The Brightest Timeline: Dan Harmon Returning to Community

Slate's Culture Blog
June 3 2013 12:33 PM

The Brightest Timeline: Dan Harmon Returning to Community

140635616
Community creator/showrunner Dan Harmon

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Over the past year, Community has provided numerous off-screen surprises. First, its showrunner and creative center Dan Harmon was ousted from the show after internal conflict with NBC back in May of 2012. Then, the date Oct. 19 became a running joke for Community fans after the show’s Season 4 premiere was pushed back to February. Chevy Chase, a frequent source of tension on the set, left the show midway through filming. And after a less-than-stellar (and shortened) Harmon-less season with generally unimproved ratings, NBC raised eyebrows when it decided to renew the show for a fifth go-round.

As if all those twists and turns weren’t enough, this weekend brought the most unexpected development in the series’ rollercoaster history so far: Community will be Harmon-less no more, with the series’ creator returning as showrunner, along with former writer and executive producer Chris McKenna. Harmon himself confirmed the news on Twitter over the weekend, crediting one of the show’s stars, Joel McHale, as the reason for his return.

Advertisement

This is the biggest curveball yet for fans of the show—and likely the most joyous news they could hope for. Harmon’s apparent enthusiasm now is a far cry from his acrimonious departure—and while he may have had to swallow some of his pride to return to those who ousted him in the first place, it seems notable that NBC recognized how far off track the show became without him involved.

Now more questions arise. Will Chase return as well? Probably not: Harmon also tweeted a list of “deal breakers” for his deal with Sony Pictures Television, and named all of the main cast members except for Chase, with whom he has had a very contentious relationship. Will Community be able to reclaim its former glory? Even with Harmon back, will fans be willing to stick around for a fifth season?

The answers to those questions are, obviously, less certain. But whatever the results, we have a reason to look forward to more Community again. And even if we don’t get six seasons and a movie, at least there’s restored hope that the study group can go out on top.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.