The biggest news in the TV world this week is probably, I don’t know, the winner of American Idol or something. However, the biggest news about TV shows that are actually good would probably be the continuing fall out over the firing of Community‘s creator and showrunner Dan Harmon. Just days after NBC renewed the cultishly beloved series for a fourth season, the production studio, Sony Pictures Television, announced that Harmon, who many view as the show’s heart and soul, was being announced. On his Tumblr, Harmon told fans that he had never even been contacted by the studio. Everyone is wondering why Sony made such a heartless and creatively foolish decision and, if a internal memo leaked last night proves anything, we’ll probably never know.
Harmon has been one of the most prominent of a new generation of highly visible television auteurs, following in the footsteps of folks like Aaron Sorkin (who was also booted from one of the shows he created). While his show didn’t do huge numbers, the people who liked it, really liked it and were steadfast defenders of both the series and its main creative voice. So why would a studio work hard to get a show renewed and then do something that would infuriate the small group that actually watches it? These are all questions that are going to be asked in interviews with all of the cast and crew and apparently Sony is prepared for that.
They sent out a talking points memo to the cast. Unfortunately for Sony, someone close to the show leaked it to The Hollywood Reporter and it is…awful:
“With last night’s news of David Guarascio and Moses Port as new showrunners/EPs on ‘Community’ running in the press, and since we know that cast members have interviews coming up this week, I wanted to forward some messaging we hope our cast will find helpful as they navigate questions that will undoubtedly come up. I know that David and Moses are reaching out to them all directly but I’ve also heard from some of the actors that they’d like some guidance on the topic.
Why did Dan get let go from the show?
We’re not made aware of why staffing changes take place but I will always be grateful to Dan for his great work on the show and wish him only the best. We’re also excited that we’ll be back on NBC’s schedule in the fall and are looking forward to working on those episodes.
Were you aware that Dan was going to be let go?
No, that’s not something we’re consulted on. I’m sad to see him go but I am looking forward to starting our next 13 episodes of ‘Community.'”
It goes on like that.
Now, a memo like this isn’t in anyway unusual in circumstances like this. However, these answers are truly pathetic. It seems ridiculous that the suits who wrote this up consider any fan or member of the press stupid enough to believe these answers would realistically come from the head of, say, Joel McHale. Just like the firing itself, it just leaves you wondering, “What were they thinking?”
However, fans should see one silver lining. Many of us were worried that no one except Dan Harmon and his team (who have mostly all quit in solidarity) would be able to write dialogue for Abed, the gloriously weird character played by Danny Pudi. However, these answers make it clear that at least one person over there knows how to write dialogue demonstrating a complete inability to understand human emotion.
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