June 17, 2013 3:42pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Community' Creator Dan Harmon Calls Season 4 'Unflattering,' Has Harsh Words for Studio
A week after Community creator Dan Harmon was officially reinstated as showrunner on the fifth season of NBC's cult comedy, the vocal TV writer-producer let it all hang out.
Harmon had previously said that he had not yet watched the fourth season of Community, which was co-run by Moses Port and David Guarascio — until now. As Harmon put it, the season echoed the then-newly inserted showrunners' desires of infusing Harmon's voice into each episode.
"It's not somebody doing what they do and trying really hard to make people happy. It is very much an impression, an unflattering one," Harmon said on his latest Harmontown podcast.
"There's a system in place that's winning because I would've had too much leverage, too much power, too much salary — as would a lot of writers coming into season four — so they just flushed us, replaced us with two guys who didn't know what they were getting into, went to Comic-Con, saw what was going on ... and they went, 'F---,' " Harmon said. "They tried their best, and I think that's the best idea — well, not the best idea it turns out — but the most admirable impulse. … 'If there's anything else we do, let's not let [the fans] down.' "
"Watching that season, I have such an impulse to just do the show that [Port and Guarascio] probably got hired to do," Harmon continued. "They coulda just done a sitcom set at a community college and people would've been like, 'What about paintball, what about the chicken fingers?' But five episodes later, regular people would have been like, 'Oh, this is a pleasant little show set at a community college.' They would've beaten me. The system would've won."
Harmon took the gloves off when he targeted Community studio Sony Pictures Television. "Writers fighting other writers is the f---ing American dream in the eyes of Sony," he said. "That is what they want. They want creative people rewriting each other. They want creative people replacing each other. They want us interchangeable. They want to think about writing the way they think about the guy on assembly line 24 that puts the final screw on the f---ing Playstation. They want to think about us all that way, and I shouldn't even say 'they,' 'cause it's an it. It's a f---ing machine."
The Community creator was candid when asked if he felt "confident" he could steer the show back. "I don't feel confident in my ability to slam-dunk anything," Harmon said. "I'll measure slam-dunking by my own standards, so the basket's always going to be one inch higher than what I can jump."
Sony Pictures TV declined to comment.
Harmon was let go as showrunner prior to the start of season four after a rocky road during the course of the first three seasons, including a public feud with co-star Chevy Chase. Several writers, including Chris McKenna, who returns as executive producer for the upcoming season, also departed after season three.