Reminds Me of – uh-oh – Me

by Larry Brody

‘Community’ Creator Dan Harmon on His Ouster: ‘Maybe I am Just a Jerk’ 
by Philiana Ng

Community creator Dan Harmon appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show and the interview wouldn’t be complete without addressing his ouster from the NBC comedy.

In his self-deprecating manner, Harmon kicked off the chat with Marc Maron by joking about his abrupt exit: “I felt like I have created enough, three years, you take it from here. Sony and NBC said, ‘Please don’t go.’ And I said, ‘Really, I have to go home, I have to do a lot of renovation on my house.’ ”

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When you click above you’ll find a lot more yada yada that reads straight out of the “Time to act contrite so I can get a new job” manual. And, no, that’s not the part that reminds me of me because I was never smart enough to go that route. This, which Harmon says a little later, is: “To people who work above me, I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit….”

Back in the day, I worked very hard to make myself exactly that kind of liability because I felt obligated to express my outrage and individuality by stridently refusing to toe the line. Times were different then, and the suits bought into the idea that creative people were, by their very nature, rebels. For a couple of decades, it worked. I produced some shows where I quit over some kind of executive interference literally every week…and was rewarded for that by being begged to stay on and given improvements in my deal. I also produced some shows where I was unceremoniously fired…but was immediately hired by another studio/network/series because, “Sure, he’s difficult to deal with. Because he’s good.”

By the late ’80s, however, corporate media consolidation was well underway, and alienating one CEO meant not being able to work in one Acme Mess O’ Other Places. Rebels were, in effect, ruthlessly exterminated.

Bottom line: As far as I’m concerned, the real way Dan Harmon went wrong was in playing the wrong game on the wrong field at the wrong time. I’m pleased to see him pursuing what should be a more successful strategy. The Industry needs his unique creative perspective. More importantly, so does the audience.

Good luck, Dan. Kick butt! (But sneakily, so the intolerant, greedy bastards don’t know.)

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

2 thoughts on “Reminds Me of – uh-oh – Me”

  1. Larry, didn’t want to comment…yet find myself unable not to. When you were staff did you really feel you were in the midst of a playing field, and that to survive you had to play the game? And win. To my knowledge it was never that way with Quinn Martin. Of course, he only had 3 or maybe 4 shows at one time. He always told me “QM” was like family. And in many ways it was. An old fashioned one. My stint at Universal, however, brought me down to reality. I believe I did something for Aaron. Not sure. And a couple of more production companies. You have opened up a tunnel to my past. I’d go back in…but what if I can’t find the way out? gs

  2. Hate to admit this about myself, but it wasn’t the environment, it was me. During that era the “game” I was playing was writing/producing episodes I could be proud of. I “won” if the script, and then, the production, came out my way.

    At the time, I told myself it was all for the audience, that if I won, so did the viewers. But, probably, that was just my competitive self lying to the rest of me.

    Sometimes it’s better to be older, and I think this is one of those times.

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