Shortly after his return to Community was made officially official, Dan Harmon said that part of his prep for returning to work would be to finally watch the fourth season—first making the prospect sound like an exercise in morbid curiosity and/or self-torture, before more diplomatically promising not to “be a jerk about it” to the writers he’d once worked so closely with. “The worst thing I can do is fart in their direction at all,” Harmon said in his cautiously optimistic youth of 10 days ago—a hopefulness that was slowly eroded, as it was for so many, over the course of 13 episodes, judging by the assessment he gave on this week’s Harmontown podcast:
“I watched season four. I guess I already knew this, but apparently, I’m quite a genius … I think I feel pretty comfortable expressing any kind of 'Eh, not my cup of tea' about it because — this has been expressed a thousand times over — it's obviously not somebody doing what they do and trying very hard to make people happy. It is very much like an impression, and an unflattering one. It’s just 13 episodes of 'Oh, I’m Dan Harmon! Derpy, derpy, durr! Die Hard! Durrrrr!' I feel like I'm going back to work tomorrow morning, and I just feel like, 'Do I talk like that?'…. Man, watching those characters without me there is just not fuckin' cool, man. It's like flipping through Instagrams and watching your girlfriend just blow a million [other guys]”
As for the two main guys his girlfriend spent the season blowing, replacement showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, Harmon acknowledged that “they tried their best” to respond to the demands of Community’s incredibly intense fan base—even if that was probably their downfall:
[They] went to Comic-Con, saw what was going on. People dressed as spacemen and bananas and shit; people going, 'Holy shit, I cut myself every night and watch Community.' And they went, 'Fuck' and I think they tried their best and I think that was the best idea — not the best idea, as it turns out, but the most admirable kind of impulse. It's like, 'Let's not let these people down. If there's anything else we do, let's not let these people down' …
Harmon also expressed his disappointment with the casting of James Brolin as Jeff Winger’s dad, dashing his long-harbored dream of getting Bill Murray. It's a dream he so refuses to give up on, Harmon says he even left a voicemail for Murray after watching that episode, in what he sarcastically terms “a healthy exercise.”
Still being sarcastic, if engaging in a far less healthy exercise, Harmon then added, “There's something awesome about having all of those preconceived notions ripped away from you. It's exciting. There's something exciting about being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach. It's liberating. It makes you focus on what's important.” Like rescuing your family, then getting their rapists to hire you back, we guess? Probably best to not explore this whole “rape” analogy too much. Suffice it to say, however, this isn't going on the DVD.