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Dan Harmon spent a tense afternoon with Thomas Middleditch’s Shakespeare

Sometimes, it’s best not to meet your idols. That’s the harsh lesson Community creator Dan Harmon learns (repeatedly) in a new episode of his short-form History series Great Minds that brings him face to bearded face with The Bard Of Avon himself, William Shakespeare, as brought prissily to life by Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch. Thanks to a time machine invented by his under-appreciated assistant, Harmon is able to spend a disastrous afternoon with the author of Hamlet. Knowingly or not, Harmon sets the tone with this immodest pronouncement: “Tonight, the greatest writer in the English language meets William Shakespeare on Great Minds.”

Things quickly go sour. Harmon eagerly screens the first season of Community for his guest, but Shakespeare just isn’t feeling it. In retaliation, Harmon drags the famed poet and playwright to a matinee of Dirty Grandpa, only to be horrified when Shakespeare raves about it. “You didn’t find it lazy?” Harmon asks. “Contrived? Boring? Stupid? The characters are one-dimensional joke mechanisms.” Shakespeare says no. “I particularly loved the horny woman,” he says. “I thought she was quite lascivious.” This meeting of the minds is already in a tailspin by the time Harmon and Shakespeare go to a bar and begin openly volleying insults at each other. The Bard gets the crowd on his side, but Harmon gets in a few zingers of his own, including this one: “Everything that you write that has sex with young people in it is technically kiddie porn because Juliet was 14!” All does not end well here, but Harmon seems relieved that it ends under any circumstances.


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