Dan Harmon Basically Apologies to All of Humanity with the Flippant, Self-Absorbed Sincerity We Know and Love
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Dan Harmon Basically Apologizes to All of Humanity with the Flippant, Self-Absorbed Sincerity We Know and Love

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 18, 2013 | Comments ()


When you're dealing with a guy like Dan Harmon, you have to remember that genius doesn't come without consequence: He's neurotic and wildly insecure, and that insecurity is rooted in his own narcism, so there's a lot of conflicting psychoses. Consequently, after watching season four of "Community," Harmon took to his Harmontown podcast on Sunday night, and shat all the season, with lots of mean-spirited and colorful language. Granted, he didn't say anything that many of us have not said ourselves about season four, but he's Dan Harmon, and many, many of the people who worked on season four also worked on seasons one through three with Harmon, and will work with Harmon on season five.


Anyway, he took to his tumblr and, honestly, he did a great job of apologizing, although he should be good at it by now, since it's something of a habit. Dan Harmon is a beautiful, self-destructive disaster, and I'm absolutely certain that this won't be the last time he has to apologize for something.

Anyway, you should read the whole thing because he basically covered it all, apologizing to "Community" fans who stuck with the show without him, and the "Community" staff and writers, who continued to work on the show in his absence because they have families to feed and mortgages to pay. He even addressed the inappropriateness of analogizing the viewing experience with rape, and apologized for offending the disabled.

I'll block quote the apology to the writers, because that's the best part, if only because he does admit there were some things he liked in season four, and because I'm sure that no one was more hurt by Harmon's words than THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR HIM.

Thirdly, because they got paid more, but still not enough, the season 4 writers. I'm sorry I pooped on your work. You had to do something nobody should have to attempt, and you had the option of doing it the lazy way or the sellout way and you clearly did what you did because you were thinking of the fans. There was some amazing stuff in there. Funny jokes. I liked the "Hogan's Villains" line. The idea that in Germany, people watch Hogan's Heroes, but they call it Hogan's Villains, is seriously so funny I had to rewind it a couple times to finish laughing. I will apologize to the Germans later. Season 4 writers: Thank you and I'm sorry. As I went on to say in my podcast, the creatives are not the bad guys...I shouldn't be letting an inhuman system that doesn't care about humans enough turn humans against humans. Especially us. Don't tell anyone I said this but all writers are better people than all non-writers. Nobody read that unless you're a writer. I broke a code when I judged the work of writers with whom I wasn't in the same trenches. I'll suffer for it because I'll be looking for a job soon enough and nobody will want to work with Judgy McPsycho Van Crieswhenhetypes. So I hope my ten seconds of, as the kids say, "butthurt" comedy was worth it to me, and I'll see you in Hell, where, don't tell anybody I said this but is where I believe all writers go because we make God jealous.

He really is good at mixing flippancy, sincerity, narcissism, and self deprecation into one big old bundle of sorry.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jezzer

    I'm sure he was completely and utterly sincere in his apology and learned valuable life lessons and won't turn around and do the exact same thing a month or so down the road.

  • General Bluth

    I really think it's important to read what Erin McGathy (Dan's girlfriend) wrote about this situation. Obviously, she's on his side, but she's not exactly a friend of rape jokes. And she makes a good point about misconstruing the quotes (something Dustin usually doesn't do, but his first post read like he didn't even listen to the podcast in its entirety).


  • cruzzercruz

    He was right about everything he initially said, but it's his job to apologize. The man is brilliant and had his brilliance rewarded with the desecration of his work. He was justified and wasn't nearly as bad as the dozens upon dozens of people in his industry who say obscene things all the time, often completely unprovoked, and get away with it.

    More people on the creative end should be as candid as Harmon. Maybe we'd begin to see them cut through the bullshit more often rather than playing nice in an industry that's actively against the talent it requires, then suppresses.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Good to know you can be a massive prick and think you are gods gift to television writing while shitting on other peoples work, and then say oh shit sorry when people are pissed at you.

    And people line up to see how much of your genitals they can get in their mouth at once.

  • Steve

    Person speaks honestly. Public demands apology. Apology is made. Honesty is stuck back in its dark corner. Rinse. Repeat. Fuck everything.

    On the plus side, Harmon does both the ranting honesty and honest apology better than almost anyone.

