Dan Harmon on the Miserable State of TV

In the wake of his forced separation from his brainchild, Community, and the show’s subsequent showrunners making an underwhelming debut, it’s especially interesting to hear Dan Harmon’s rather bleak take on the state of television.

Positioning viewers as passive consumers of garbage and writers as powerless pawns of corporations, Harmon’s most fascinating commentary is on the level of censorship involved in the TV production process. Claiming that TV writers are patently “not allowed to say whatever they’re thinking” is a bold statement, especially coming from someone who seems to have been so successful in getting his vision onto the screen.

But Harmon’s comments point to a valid question, and one that has often been on my mind as someone aspiring to enter the entertainment industry: What control do writers, directors, and even showrunners really have? Is it possible to ever really see your work come to life in the way you envisioned it? What do you think?

((Apologies for the rather cynical post; I suppose I’m not in the cheeriest of places lately. –MQ))

Dan Harmon Rants About the ‘Garbage’ That Is TV
Jesse David Fox @ Vulture

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When asked why 30 Rock was able to stay on the air as a poorly rated yet very smart show, Harmon goes off, espousing a very “everything is bullshit” message. He calls all TV, regardless of quality, “a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup.”

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‘Community’ Comes Back Tonight!

I think Community is probably one of the most genius shows ever made. It capitalizes on the intertextuality that so pervades our culture right now and rewards its viewers with sly references and long-running gags. The commentary it makes on pop culture and the state of television today, as well as the historical tradition of the medium, is sharp, witty, and never fails to make me laugh. If you aren’t watching it, you should be. Seriously. To give you a brief sample of its amazingness, here are twelve seconds of delight that make me laugh every time:

This cult hit has a hugely dedicated fan base, a fan base that has been eagerly anticipating the season four premiere, airing tonight, specifically because of a big change. Dan Harmon, the show’s creator and brilliant showrunner for the past three years, has been replaced by veteran sitcom producers David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me!, The IT CrowdAliens in America, Happy Endings). I’m not questioning the ability of these two men, but I do have concerns about how well they will be able to fill the massive shoes left by Harmon, and if their take on the show will ever be able to capture the essence of what Community really is.

So with tonight’s premiere finally upon us, I’d love to know what you think of it. Check out this review, which identifies some of the problems with the episode, but also encourages us to go easy on Guarascio and Port as they undertake this incredibly intimidating project. Let’s just hope they get into their groove and guide us through Six Seasons and a Movie.

‘Community’: The New Regime
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

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The new episode, airing 7 February, ends with a general nod to fans’ concerns when Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) announces, “I don’t know why I was so worried about change; this year is gonna be great!” But the episode that precedes, while mostly maintaining the zany antics and genre-bending tendencies so characteristic of the show, seems subdued and ultimately fails to give reason for the dean’s prediction.

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