Dan Harmon, Charlie Sheen: TV Men Behaving Badly

Dan Harmon, Charlie Sheen: TV Men

'Anger Management' star, 'Community' creator are wearing out their welcome, again

Dan Harmon should send Charlie Sheen a thank-you note.

Just when the “Community” creator was looking like the biggest ingrate working in primetime, Sheen roars back into the race for the win — if even half of what’s being reported about his role in axing Selma Blair from “Anger Management” is true.

The Blair affair seems to put the lie to all the talk of Sheen’s reformation after his spectacular exit from “Two and a Half Men” in 2011. The tiger blood appears to be boiling again, amid reports of persistent production delays on the Lionsgate TV sitcom because of Sheen’s erratic schedule. So much for the carefully crafted storyline that all Charlie really wants to do is work, and that “Anger Management’s” accelerated 90-episode back order from FX was just what the rehab doctor ordered.

Meanwhile, Harmon’s apology to fans this week for expressing his unvarnished thoughts on his “Harmontown” podcast about the Harmon-free season four of “Community” still rings  hollow. Even harder to swallow is the notion that Harmon didn’t “consider how my words might affect other people if viewed as headlines,” as he wrote in his apologetic blog post. Harmon has clearly worked those broadcast-your-every-utterance levers to stoke the cult of “Community,” and himself.

The antics of Sheen and Harmon stand in sharp contrast to the attitudes expressed last week when Variety gathered a gaggle of comedy and drama showrunners for a yakfest at the Writers Guild Theater. To a scribe, the participants expressed gratitude for the privilege of being on the air and respect for their viewers. Harmon, in the cold light of the reaction to his podcast rant, sheepishly acknowledged his debt to the aud, particularly the loyalists that stuck with “Community”  last season: “I owe you folks what I consider to be my life and guarantee you that every time I’ve pissed you off it’s been on accident,” he said.

The business question underlying all of this is why networks and studios enable such behavior, reprehensible in the case of Sheen, and doltish Harmon. The answer, of course, is commerce. But as Sheen found out, Warner Bros. had its limits for indefensible conduct, even with the money-making machine of “Two and a Half Men.” Harmon got bounced from his show a year ago amid highly charged reports of strife on the set, among other issues.

Both Sheen and Harmon got their second-chance shots by showbiz congloms (News Corp., Lionsgate, NBC, Sony) banking on them to make it worth their while. Sheen can be his own best publicist when he wants to be, and Harmon’s return is a good marketing hook for what is likely to be the show’s final 13 episodes, on NBC at least.

With ratings for “Anger Management” slumping and “Community’s” numbers consistently underwhelming (for all the chatter it provokes), Sheen and Harmon would be wise to not wear out their welcomes, or blow their second chances. Of course, TV’s enfants terrible could always do a podcast together.

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  1. Harmon’s comments pale in comparison to Sheen’s antics. Sheen was one of the highest paid actors on TV, and NOT worth it.

  2. Oliver says:

    Harmon did nothing wrong.

    His comments were pretty mild and taken out of context. Listen to the actual podcast. He said little more that he found it understandably painful to watch and that the writers were put in the difficult situation of trying to emulate his writing style, even though that’s not what they do, and big faceless corporations like to think people are replaceable interchangeable cogs in a machine when they aren’t.

    The only reason anybody had any issue with it is because journalists desperate for clicks disingenuously made articles saying “HARMON MAKES RAPE JOKE”. Modern journalism, folks!

    Harmon apologised to cut it off at the pass, not because he felt what he did was wrong. There is no value to not apologising. If you note, in the “apology”, he restates his original viewpoint in a slightly more tactful way and stands by his comments.

    • well put. I listened to that podcast the day it went up and can’t believe how out of context this has been taken. yeah, he wasn’t pleased with how his show was handled in his absence, and why should he have been? everything he said was true. It’s not that the writers sucked or anything, but they were tasked with having to fake Dan’s style and vision. The whole season of season 4 felt like it was trying to play the part of Community, instead of just moving forward/on with itself in its new situation. I’m glad Dan’s back, and have high hopes for season 5, even if it ends up being the last.

  3. RML says:

    Maybe Anger Management move up an hour to compete directly with Two and a Half Men, which was bumped to Thursdays as Two and a Half Men whores out Sheen’s ex-character to keep viewers. The net should make the move to head-to-dead to peel off any stragglers from Men.

  4. TJ says:

    If it’s true that some of the Community cast members lobbied hard for Harmon’s return, I’m sorry to say that his stink may begin to stick to them too.

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