After five tumultuous seasons, Community was finally given the axe last Friday. After surviving disastrously low ratings, two major stars leaving, and its creator getting fired and then re-hired, the show was finally put to rest. It was a great run and fans were “outraged” (more on this in a second) that NBC would cancel the series, peppering Twitter with the now infamous #SixSeasonsAndaMovie hashtag and even threatening to boycott the network in some instances. The darkest timeline had finally arrived and it was an ugly day for avid fans and passive viewers of the show alike.
Like clockwork, talk regarding the show being picked by and continued on by another network was instantaneous. Could Netflix “save” the series, a la Arrested Development? What about Hulu or Netflix? Could it land on TBS, like Cougar Town did? Now recently rehired show-runner Dan Harmon is weighing in on the possibility of a sixth season and his words may shock the show’s rabid fan-base.
Harmon seems to be cycling through the various natural stages of mourning. During an edition of his Harmontown podcast, taped at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival the day after the show was axed, he said:
“We all know what happened yesterday, we all got drunk. I was in a place of grief. It’ll take weeks to sink in.”
Today Deadline weighed in, telling us that one company is indeed very interested in bringing the show back to life, yet Harmon seems reluctant to revive it. Specifically, the site said it has heard rumors that Harmon:
“…is ready to move on to other things, prepping Season 2 of his Adult Swim animated comedy Rick & Morty and figuring out his next project.”
Now Harmon himself has addressed the issue, via a post on his tumblr “Dan Harmon Poops”. Amidst the rambling, this is definitely the highlight:
“I will confess, however, that when Sony called me on Friday with the news, there was brief discussion at the end of the call about the concept of the show living elsewhere, and I was definitely in the ‘eh’ column. For a million reasons, some selfish, some creative, one logistic, five sexual, three racist (in a good way) and, oddly, nine isometric. I won’t bore you with them. I mean, of course I will bore you with them. Boring you is my job, my hobby and my passion. But it doesn’t matter right now WHY I’d be lukewarm or if my reasons would be valid, what matters is, I won’t be lukewarm. I’ll heat up. I said “eh” on a Friday afternoon, I will change it to a “sure, let’s talk” on Monday morning and Sony can do their thing. I’m not going to be the guy that recancels cancelled Community.”
It’s easy to understand why Harmon is “lukewarm”. His experience on the show, while certainly satisfying in terms of the end result, has been something of a roller-coaster. The public battles with Chevy Chase, Sony firing him and then butchering Season Four (only to bring him back for Season Five, sans Chase and Donald Glover), the constant worrying over the show’s poor ratings and whether it would lead to cancellation; it all seemed like a major stress-inducing nightmare. Now that he’s got a new series kicking critics’ asses, maybe he recognizes that, no matter how rough the ride, he actually won in the end. Community bested the odds that would’ve led to most shows folding early and the fact that it remained steadfastly solid throughout the entirety of this turbulent journey is rather miraculous.
On a personal note — I have to say that I found some of the fan ‘outrage’ quite gross last Friday. While I understand the knee-jerk need to get angry with a major network canceling your favorite TV show (I still have never gotten my wrap-up Deadwood movie), the sense of entitlement that ran though much of the fans’ outpouring was somewhat shocking. Some seemed either too dense or too petulant to undertsand that this was a business decision and that they’d been treated quite well by a network who, were they operating solely in a “dollars and cents” mode, probably could’ve (and should’ve) kicked Community to the curb long ago. Yet NBC listened to the vocal, cultish base and rewarded the fans’ persistence. After being granted five seasons that the show arguably didn’t earn, ratings-wise, the stamping of proverbial feet felt like a spoiled child on Christmas, mad that their daddy didn’t get them a pony AND a new Ferrari. It was the ugly side of fanboyish behavior, in which rationality was replaced by blinding, juvenile rage.