Fans of Community are understandably wary about the fifth season, given the fairly hollow simulacra that aired last spring. But with the return of creator Dan Harmon, the show has regained the sense of deliberate chaos and freewheeling playfulness that originally earned it such a devoted (and vocal) fan base.
For Harmon's unprecedented return, you can thank none other than Joel McHale, who played a crucial role in NBC bringing back the controversial showrunner. Comparing Harmon to Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), both of whom are guest-starring this season, McHale preached the benefits of letting a series be dictated by a singular vision. "There was some really good stuff last year, but it did not....
NBC couldn't kill Community, even if it tried — and it definitely tried. But lengthy hiatuses and unusual scheduling (including Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes airing last spring) wouldn't destroy it. A controversial decision to replace creator Dan Harmon as showrunner last season couldn't slay it. Even all that Twitter chatter about "six seasons and a movie" didn't jinx it.
"Community is like a Twinkie," says Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, perhaps the sweetest of the community-college study-group members who form the show's heart. "The shelf life of this show has defied odds."
Recently reinstated executive producer (and the constantly controversial) Dan Harmon has issued one of his classic apologies after comparing Season 4 of Community to "being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach" on a recent episode of his Harmontown podcast.
Now that Dan Harmon is returning to Community, the returning showrunner had to catch up on the fourth season of the NBC comedy that he was not involved with, which was run by David Guarascio and Moses Port — and his reaction isn't good.
Dan Harmon is (almost) officially returning to Community.
"Yes yes yes! I'm back I'm back I'm back. You can thank @joelmchale," he tweeted on Saturday.
Though Sony would not confirm the news, the deal is expected to come in the next few days.