Dan Harmon, creator of the comedy series “Community,” recently hinted that there may finally be a movie in the works that’s based on the sitcom series. Harmon, who’s also the creator of the popular animated show “Rick and Morty,” appeared on this week’s episode of the comedy podcast “Good One” to break down Dean Pelton’s (Jim Rash) iconic “Payday Rap” from the fifth season of “Community.” Harmon discussed everything from his famous story circle to the new season of “Rick and Morty.” But the most exciting part of the podcast happened when he talked about a potential “Community” movie coming out in the near future.
Fans have coined the saying “six seasons and a movie” as the show’s unofficial slogan. So far, it seems like a wish that’s coming true. Against all odds, “Community” survived for six seasons — now, the second part of the phrase could become a reality as well.
Harmon’s Vision for a “Community” Movie
Harmon is a notoriously neurotic screenwriter who describes himself as an obsessive perfectionist. As a writer on “Community,” he labored over every detail, and a movie would be no different. Harmon’s vision for the potential film is “a movie that I think the fans can not only enjoy, but they can stand back and go, ‘You know, the crazy thing about this “Community” movie is that if you didn’t know there was a show, this is an insanely good movie.’”
And Harmon doesn’t devote such attention to small details just for himself. He reminds fans that he creates these stories so that they can enjoy a pleasant, comforting experience. “I don’t want to forget that if you’re watching, you might be in the most terrible mood of your life … I want you to be soothed and welcomed in, and I want your obsession to be rewarded.” Harmon often speaks about how TV and movies have always been a safe haven for him. The reason he puts so much work into his shows is to create the same atmosphere for his viewers.
Harmon’s supporters aren’t shy about showing their appreciation; “Community” survived for six seasons because of its devoted fan base. Despite its consistently low ratings, the show gained a cult following so loyal that Yahoo picked up the show after NBC canceled it following its fifth season. Harmon describes the movie concept as a “fan service” for people who loved the show so much they kept it alive.
Making the Vision a Reality
“Community” endured its fair share of obstacles during its six-season run. From behind-the-scenes tensions among the cast to Harmon getting fired and then rehired, the show was constantly on the verge of cancelation — or implosion.
Just like the show, a movie could present many obstacles. For one, several cast members like Alison Brie (Annie), Donald Glover (Troy) and Ken Jeong (Chang) have skyrocketed to new levels of fame since the show’s run and now have to balance their incredibly busy work schedules. Getting the whole cast together long enough to shoot a movie would be something of a miracle.
There’s also the issue of whether Harmon will cooperate with a studio. Despite his talent, Harmon is known for being difficult to work with due to his identity as a procrastinating perfectionist. This peculiar style is a large part of why Harmon was fired from “Community” in the first place.
However, Harmon seems hopeful about creating a movie. Although he didn’t disclose much about these barriers, he reassured fans, “Logistically, the locks are coming away. And the only problems are becoming the creative ones, which is great, because I love those problems.”
The main creative problem Harmon faces right now is he doesn’t want the movie to be so gimmicky that it loses its heart. “Do you want to see these people play dress-up in their old outfits and come in and go, ‘Look at me. Meep meep, moop moop. Look what I used to do?’” He insists that if the movie does become a reality, it must use the same substance and purpose that the show had.
Conversely, Harmon doesn’t want to lose the light-hearted silliness that gave the show its original charm. “Contrary to that, do you want to see these people not doing that and coming in in pantsuits and going, ‘I’m an adult now. Meep meep, moop moop. Remember when we did this?’” The biggest creative obstacle for Harmon will be combining the nostalgic tone with a fresh take on the show’s themes.
Although that’s a lot to juggle, if any screenwriter has the creative chops to handle it, it’s Harmon.
Is It Really Going to Happen?
As for whether he can make this bold dream a reality, Harmon seems optimistic. “I am, at least once a week, thinking about it, because the gears are turning.” While Harmon didn’t give much away about the movie’s progress, he did reassure fans that “a thing is happening.”
At the heart of the concept for the “Community” movie, as with all of Harmon’s projects, is his unique love for storytelling. His spirit is why fans fell in love with “Community” to begin with. Now, it seems to be the propelling force that still has Harmon thinking about a movie six years later.
Although Harmon revealed very few details about the movie, he was eager to let fans know something big is coming. “I love having these conversations — and they’re being had.”