So, NBC Is Basically Admitting It Was All Chevy's Fault

 

Dan Harmon's firing by NBC (the broadcasting network) and Sony (the producing company) from Community wasn't subtle. There are a multitude of reasons why he was fired, but it basically boils down to: he was difficult to work with, and a control freak; he and Chevy Chase did not get along at all; NBC wanted the show to be less smart then it was; NBC wanted a successful show. The reasoning was, without Harmon, he wouldn't be able to provoke Chevy, the show wouldn't be as smart, and could potentially become more successful. So, Harmon got the out, and the show was picked up for thirteen episodes under the editorship of David Guarascio and Moses Port.

Things didn't go well. Season 4 was mediocre at best, a placid shadow of its former self, without creative direction, and without any of the bravery that Harmon brought to his storytelling. The season never tried to shake up the status quo or move in a new direction, and managed to drive the established formula into the ground. The show was less smart, but also less successful. The only constantly funny element was how the writers clearly took the opportunity to shit all over Chevy, and it wasn't funny "haha." And that sort of behaviour eventually drove Chevy to quit with three episodes left to film (rewatch the fourth season, and spot the Chevyless episodes). It's renewal for a fifth season was the biggest surprise at this year's up fronts. The finale alone was enough to drive the final nail in the coffin of what had once been an enjoyable, and became an utterly forgettable, show.

Until now. Dan Harmon has been invited, and accepted, an invitation to return to (and presumably to conclude) the show he created, despite his insistence after being fired that he wouldn't want to return. The 13 episode fifth season will bring the show up to 101 episodes, crossing the magic syndication mark, and guaranteeing Sony revenue for years to come. And now that Chevy is gone, and Harmon has been slightly humbled, the last season might be smoother sailing (Harmon lamented after his firing that his one regret was "I think I would have made a little bit more of fun with the people that I’ll obviously never work with again"). According to Harmon's tweet which made the announcement, Joel McHale is the man to congratulate on making it happen, making me wonder if he threatened to walk if Harmon wasn't brought back.

What makes his return interesting is that he hasn't seen any of season 4. He refused to watch it on TV, and has yet to indulge himself. According to Harmon, "Sony said they’re very interested in recording me watching it as a commentary track." Which would certainly be interesting. For those that missed season 4, it was mostly a series of disconnected plots that went no where, or failed to build on anything they established. Jeff met his father, Britta and Troy sort of went out, and Pierce died (or graduated, as did Jeff). Except for the puppet episode (which was also largely continuityless), nothing much worth remembering.

So, I have a suggestion for Dan Harmon: forget that season 4 happened. Don't bother watching it, don't waste your time. Begin season 5 with Jeff being shaken awake in the study room, looking around at the group watching him, realising that it was all just a dream (a more interesting way to use that trope then how it was established in the finale), curse, and role opening credits. Then carry on as you originally intended, and pretend that the second half of 2013 never happened. Is it a cop out? A big one. An big neon arrowed pointed directly at his head one. But it would be a bold statement, both about who is in charge, and how things are would be back to normal. The fans would accept it and move on, and new viewers... well, let's be honest here: Community doesn't get new viewers. But many of the ones who bailed on season 4 would be welcomed back into the fold. I was all set and ready to pretend that the show ended after season three. I wasn't going to return for season five at all, but now I will be.

And that is as much of a result as NBC can expect.

Via Collider and Uproxx.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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