In his first in-depth public interview since being relieved of his command at Community, Dan Harmon owns up to some shortcomings, casts aspersion on the ratings system that ultimately handicapped his vision and – worse yet – hints that he may rein in his creativity his next time around the dial.
Appearing on G4’s Attack of the Show, Harmon was asked if he saw his termination coming. “I always joked about it – [so] maybe they got the idea from me?” he quipped. “I always said these guys are going to fire me, I know it… They hate me.”
In numerous accounts of the circumstances of Harmon’s removal as boss of the acclaimed yet undersampled NBC comedy, a picture was painted of a creative genius who suffers no fools and can be a lot to handle. Harmon conceded that characterization, saying, “If 20 people call you a horse’s a–, you buy a saddle.” He then contended that he sees himself as “a good person and a very able leader of men,” but that when it comes “people who work over me, I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit,” given Community‘s low ratings.
To NBC’s credit, Harmon said the network “respect[ed] the idea of [Community] being a critical darling instead of a ratings juggernaut,” but he senses that with the season gone by, he perhaps took their good faith for granted.
“Television is a populist… medium. You’re supposed to make a hamburger that everyone wants in their mouth,” he said. “But in the third season, you can see me start to go, ‘Never mind – just give me a good review in the Times!'”
Harmon acknowledges that while the saga of the Greendale study group enjoyed a certain buzz, especially online – “We were a cross-platform triumph,” he raved – “The problem is that the Nielsen [ratings] system isn’t designed to measure that yet.”
Sadly, the lesson learned could stick with Harmon. Because when asked about what he next has up his sleeve, he said, “My idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television.”
Watch the full sit-down here: