Community creator Dan Harmon just gave a self-deprecating, literate and fun interview to G4′s Attack of the Show. The conversation (video below) covered his exit from his NBC comedy and his thoughts on television in general (including seemingly taking a couple shots at Community’s Thursday night time-period rival Big Bang Theory).
“If 20 people call you a horse’s ass, you buy a saddle,” Harmon told G4 interviewer Marc Maron. “I feel like I’m a good person and a professional, a very able leader of men. I also feel like I’m 25 … Maybe I am just a jerk. To people who work above me I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit. It’s a low-rated show that’s not generating much revenue.”
Harmon acknowledged that he started creatively “farting around” on Community, such in the much-loved paintball episode, once he started to believe the show was going to get cancelled by NBC. “In the third season you can see me start to go, ‘Never mind, just give me a good review in the Times.’” Harmon said NBC respected the idea of Community being a critical darling, but also noted the comedy was getting clobbered in the ratings — especially by CBS’ Big Bang Theory. “Why does the robot get to eat the people?” he joked about Big Bang‘s popularity.
Still, Harmon admitted he aspires to achieve mainstream success. “You’re supposed to make a hamburger that everyone wants in their mouth, that’s how you know you’re doing it well.”
Harmon goes on to discuss TV culture (“The masses need to be pacified, they deserve it”), Nielsen ratings (“We’re not trying to accurately measure how many people are watching television, we’re trying to accurately sell a certain amount of product to an advertiser”) and his future (“My [next] idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television. I turned off 90 percent of my brain … for the first season of Community.”).
That next show, Harmon says, could be a multi-camera comedy — like Big Bang Theory — “just to prove that it’s not cancer, it doesn’t have to be. TV in all of its ugliness can be a beautiful thing.” Here’s the full video, which is worth watching: