In his self-deprecating manner, Harmon kicked off the chat with Marc Maron by joking about his abrupt exit: “I felt like I have created enough, three years, you take it from here. Sony and NBC said, ‘Please don’t go.’ And I said, ‘Really, I have to go home, I have to do a lot of renovation on my house.’ ”
The former showrunner admitted that he “joked about” getting fired. “Maybe they got the idea from me,” Harmon said.
“If 20 people call you a horse’s ass, you buy a saddle,” Harmon said. “I feel like I am a good person and a professional, very able leader of men. I also feel like I’m 25. That slowly changed without me realizing it. Maybe I am just a jerk.”
He continued: “To people who work above me, I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit. A low-rated show that’s not generating much revenue.”
Harmon went on to discuss the crowded 8 p.m. Thursday time slot, which pitted Community against a ratings juggernaut like CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. “We were getting clobbered by Big Bang Theory and American Idol,” he said. “Why do they win? Why does the robot get to eat the people?”
The TV vet admitted to aspiring to one day being successful for the mainstream. “Television is a populous, derivative, democratic medium. You’re supposed to make a hamburger that everyone wants in their mouth, that’s when you know you’re doing it well,” he said.
As it became clear that Community wouldn’t reach the broad audience Harmon may have thought it would attract, he said “in the third season, you can see me start to go, ‘Nevermind, just give me a good review in the Times.’ ” Harmon later added that you could see him “farting around” (i.e. paintball episode) when he thought the show wouldn’t last.
When asked how he would’ve done things different to, as Maron put it “make a better hamburger,” Harmon wasn’t quite sure how he’d approach season one or two but offered a lesson he learned during his Channel 101 days. “Good TV should be like crack in that every rock gets the job done,” he shared.
Harmon also waxed poetic about the Nielsen ratings system. “Everyone knows that there are more people watching any given show than is being registered by the Nielsen system,” he said. “We’re not trying to accurately measure how many people are watching television, we’re trying to accurately sell a certain amount of product to an advertiser.’
As far what’s in store for Harmon, he says he wants “to be successful in television” and that it could be a multi-camera comedy.
Community will hold a Comic-Con panel with members of the cast Friday morning in Ballroom 20 with new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio, who were hired after Harmon was let go in May, also participating.
Watch the full interview below: