Dan Harmon Insults Former 'Community' Showrunners: "Season 4 Wasn't My Cup of Tea"
Community has had a difficult four years, which is to say creator Dan Harmon has had a difficult four years. When the showrunner wasn't trying to attract viewers to his beloved but underrated series, he was feuding with cast and crew on and off the set.
But Harmon's in-fighting has a pattern — the Community honcho strikes hard, but then backs away months later with a charming apology. So don't be surprised in a few months time to find Harmon apologizing to Moses Port and David Guarascio, the showrunners who briefly took Harmon's place during Community's fourth season after the creator was fired.
Because in his latest podcast, Harmon insulted Port and Guarascio for their treatment of the series just months before the creator is set to return to his post as showrunner. "I guess I already knew this, but apparently I’m a genius. I think I feel pretty comfortable in expressing that [Season 4] wasn’t my cup of tea," Harmon said. "It’s not somebody doing what they do. It’s very much like an impression — an unflattering one. It’s 13 episodes of people doing, 'Derpy, derpy, der, I’m Dan Harmon, der.'"
Despite those words, Harmon still conceded that Port and Guarascio had a tough job: "[They] didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. They went to Comic-Con, saw what was going on… and went, ‘F–k. ... [But] they tried their best."
Of course, this is hardly Harmon's first feud. See below to see how his other battles panned out:
Dan Harmon vs. Chevy Chase
The Feud: Mixing the notoriously difficult Harmon and Chase together is like mixing oil and water, so it's little surprise that their relationship ended with Chase walking out the door of Community. But Harmon hit back by telling cast at a party to join him in a "Fuck You, Chevy" speech... in front of the actor's wife and daughter. Following the party, Chase called Harmon and left an expletive-laden voicemail, which was released to the public.
The Apology: The next month, Harmon wrote a pseudo-apology regarding the incident on his Tumblr. “[A]s 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 ... I made the horrible, childish, self-obsessed, unaware, naive and unprofessional decision to play someone’s voicemail to me. He didn’t intend for 150 people to listen and giggle at it, and I didn’t intend for millions of people to read angry reports about it."
Dan Harmon vs. Sony
The Feud: Sony, the studio behind Community, chose to continue the series for a fourth season even after it suffered from poor ratings... just without its creator. Fans of Harmon, who is known as the heart and soul of the NBC comedy, erupted in protest. And so did Harmon. Once again, the creator took to his Tumblr to talk about how he was blindsided by the replacement. "Why'd Sony want me gone?" Harmon wrote. "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."
And it seems Harmon predicted the tepid critical response to a Harmon-less Season 4. "I'm not saying you can't make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you can't make my version of it unless I have the option of saying 'It has to be like this or I quit' roughly 8 times a day."
The Apology: Speaking with Business host Kim Masters, Harmon said he respected Sony's decision. "I would have fired me too," he said, launching into a description of his difficult relationship with the studio following two low-rated seasons. "Third season comes, and it’s my last chance," he said. "There’s a new guy at NBC. I go in, and I pitch him the whole season. The order of the day was, ‘You’ve got to make the show more grounded. All anybody hears about your show is paintball this and Roman gladiator theme that, and black-and-white, and stop-motion.' ... Sad as it is, the third season was my attempt to kind of walk that tightrope."
Harmon continued, "I was not talking like a guy who was getting their show syndicated. It became a conflict, creatively ... Sony's job is to take that shot clock and do whatever they can with it. They're not going to hand the ball to the guy that spent three years losing in the ratings race and not turning a script over until I felt it was finished. If your ratings are high and there’s money being made, you’re allowed to be a perfectionist in television. But if your ratings are low, have a template."
Will Port and Guarascio get the same apology treatment?