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IGN: That leads me to a natural question, which is, how has your relationship been with Sony and NBC this season?
Harmon: The relationship was sort of nonexistent between me and the people that were probably the most responsible in my departure. What I'm left with now is a very professional relationship with a guy from NBC who was always in the show's corner and a guy from Sony who was always in the show's corner. They were the junior guys when the show started, and now they've grown into the role of managing the show on the studio/network side. We get along with them famously. They're the guys that just want to help. So everything is working very smoothly now because there's no conversations happening between us and the other guys.
IGN: There's some dialogue in the premiere about the characters and how they've changed since we first met them – for instance, how Britta is so different from the person we met in the pilot. I was just having a conversation the other day about how with so many TV comedies -- New Girl, Happy Endings -- all the characters kind of get crazier as the years go on, and that dialogue in your premiere was very much about that. Now that you've brought that up, is that something where you may want to shift back a little bit?
Harmon: That was definitely the goal. It was more about taking advantage of the situation so we could do that. If we tried to do that without all the disruptions... Jeff as a teacher, there was a lot of things that we just couldn't have gotten away with if there hadn't been this disruption. So making lemonade out of a lot of lemons, we did definitely make it a goal to sort of strip down the characters and remember who they really were. Kind of forget all the in-jokes and labyrinthine details and just know these people, and most importantly reintroduce them to this mythical creature that is a "new viewer." Even if that doesn't exist, it was still a healthy exercise to imagine that person's perspective and create a version of the show for them, because we worked in a timeless void with no air date. So that meant no birthdays, no holidays, no ability to reference what time of year it was at all. It was sort of a nightmare for Community, which is a very organic show and is treated as a real thing.>
Danny Pudi as Abed and Gillian Jacobs as Britta in Community.
But we wanted to take all these things that were working against us and make them work in favor of us, so yes, it was definitely conscious effort to, for instance, raise Britta's IQ back up to normal human levels. As you recall, over the years we've made a lot of jokes about how clueless she was, which is sometimes an easy joke to sell. And it's still true that Britta's technologically illiterate, she's pop culturally illiterate, and she's even not exactly academically brilliant, because she dropped out of high school, and she's doesn't have brains designed for too much studying. But what she is is incredibly emotionally intelligent and most of all, is politically passionate and absolutely, uncontrollably defiant. Just getting back to those things. Annie, she's the driven one, and Shirley is actually, rather than being the group's mother, has now become the group's businessperson. She's very frugal and -- I don't want to use the word conniving, because that seems insulting. She's looking to make her money.
IGN: In the middle of this, Donald [Glover] deciding to leave... Was it a case of, "Well, might as well be now since so much is changing already," or was it kind of like, "Oh man, we've gotta figure out how to do that too"?
Harmon: Yeah, that was the worst, because it felt like, in all respects, we were doing everything the way we were supposed to do it, and we were being rewarded for it with good ideas and enthusiasm for the show. Then Donald made this decision, and it made us feel like, "Aw, man. We're being punished for caring about the show again." Like, it's always going to be something. We'd come to terms with the fact that we didn't have an air date, we'd re-rooted these characters, we were enthusiastic about the show, we figured out narratively how to thread all these needles and simplifying without having to retcon stuff. And then we had to deal with that, in five episodes. So we wanted to make sure that we did deal with it very passionately, because that's what that tragedy offers, is something that we could really resonate with. But we also didn't want to spend five of our 13 episodes telling a serialized story about Troy leaving. So we split the difference. We used Troy the way we've always used him, to celebrate we had five episodes with him. And at the end of the fourth one, it's revealed that he's probably going to be leaving, and then we spend one episode basically saying goodbye to him, and then we get right back to work. Yeah, it was a bummer, but in the end, it's just another unexpected, organic kink in this crazy, crooked, sad, beautiful, snake called Community.>
Donald Glover as Troy in Community.
IGN: None of the three Season 5 episodes sent to press really deal with any of the potential romantic pairings on the series. I know you've always had a lot of thoughts about how much you want to lean into or not lean into all of the "Will they hook up?" possibilities.
Harmon: I've always been really cautious about it. It's weird for me to deal with, because on one hand it's one of the most fundamental forces of our lives, is the attractions to each other. On the other hand, this ensemble show can't really suffer the assembling of a couple within it. I just feel like that will make the show not feel like a family anymore. But at the same time, at the risk of sounding gross, part of family is sexual tension. [Laughs] If you're not actually related to the people, that is! If you're trapped on a desert island… I mean, even Gilligan's Island had some degree of addressing it. Ginger's an attractive woman and had sexual power over Gilligan, and she could get what she wants in certain ways. You know, they used that fact to tell some stories, but in the larger picture, it's about a group of castaways on an island, and you don't stop Gilligan's Island and have Skipper look at Gilligan and say, "You know what? I'm sorry you turned invisible. I absolutely love you. Let's get married," and then start dedicating the show to Skipper and Gilligan's wedding and stuff. That's just stuff that feels like something you do if you know you're going to get cancelled, for instance, because it's going to feel like the end of the show. So I think there's a lot of viewers who are in relationships who probably go to TV to escape relationships. [Laughs] Or they curl up with their loved one in a satisfied way and want to watch a show about an unlikely family dealing with larger human issues than just "I love you. Do you love me back?" and "Where did I put the condoms?" and things that would turn it into a very specific kind of show, instead of this one.>
Danny Pudi as Abed, Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, Gillian Jacobs as Britta, Alison Brie as Annie, Donald Glover as Troy in Community.
You stand Jeff next to Annie, you feel the energy crackle off the screen. In other ways than I thought, there is a distinct, chemical lack of chemistry between Jeff and Britta. There's a beautiful kind of ex-girlfriend/sibling, familiar bond between them. I really like to see them go on funny missions together, and I like to see Jeff and Annie go on more idealistic adventures, and I like to address the fact that "We're all gorgeous, and we're all single. I'm a man, you're a woman, and that makes things difficult. I have feelings.” And we do go there within the 13 episodes in a relatively large way. Obviously I can't really go into more detail than that. But I always take very special care to, as pretentious as this sounds, let the characters make the decisions as they would if they were really alive, which is sort of randomly and over time. I never want to break a story where I've predetermined like, "You people are gonna f**k up, and here's how it happens, and here's why that's a story." It's impossible to describe what I do without sounding like the most pretentious snob in the world, but I try to leave the plot mechanisms to the actual stories, because life throws stories at you -- but it does not throw relationships at you. We manipulate ourselves and each other; that's how relationships happen. We make decisions or fall into an attraction with somebody. I try to incorporate that passionate randomness into the stories that we break. There are points where I go, "Okay, this is the moment where we realize that so-and-so feels this way. It feels like the right current, it feels like the character does feel this way, so this is how this is going to happen." Then we make that decision, and we try to make it very organically. I guess that's about as much as I can say. We definitely do go there this season. There are developments and revelations.
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Source : http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/01/dan-harmon-on-his-surprising-return-to-community-and-his-approach-to-season-5?page=2