  • JJ

    No, you're not wrong, Walter Dan Harmon. You're just an asshole.

    However impossible it may seem, one can speak honestly and also reasonably and be received differently than speaking honestly with two middle fingers in the air directed at the people who helped along the way (Sony not included).

  • Yossarian

    Uh, this is the tl;dr for my rambling bullshit.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    First, I'm not a Community watcher, so much of the love/hate goes over my head. But I did read Harmon's apology, and this line really stuck out as being true for many many people, and sometimes for me as well:

    I often say that I write in an attempt to “make people like me.” I’m realizing what makes me unlikable is that I haven’t made the leap from “caring what people think about me” to “caring about people.”

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I'm still waiting for that apology.

  • Ok, completely off-topic, but is that a Pathfinder goblin I see before me?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It is. Isn't he adorable?

  • Freakin' Awesome! I just started running Rise of the Runelords for some friends. The little anklebiters are fun as Hell!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Heh! I also just started an AP for my group - Council of Thieves. Lots of sewer goblins there, too. Do you use the Anniversary edition?

  • I was going to go with the original version (cheap PDF versions) to keep costs down, but I found a Barnes & Noble gift card I had forgotten about, so I was able to get the Anniversary Ed. book. (score!)
    I'm trying to run it gridless and making my own 2.5-D sets/tiles a la GM Scotty (see youtube). So far the group seems to be pleased. This is my first try at GM-ing, so I'm fighting the learning curve. Having fun still, so it's worth it!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Since you are a first-timer, it's probably better that you got the updated version. The originals use the D&D 3.5 ruleset. It is kind of compatible, but you'd have to at least adapt some of the content. Since you have to modify some things anyway (at least I do), it will save you time and work.

    You know that Paizo has sub-forums on their messageboards dedicated to each AP?

  • John W

    I love Community. But Dan Harmon is a total asshole and a dick.

    There's no amount of talent that excuses the kind of shit that guy pulls.

  • Ian Fay

    If I stop following the artistic works of everyone I disliked personally, I'd have very little to listen to, read, or watch.

    This may be due to me being a misanthrope, however.

  • Wembley

    Life's too short to go around forgiving people. Cut them out of your life and move on.

  • ferryman

    Scrape 'em off Claire.

  • Ian Fay

    Also, his podcast is really good, you guys. I never thought listening to people play D&D on a podcast would be entertaining or funny, but it's pretty great.

  • IngridToday

    I think can all assume that after all the Dan Harmon/Chevy Chase shenanigans, Harmon's general dickery, that after going on a rant about how absolutely horrible the last season was, **all** the writers hate him.

    I love Community, but, I wasn't a fan of Abed's increasingly becoming a bitchy child everyone needed to tip-toe around (I hated the episode where him and Annie imaged the hospital) and Chang becoming taking over the college was too ridiculous and cartoonish.
    Dan Harmon has one thing become a fan favorite out of literally everything's he's done and in the span of a few years he become an arrogant dick.
    I'm pretty sure Community will be the highlight of his career.

  • Erin S

    You had me at "Judgy McPsycho Van Crieswhenhetypes."

  • Yossarian

    I tried to tell you guys

  • Tinkerville

    Except that all of the original points from that post still stand. They aren't suddenly null and void because Harmon is realizing he fucked up.

  • Batesian

    Based on what I parsed from your comments, you were making a different point than this.

    Anyway, I had no issue with Harmon having an issue with season 4. My gripe was: it would've been nice if he'd been more level-headed to begin with.

    As his apology showed, he can temper criticism with empathy (and humor). So, Harmon: strive for that, instead of taking everyone on a bipolar, finger-pointing, teeth-gnashing, foam-frothing roller-coaster ride.*

    *Which, if it was an actual ride, would likely be loads of fun, I admit.

  • Yossarian

    My point was that he while he can be a caustic, insensitive asshole sometimes he is still worth admiring and rooting for. That ultimately he appreciates his fans, he loves his show, and he cares about his employees. That the self aggrandizement and frequently saying the wrong thing in public comes from a warped sense of obligation to authenticity and to creating things that are as pure and perfect as they can be and whenever something obstructs the translation of his vision to output he reacts & attacks it with any tool at his disposal. I think he said what he did because he felt that he "owed" his Harmontown audience an unvarnished reaction to Season 4, and he wasn't going to lie or obfuscate or avoid the question.

