Dan Harmon Sold The Russo Brothers On Community In A Way Only Dan Harmon Could

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Dan Harmon is a driven man. Early in his career, the creator of "Community" and "Rick and Morty" was so obsessed with nailing down the basic elements of a successful screenplay that, rather than rely on the old structural guides hammered out by storytelling gurus like Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler, he meticulously analyzed films he believed to be perfect (e.g. "Die Hard") and emerged with the eight-step "story circle." It is now his tried-and-true method of writing, one that he preaches to writers who get staffed on his finely crafted shows. As anyone who's watched the peak seasons of "Community" will tell you, the circle works. But the people who made it work will likely tell you that getting each episode to fit snugly within the circle necessitated late nights and more than a little agita.

Before they hit the cinematic big time with their Marvel blockbusters, the directing duo of Anthony & Joe  Russo were witnesses to Harmon's perfectionism on "Community." They'd won an Emmy for directing the pilot of Mitchell Hurwitz's "Arrested Development," and were brought in to work the same magic on the debut episode of Harmon's unique sitcom. They adored the script, and saw tremendous potential in Harmon. They also saw just how intense he could get when pushed in the wrong direction.

Harmon pulls a Hulk Hogan

In an interview with GQ, the Russo recall long hours while workshopping Harmon's script. They were happy with the process but noticed that Harmon was continually butting heads with one of the producers (whom they politely decline to name). As they neared the shoot, these disagreements grew more and more heated until, finally, Harmon blew his stack in a most unusual way.

According to Joe, "The producer had said something I think that upset Dan about the script. And Dan ended up tearing the shirt off of his body. It's two in the morning!" Anthony added, "He just grabbed it. Like, tore it right off." Joe continued, "And I remember looking at [Anthony] and going, 'We found our guy.'"

Six seasons and a movie

"Community" ran for six seasons. It was never a Nielsen ratings success, which left it constantly on the verge of cancellation. Its longevity was powered largely by critical enthusiasm and a devoted cult fandom. Fans stuck with the series through thick and thin, including the Harmon-less fourth season, and are still eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of its "six seasons and a movie" prophecy. That the show continues to endure is a testament to Harmon's unruly passion. It was anything but a smooth journey, but "Community" feels like one of those shows that will get discovered and embraced by subsequent generations. But seriously, where's that movie?