Community's Dan Harmon laments his inability to pacify the masses properly
For those still wondering about Dan Harmon's feelings about being ousted from Community, even after reading his blog posts and tweets or simply using their human capacity for empathy to make assumptions about how it would feel to be fired from the TV show you created, here's his first in-depth interview since it happened. Fittingly, it was conducted by Marc Maron—sort of the comedy world's Barbara Walters—on the occasionally confessional couch that is G4's Attack Of The Show, and his surroundings definitely got Harmon to open up. And not surprisingly, yes, he's still sort of wounded and just a smidge bitter about it all, though his feelings are still tempered with the usual self-deprecating humor, plus a new, oddly dystopian outlook.
"Television is a populist, derivative, democratic medium. You're supposed to make a hamburger that everyone wants in their mouth," Harmon says, adding that a TV show should relieve viewers of the tedium of the "Orwellian habitrails" they live in (but, y'know, in a good way). Because he didn't always approach Community as a populist, pacifying effort—and because people seem to think he's a "horse's ass"—Harmon says, "To people who work over me, I am a liability that isn't worth the benefit." And while he gives NBC credit for recognizing the show's status as both a "cross-platform triumph" capable of inspiring far-flung Internet worship as well as it's being a "critical darling," he admits that, "In the third season, you can see me start to go, 'Never mind [ratings]—just give me a good review in the Times." And, of course, he laments that "the Nielsen system isn't designed to measure that yet."
So, where does Harmon go from here, besides working on his house and hoping that someday soon, someone invents a box capable of taking into account broadcast viewers and people who make animated Alison Brie GIFs, then measuring a show's success that way? " My idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television," Harmon declares, instantly prompting a million grammarians to tell him that he means fewer ideas, which is sort of the last thing he needs to hear right now. But from the sound of it, he seems to be gravitating toward a more traditional multi-camera sitcom format, and creating a simpler show that will serve as a far better "pacifier for the masses." Dan Harmon's Sit Quietly And Watch This Married Couple Bicker Gently Before Love Fixes Everything, coming in the yet-to-be-determined fall.