Dan Harmon No longer Community Showrunner. Community Is Over.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has replaced Dan Harmon as showrunner for NBC’s Community.

Before we get into the dark, sad news, I’d like to present NBC’s track record with Community;

Well, first, in season one, they basically told all the writers the show would “basically be their show” because Harmon was such a new writer. In season two, almost without exception the episodes they didn’t want Harmon and co., to do where the episodes with most acclaim (Dungeons and Dragons, Uncontrollable Christmas). They fail to advertise season two or three – almost at all. They did also bench the show, but we can hardly blame them for that, after they’d been shoving it over there for the last two years.

However, the downtime between seasons three and four perhaps takes the cake. NBC renew the show for a fourth season, however, they renew it for 13 episodes, meaning it will be four episodes below the 88 needed for syndication. The whole reason the show was greenlit was Sony wanted something to syndicate. Then, they move the show to Fridays – the death slot. Before the fourth season even begins. Preceded by, of all things, Whitney. Is there any, any fan overlap between those two shows? Or is the Venn diagram for Community watchers and Whitney watchers two separate circles?

Now, though, now the show is dead. We were applauding and celebrating and getting misty-eyed at the “#sixseasonsandamovie” hashtag at the end of the finale, and eagerly awaiting the new season. But there won’t be a new season of Community. Community, as we know it, is over. The new Showrunners for Community will be David Guarascio and Moses Port, who worked on Aliens in America, Just Shoot Me and Happy Endings. NBC, reportedly, want to “broaden it’s fan base”. We know what this means.

Can I just ask; NBC, how is the show going to find a massive new audience, in its fourth season? In the death slot?

Community was not the single effort of Harmon, don’t get me wrong. Megan Ganz is a fantastic writer responsible for some of the shows best episodes. Dino has written and provided his comedic charms since the first season, the same goes for the many talented writers on the show – Andrew Guest,  Chris McKenna, Adam Countee – the list goes on. However, Harmon was the one who kept it in line. He had to make sure every joke was right in every way because it was his show. He built up a cast of character, many of which initially seemed defined by archetypes, and made them human. Then, what he did with them in the following seasons was amazing. Digital Estate Planning had a Missingo joke in it. Missingjo is a glitch in the original Pokemon for Gameboy. What other God damned show is there like Community?

Harmon, according to his blog, was never consulted on the decision. He was never called, and finds it insulting that people at NBC would claim they’re “sure he’d stay on in some way”. I can’t really blame him – when you have this much love for your cast and your show, when you literally pour every ounce of yourself into a project, having it taken away from you, and put into someone elses hands must be torture. And it’s not enough to say “Oh, it’s fine, you’ll still have some say”. Community may not turn out a train wreck its next season, but it will not be Community. Asking Harmon to watch that would be cruel.

And how will the cast react? McHale said he was “literally praying” Harmon returned as showrunner. Chase may be thrilled, but fuck Chevy Chase. He’s vital to the show, but he’s made clear time and again he doesn’t understand it at all. I want to say I’m hoping Community will still turn out fine, but the thing is… That’s the best case scenario. It will turn out fine.

It all basically comes down to NBC not having any idea what show they’re running. I will not watch Community without Harmon. No one I know will watch the show without him.

I adored the show. It had a damned good three season run.

How do you feel about Dan Harmon’s departure from the show? Let us know in the comment section.

UPDATE: Chris McKenna, writer for the show for the last three seasons, has announced he is also leaving. From his Twitter; “Nov. ’09 I joined my favorite show on TV and today leave my favorite anything ever. Thanks Community, fans, and @DanHarmon. E Pluribus Anus.”

UPDATE: The Russo Brothers, producers since season one and the highlights to many an episode commentary, are also out.

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