    Because nothing in this apology is new. And as he mentioned several times in that note he isn't changing at this point, he is who he is. The only thing the apology did was provide context and demonstrate to those of you who were unaware that he is capable of contrition and restraint and self reflection. But if you read the archives of that Tumblr you'd see the same type of thing because this is absolutely nothing new. (http://www.pajiba.com/trade_ne...

    So if your opinion of Dan Harmon has changed dramatically back and forth over the last 24 hours and you've gone from hoping he fails and never works in this town again to hoping he gets it together and pulls off a good season 5 then I don't think you ever had a very well founded basis for opining in the first place. And it's ok to not know stuff but it's nice to know you don't know everything and maybe not be in such a rush to spout off your every emotive reaction to every entertainment news story if all you are contributing is noise.

    And if your opinion is that the apology is good but it's just never ok to be that mean I would ask: why? Why is it better to only be an asshole in private? Why so much condemnation for someone who puts all the complicated feelings out there in the open? Who shows you the anger and frustration and also the apology and amends? Don't you people see that this is so much better, inherently better, than being a shitty person in private?

    Because that's the alternative. You don't make great art without being an asshole and being willing to fight for it. Dan Harmon is willing to put it all out in the open for you. That's really remarkable. Instead of just complaining about it I hoped to make some people appreciate it.

  • Batesian

    Hmm. Looks like you've missed my point again. To be clear, my opinion of Harmon hasn't changed since yesterday, nor since last month or last year. I respect his ability, and am a fan of Community (and Monster House, and Heat Vision and Jack, and even
    way back to the early days of Scud -- and, yes, by extension, I'm also a fan of Rob Schrab).

    I'll let other people respond to their points you take issue with, but I will say this: I don't think any one of us claimed that Harmon should be "a shitty person in private" and keep his mouth shut in public.

    Boiling it down: I disagree that, to be a "great artist," one must and can only be an 100% unfiltered asshole. Life is not a binary system. You can be diplomatic yet blunt; you can hold people accountable while still upholding your personal ethics and your creative vision.

  • Yossarian

    Sorry, I tend to ramble and be too broad. The 'changed mind' comments weren't about you personally. Most of my comments are using the 'reply' feature as a jumping off point to a tangentially related argument. Your comments were pretty fair, actually.

    As for the rest of it, I'm not saying people should be allowed to be total assholes all the time if they make stuff we like. I'm saying that people are complicated and some of the time they are going to be petty assholes. And I think there is a better, more nuanced way to react to those instances when they happen, where we consider the whole person, the whole context, and the human complexity. Especially when it's someone I happen to like and there is a lot of context readily available.

    And my problem is with people who jump online and say things like "Good to know you can be a massive prick and think you are gods gift to television writing while shitting on other peoples work, and then say oh shit sorry when people are pissed at you. And people line up to see how much of your genitals they can get in their mouth at once."

    Because that person is also being a giant asshole and shitting on other people. But they aren't famous, and they haven't earned any positive karma making beloved works of art, and we don't really have access to broader context to help understand them, and they probably won't ever feel compelled to own up to or apologize for anything because it's just internet posturing. And in my opinion that is actually much worse. I think there is benefit in trying to understand and forgive Dan Harmon's comments. I think there is little of value in the impotent outrage espoused by many in response to yesterday's news.

  • Batesian

    Oh, mos def. Thanks for clarifying. Along those lines, I've long thought it'd do everyone -- whether celeb or plebe, talking head or politician, cat or dog -- good if we actually tried to understand where someone else is coming from before going full-bore vitriol out the gate.

  • vic

    I have a feeling from his apology that Mr. Harmon wouldn't really agree with you. He is likely to do this again, yes, but he seems pretty contrite about angering a lot of people. Talented he may be, but if anything, this shows he isn't an inflexible genius we have to categorically respect if we even slightly like "Community." And in this apology, he's trying to be a lot more aware of that. Whether or not he succeeds, well...

  • NateMan

    Now that's a respectable apology. Good job, Harmon. Because you acted like a decent human being and apologized for being a douchebag, I also rescind my desire to see you flame out into a spectacular failure. I know you were waiting desperately for my approval, so you're welcome. Just maybe try a little harder in the future not to be such an unmitigated ass that you need to spend an hour writing the perfect apology for it, ya?

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