WIRED- How Dan Harmon Drives Himself Crazy Making Community
"Harmon doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you’d find running a $45 million-a-year network sitcom. He spent much of the past decade working on the web, turning out low-budget, artfully goofy Internet videos with titles like Computerman and Laser Fart. But at their core, even his most asinine web shorts were subtly bound by the same laws that apply to TV comedies, which demand relatable characters, cohesive story lines, and third-act life lessons. In fact, Community feels kind of like a secret handshake—or maybe a loving noogiefest—between two worlds: the nimble, anarchic aesthetic of cheapo online comedy and the comforting structure of a mainstream sitcom. It’s a risky mix, but ‘Dan’s like a cat burglar breaking into an art museum,’ says his leading man, McHale. “He can dance around those lasers and make it look easy.
Fittingly for a show with so much Internet-friendly comedy—pop-culture allusions, sight-gag Easter eggs, and hyperaware self-commentary—Community has attracted a spazzily enthusiastic online following. After every episode, the web is besieged with tributes and exegeses in the form of recaps, animated GIFs, and arcana-packed Tumblr pages. (One site ran a 1,300-word oral history on a character named Magnitude, whose total screen time amounts to less than 10 minutes.) By network standards, Community’s ratings are modest, but its desirable demographics—young, educated, and somehow still able to buy stuff—were enough to get the show a third season. When judged by the metrics of fandom, however, the series is a monster. It has made Harmon part of a new breed of celebrity show runners who are almost as famous as the programs they create.”
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