On Saturday, I posted a story about the feud between Community creator Dan Harmon and co-star Chevy Chase, which included a recording of a profanity-laced Chase voicemail to Harmon, which Harmon had played at a show he does at a comic book store. This afternoon, Harmon addressed the incident. In a blog post, which I’ve reposted in its entirety below, Harmon apologized to Community fans for playing the voicemail publicly without Chase’s consent, something he now calls “a dumb, unclassy, inconsiderate move on my part.” However, he doesn’t address the rift between the two or the action that allegedly prompted the voicemail, Harmon doing a “Fuck you, Chevy” speech at Community‘s wrap party last month in front of Chase, his wife and his daughter after Chase had walked off the set of the show without filming his scene.
Not That it Helps, But:
I’m really not supposed to be commenting on the situation, which I think is great advice, because anything I say will extend the story’s life and cause more fans discomfort. But as a guy who blogs or tweets every time he wipes his butt, hugs his cat or hurts his girlfriend, it’s conspicuously weird of me to say nothing at all about the giant fart with my name on it that you’ve been inhaling. It feels dishonest not to acknowledge it, it feels rude to the caring fans of the show, people who are tweeting me their concerns that I’ve jeopardized something they fight to protect, those are the sentiments that are [rightfully] the most painful because every choice I make, I try to make for the good of the show, and the show is not an expression of my ego or entitlement, it’s an expression of my desire to make strangers happy. When that’s not happening, when I’ve done something that hurts an audience, it’s always an accident. So I have to just acknowledge my mistake and apologize for it to the fans. Even the people that hate the show that are tweeting heckles at me are right, I’m a selfish baby and a rude asshole and not a person to trust with your feelings.
UPDATE SUNDAY: Since I posted the story yesterday, several people working on the show have come forward to confirm Chase’s version of the events. One noted that the show indeed was “suffering through a ‘non-script day’” when Chase walked off. Another claimed that most of the cast and …
Here’s is the Deadline/TVline assessment of 2011 Emmy comedy races:
Deadline/TVline: 2011 Comedy Series Overview
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits …