Dan Harmon

Harmontown

Community creator Dan Harmon and his former star Chevy Chase don’t exactly have the most cordial phone relationship. Way back in April of 2012, Chase and Harmon tussled big time — and pretty publicly — after Chase left Harmon a voicemail that can only be deemed “scathing.” Fortunately, it looks like the duo have sort of, kind of, maybe reconciled. At the very least, Chase isn’t leaving Harmon voicemails anymore, he’s just sending him single word text messages. Harmon (and his podcast of the same name) is the subject of Neil Berkeley‘s recent documentary Harmontown, which features all sorts of insights into the prickly creator and his beloved shows, and is particularly searing and emotional because it picks up after Harmon was ousted from his own show in 2012.. Oh, and also some prank calls that target Chase. Also those. Take a look:

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Community

  Granting the wishes of millions of fans who still believed in the power of the “six seasons and a movie” mantra, Community is indeed getting a sixth season (the movie is still, of course, a dream), though not in the way most viewers were probably expecting. When NBC canceled the series in May, outraged fans demanded answers, which came in increasingly more positive waves, thanks to the news that a number of on-demand services (from Hulu to Netflix) could pick up the series. And although neither of those names (or even Amazon and Crackle, which were also suggested) took the tantalizing TV bait, someone else did. According to an official press release and the gleeful howls of Human Beings everywhere, Yahoo! Screen will now revive the beloved television series (which, based on this news, is still a former television series, it’s all online now, baby!), news that probably requires the question: wait, what’s Yahoo! Screen?

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Harmontown

Dan Harmon is a contradiction. He is happy and sad, loving and cruel, appreciative and narcissistic – but above all, he is bitingly honest. This trait is what makes him a great writer and a compelling documentary subject. After getting fired from Community (the show he created), Harmon began the podcast, “Harmontown,” which became his form of therapy in the wake of this latest rejection. Hamontown follows Harmon, along with his co-host Jeff B. Davis, Dungeon Master Spencer Crittenden and his girlfriend Erin McGathy, as they take “Harmontown” on the road. Harmon is also faced with writing two new pilots, one for CBS and one for FOX, which become “homework” he is constantly working on (or not working on) while on the road. Director Neil Berkeley asks Harmon at the beginning of Harmontown what he learned while on tour and the rest of the documentary works to try and answer this question. Berkeley allows Harmon to interact with the camera and even gives Harmon his own camera, but this choice is when the film falters because Harmontown is best when documenting Harmon, not putting him directly in the driver’s seat. Harmon is known for being boisterous, which has been known to get him into trouble (a fact confirmed by many of his friends and former co-workers), but it is during his more reflective moments that Berkeley is able to capture that reveal what a tortured soul Harmon is. And the true problem is he is brutally aware of this fact.

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Community Finale

When Community first strolled onto television, there was only a hint of the kind of show it would ultimately become. There was a smooth-talking ex-lawyer trying hard to romance a woman who looked like Elisabeth Shue, a ragtag bunch of people who argued like they were on a sitcom, and in any other show, Abed’s insistence of injecting pop culture ephemera and contextualization would have melted into general Wacky Neighbor behavior. But it didn’t melt, and Abed eventually became the watchword for the show. Throughout the first season, he was indulged in all sorts of movie and TV tropes, but there were also many standard sitcom signposts along the way. Read any of the first season’s episode descriptions, and it could be talking about almost any recent comedy, but then “Modern Warfare” introduced us to how Greendale plays paintball. It was the kind of television moment that was difficult to understand. The promise of a show revealing itself by planting a massive freak flag in the middle of our foreheads. A rare episode that simultaneously made us excited for a second season and terrified that any minute NBC would realize they’d accidentally put something innovative on the air and call to correct their mistake. The second season gave us a stop-motion Christmas, Abed channeling Andre Gregory and a Western send up with more paintballs. The third season pushed further with a bigger adventure arc as Chang grew into his natural role as insane supervillain, but midway through, Community became two shows. We’ll call them Community and The Dan […]

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Community at Comic-Con

Dan Harmon is back. That’s the overwhelming sentiment of the Community panel at Comic-Con. There is plenty more that was worth watching, including just about every moment of Jim Rash’s existence. The full panel has now made its way online. You too can watch the likes of Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong and Mr. Harmon himself talk about their plans for the upcoming fifth season of the show. 

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Dan Harmon at Comic-Con

A long time ago, there used to be a show on television called Community, and everyone loved it because it was stirringly funny, used the language of culture in order to explore the dimensions of humanity, and because Alison Brie had the whole sexy innocence thing down to a science. Or an art. Or some kind of art-based science. Some claim the show will eventually return, but even if it does, it will do so without creator Dan Harmon. Fortunately for all of us, he’s been touring the country with his friends, trying to find people willing to become citizens of “Harmontown.” He’s bringing that show (along with Marc Maron, Duncan Trussell and Bobcat Goldthwait) back home to Los Angeles, and now you can win a pair of tickets to their Homecoming program at the Egyptian Theater this Monday (2/4). We’ll even personally  introduce you to Harmon and his special guests. So how do you enter the contest?

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The Hobbit at Comic-Con

What is Movie News After Dark? Most nights, it’s an innocent bystander in the world of film and television. Reporting the news from around the industry. Tonight, it gets sucked into Comic-Con mayhem. Who knows, by tomorrow it may be wearing a mask… We begin this evening with a shot of Hobbit trolls from the Comic-Con floor, as tweeted by the folks @Dolby. As preview night kicks off in San Diego, we’d like to wish all of our readers traveling toward Comic-Con safe travels and the best of luck. You’ll be needing it, as we’ve set both Brian Salisbury and Robert Fure loose on the city.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that happens nightly, bringing you news from the world of film, television and pop culture. Mostly film. Thus, the name. We begin tonight with a shot of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad? Quick show of hands: who among you is not excited about this movie? Those with their hands in the air can kindly leave the room, while the rest of us do more news.

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Channel Guide - Large

When you were a kid, your parents kept certain difficult realities from you for your own good. Maybe they didn’t want you to know that they were having financial or marital problems. Or, it could have been that they didn’t think you were ready to know how sex worked or that you weren’t particularly cute. Whatever it was, they shielded you from it so you could enjoy your childhood. If TV networks, showrunners, and actors felt that same sense of parental responsibility toward their audiences, at least 10% of the anxiety in TV-watching life would be eliminated. If you’re a Community fan, then you undoubtedly know about this weird quasi/maybe-not-so-quasi feud between series creator Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase. If you aren’t a fan and don’t know what the hell I’m referring to (a) consider yourself lucky, (b) it’s about leaked voicemails and on-set behavior that suggest the two aren’t the chummiest of chums, and (c) the actual reasons behind the beef don’t matter as much as the fact that the beef is public knowledge now. And that hurts the show.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news and editorial links that will certainly be living long and prospering. Both because it is what our super hip Commander-in-Chief commands of us and because of you, the faithful reader. We begin this evening with a shot of President Obama and Star Trek‘s Nichelle Nichols in the Oval Office, giving up  the “live long and prosper”  salute that originated in the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series’ second season. The two racial barrier-breakers met recently, with the photo following from Ms. Nichols’ Twitter feed. It’s room for hope, you know, that the Star Trek future will eventually come true. Also, Obama’s a nerd.

