Despite its relatively low ratings, Community has always been a critical darling, so it was no surprise the NBC cult favorite snagged a Critics’ Choice Award for best comedy this past Monday. What was slightly surprising is that the show’s creator and now-former executive producer Dan Harmon was not invited to the event. I say slightly surprising, only because his falling out with the show’s network and Sony Television Pictres (who owns most of the show) has been well documented. But you’d think that Harmon would be shown some degree of respect in the matter of the Critics’ Choice awards.
In a new interview with Vulture, writer Jennifer Vineyard asks a pair of questions on all Community fans’ minds: “Will Community be the same kind of show without Dan Harmon? Did you at least go and celebrate the Critic’s Choice Award with him?”
We all texted him to say our congratulations. We’re all very grateful to him, because he really changed our lives and our careers, so we have an infinite amount of gratitude towards him and his beautiful writing and his ambition. But being an actor, we don’t often have any power [over who is showrunner or not]. We’re all used to being in a position of no power, no decision-making. We’re trying to focus on making the fourth season, despite all the bumps in the road, because this is remarkable that a low-rated, underwatched show made it to season four in spite of everything.
As expected, Jacobs gives a measured, diplomatic response. And really, we’ll only know the answer to the question when Community returns to NBC on Oct. 19, where it’s moving from Thursday to Friday. The new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarscio have had their successes in the past with shows like Just Shoot Me and more recently Happy Endings, but it seems unlikely the duo will take the creative chances Harmon has. The fear for a lot of Community fans, is that the show turns into yet another schlocky sitcom– albeit one with higher ratings.