Only one thing could get Dan Harmon to watch the fourth season of Community, the NBC sitcom that was so cruelly ripped away from him last spring: being reinstated as his creation’s executive producer.
And now that he has watched it… hoo boy.
Harmon spilled his thoughts during the most recent edition of “Harmontown,” the digressive comedy show-slash-podcast he hosts with Jeff B. Davis each week. At first, his reaction was fairly tame; Harmon said he felt comfortable calling the season “not my cup of tea,” since it was obviously an “impression, and an unflattering one” of Community under his own stewardship. (The episodes in a nutshell, according to Harmon: “DURRRR! I’m Dan Harmon! DURRRR!”)
But after that assessment, Harmon got a little more graphic — comparing sitting through this past season to “flipping through Instagram just watching your girlfriend blow everyone” and seeing a friend “Like” a photo of your ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend on Facebook.
His strongest words, though, came when Harmon described how disappointed he felt after learning that James Brolin had played Joel McHale’s character’s estranged father in a season 4 episode. Community‘s creator had long hoped to snag Bill Murray for that role — he even named McHale’s Jeff Winger after John Winger, Murray’s character in Stripes.
Then again, Harmon mused, “There’s something awesome about having all of those preconceived notions kind of ripped away from you. It’s exciting. There’s something awesome about being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach. It’s liberating. It makes you focus on what’s important.” That’s an… interesting choice of words, to say the least, especially considering the rape joke controversy that’s been consuming the comedy community for the past few months.
At this point, the conversation abruptly morphed into a discussion about Father’s Day.
For the record, Harmon doesn’t seem to blame the season on Community‘s replacement showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port — “two guys who didn’t know what they were getting into.” Instead, he spent a good portion of his 13-minute post-season 4 monologue trashing Sony, the production company that fired (and re-hired) him: “They want creative people rewriting each other. They want creative people replacing each other,” he said, comparing his employer’s methods to an assembly line. “The system wants us not to be human.”
For more thoughts — and, warning, lots of blue language — listen to the whole podcast here.