Showrunner Dan Harmon debunks ‘Community’ theory

HarmonLate Friday, “Community” showrunner Dan Harmon published a blog post that explains how the editing challenges of the show’s most recent episode, “Remedial Chaos Theory,” caused it to be aired out of order, after an episode it had been filmed before. That switch had led the hardcore “Community” fan base (including myself) to draw some conclusions about the show’s direction that Harmon says were off target.

… At a certain point, with 303’s delivery deadline looming, I panicked.  I felt that the episode was nowhere near complete.  Chris McKenna had invested so much into the episode, and we were about to lock picture on something that was not delivering on this script that had nearly given him a stroke.  And an early director’s cut of Competitive Ecology came in, and I looked at it, and it was working great.  It was six hours from being broadcastable, and Chaos Theory needed an amount of TLC in the edit bay that I couldn’t even estimate.  I just knew we had to sit there and work on it.  A lot.

So I ordered the swap.  Not NBC.  I talked them into it. …

… One thing I did not consider was that fans starving for our weirdness were going to get back-to-back “normal episodes” with Chang-as-cop B stories, and that, in a season in which backlash is basically unavoidable, we were going to leap headlong into it, because everyone was going to start making decisions, as of the third episode, about how the season was going, etc. …

Harmon also makes some passing comments about AMC’s “The Killing” in emphasizing how he didn’t want to cause any misdirection for viewers.

… As much fun as we want to have, we never want to confuse you or lie to you.  We just don’t consider that a right that we have.  I hated that stupid “The Killing” show on AMC after the first five minutes; don’t show me someone discovering a body but then reveal that the camera was somewhere else and it was a pig.  That’s dumb.  That’s not storytelling, that’s a parlor trick and an abuse of power.  That kind of shit was cool in the third act of Silence of the Lambs, when she was ringing the doorbell and the SWAT team was ringing a doorbell and you suddenly realized that the SWAT team was at the wrong house and Starling wasn’t.  The “deception” in that moment was the POINT of that moment in Silence of the Lambs.  Starling had wandered from her flock, straight into the wolf’s den, and WE were the only ones that knew it.  That was a [very brief] lie the camera engaged in to EMPOWER the audience and make the story more riveting.  Wow.  What a tangent.  Anyway.

… Your praise of Remedial Chaos Theory has got me feeling really good.  I have some pretty interesting stuff I could show you when I get a chance.  There’s photos of the whiteboard in the room where McKenna was breaking this story.  And there’s a text message conversation from last season between me and Megan “Marie Claire” Ganz in which you can see the seed for Remedial Chaos Theory get planted and then sprout.  Well, it fascinates me, anyway.  What else do I have to be fascinated by. …

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