After NBC canceled its acclaimed comedy Community after five seasons last week, on-again/off-again showrunner Dan Harmon grieved briefly with a reflective Tweet: “Twitter isn’t big enough to hold my condolences and more importantly, my gratitude to the best fans, cast and crew in TV history,” he wrote. Now Harmon’s expanded that message past 140 characters with an in-depth Tumblr post, confirming that he has mixed feelings about a possible Comunity revival.
“I will confess. . . 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,” Harmon writes. “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 an honest, self-deprecating (and often hilarious) rant worth reading in full, and it’s in keeping with Harmon’s typical style of being direct with his fans. Though, at first, he was reluctant to comment publicly on a possible sixth season – mostly because he wanted to avoid the usual clickbait gossip – he says he was inspired to comment on the matter after reading “tweets from some anxious-sounding fans.”
“I’m scared to tell you how little a difference I think my enthusiasm will make. I know fandom, when it gets this deep for this long, becomes almost religious, including the urge to stone the less than faithful,” he continues. “But there are lots of reasons a Community resurrection could be difficult. So be prepared for that.”
Harmon says most of his distaste for continuing the show comes from the “unsettling thought” of fans being exploited by a major coporation’s “rather unfair, somewhat backward system” of fan-generated show revival.
“Like a corporation is doing you a favor by feeding you low-grade opiate through a regulated tube,” he says. “Like you owe them an apology when they can’t measure or monetize you to their satisfaction. You deserve better. I love you guys, and at its best, Community is me saying that over and over again, saying, ‘Let’s get less mad at ourselves and each other and more mad at the inhuman systems that keep us down and divided.'”
For better or worse, Harmon says he “will not be standing in the way” of a potential revival. “I’m sorry to anyone that’s really taking this cancellation hard,” he says, noting fans should console themselves by watching episodes of Portlandia, Parks and Recreation, Mindy and other acclaimed comedies, while letting “TV be the needy clown that it’s still very overpaid to be.”
If this is the end of Community, Harmon feels fine about the legacy he’s left behind. “Ninety-seven episodes,” he writes in a sarcastic sign-off. “Over 80 pretty good ones. Mission accomplished.”