Dan Harmon will not be working on the fourth season of Community. As he recounts here, he heard the news through his cellphone at roughly the same time it became common knowledge. The people at NBC didn’t negotiate any of the terms of his new position as consulting editor, which Harmon believes him the authority to “sharpen pencils and stuff.” He wore the biggest pants in the Community writing room for three years and now his bosses have ripped the pants right off of him. I imagine it must hurt.
Harmon has complicated history with his “Community”. Now I don’t know the guy, but between him insulting Chevy Chase in front of his family and telling his composer the music has on occasion made him want to blow his brains out, his ability to work in a team setting might not be his strongest suit. Regardless of that, Community is his child. I don’t even think there’s as much of my parents in me as there is Dan Harmon in his show. From the evolution of Abed to his story embryo things, everything in the chemical make-up of Community comes straight from Harmon’s writer-sperm. Only thing is he isn’t the one who holds custody of it.
Scott Myers put it more eloquently than I can, but screenwriters sell their scripts before they get produced, especially in television. Harmon’s shit situation is something every creator signs up for when they get their show produced. They get the prestige and creative control, but they lose all parenting privileges. They don’t have the final say. Not in what their schedule will be like, not in the shows it hangs out/is placed with, not in whether it can survive cancellation or even to stay with it until it’s finished. Hollywood is a lot like real life. You often don’t outlive your children. And even if that means your baby is given to new parents, at least it’s not canceled.