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There is little additional commentary that one writer can add to such a headline. It’s simple: that show you and everyone you know loves so dearly, NBC’s redheaded stepchild from the twisted, unendingly nerdy mind of Executive Producer Dan Harmon, is coming back to finish its current season and march toward its goal of six seasons and a movie. Except for that last part. At least that’s the news thus far. The story stands, however, that Community is coming back. The news was broken this afternoon via a Dan Harmon tweet, confirming that the show will return to NBC on March 15, in the 8 p.m. ET time slot that it had once inhabited before being forced into an untimely break, one that brought the wrath of the internet to the email inboxes of many a NBC exec. HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall later got more specific, outlining the details of the show’s return. Parks and Recreation will take a five-week break, leaving room for the Greendale clan to come in and finish its season. Nothing has been said about the prospect of a fourth season for Community, though there’s obviously still a fighting chance. Which means that you’re going to have to tune in. Especially those of you who live in a Nielsen household. If not, perhaps you should kidnap a Nielsen household, but on Thursday nights.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

When NBC revealed its mid-season line-up last week, the Internet reacted almost instantly, with a violent fervor befitting of Arrested Development’s cancellation. Not because the travesty that is Whitney was able to score a full-season and not because Maria Bello’s stateside adaptation of Prime Suspect got temporarily shelved. Nope, the hums and haws exuded from the Internet glitterati were in objection of another shuffle – the benching of Dan Harmon’s ensemble cult comedy Community. The show, which follows a group of misfit community college students (a jilted-then-reunited housewife, a not-so-lovable curmudgeon, a handsome lawyer forced to make good, a wannabe activist with uncertain intentions, a former footballer, a meta filmmaker, and an anal-retentive honor student with anxiety issues) began on somewhat unsteady footing. Reeking potential, the jokes were a bit hit-or-miss at first, making Community a slow burn, a la its NBC cohort Parks and Recreation. Yet over time, Community found its stride – at its absolute best when able to cultivate its own brand of cultdom. With the paintball episode, the study group formed its own meta clique; a way to weave pop culture references so strong that Abed wasn’t the only one drinking the Kool-Aid. Very few episodes have the cast (or creative moxie) to pull off a holiday Claymation episode that reeked of charm, let alone that was actually funny. Don’t get me started on the Pulp Fiction-meets-My Dinner with Andre homage last season – a lesson in television nerdery that not only paid respect to one […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but it will if it doesn’t get exactly what it wants. All it wants, however, is to bring you the news every weeknight and to consume a few cheeseburgers here and there. Nothing much, just links and beef and cheddar. Mmm… cheddar. “Sure, we said that we weren’t going to do any more parody trailers. But we didn’t say anything about parody posters!” Oh Disney, you scoundrels. We begin tonight with a shot of WereRowlf, a character from The Muppet Saga, a parody play from Disney’s The Muppets that came in a package of three posters. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be completely stupid. But it’s the Muppets, so I can’t help but giggle.

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Why Watch? Because all week long we’ll be featuring short films featuring the gang from Community. Today’s comes from the show’s creator Dan Harmon. Since we featured an Oscar nominee yesterday, this should show the…range…of the column. Harmon’s short (which is totally, legitimately listed on IMDB) is immature, slightly insane, and it creates the kind of laughter that you feel embarrassed by. The kind of humor that makes you immediately need to read a religious text in the shower. When Dan (the character, played by Dan Harmon) eats a burrito from a malfunctioning microwave, he gains the power to shoot lasers out of his anus. With a rapist murderer stalking the city, how will Dan put his new powers to good use? Maybe by trying to kill the rapist murderer? Maybe! From humble beginnings, the man who brought us Community. What Will It Cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out Laser Fart for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? First of all, POP POP! And now a few words about this column: it’s about movie news, but sometimes it serves as its author’s treasure trove of addictions. Such as his addiction to hanging on the words of Dan Harmon, or his need to regale you with his ability to find the best content on other websites. It’s a unique talent, he’s told. And now, something completely different… This week saw the season finale of Community. I will miss it until it comes back. For now, I would urge you to read this fantastic interview with creator Dan Harmon published by Vulture. There’s a reason the show is so delightfully nerdy, and it might just be the man in charge.

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