Created By: alliterator on December 3, 2011 Last Edited By: alliterator on December 27, 2011

The Circle of Harmon

Similar to the Hero\'s Journey - it contains \

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs More Examples. May Need a Better Title.

Dan Harmon, the creator of Community, found a pattern in television and fiction in general and mapped it out in a circle.

  1. A character is in a zone of comfort
  2. But they want something
  3. They enter an unfamiliar situation
  4. Adapt to it
  5. Get what they wanted
  6. Pay a heavy price for it
  7. Then return to their familiar situation
  8. Having changed

Basically, this is The Hero's Journey meets Be Careful What You Wish For.

Examples:

Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • December 3, 2011
    Oreochan
    This seems rather YMMV to me if I'm following the laconic.
  • December 3, 2011
    alliterator
    It's not. It's a story structure, similar to The Heros Journey. The laconic just says "all the elements needed for a satisfying story" because that's what the Wired article had written and I was at a loss for what to write for the laconic.
  • December 3, 2011
    Oreochan
    All right then.
  • December 3, 2011
    Earnest
    I can't help but think of Tragedy after reading the OP. Certainly, that genre has the heavy price be ruinous, and the return to the familiar situation doesn't always happen.
  • December 3, 2011
    moocow1452
    One, thought it was a typo of The Circle Of Harmony, definitely change the title.

    Two, this is just another way to break down story, like the three act, five point, seven turns, or fifteen beats methods. Heck, this is practically the seven turns right here if 7 and 8 were one thing.
  • December 3, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Wouldn't all of the examples under Be Careful What You Wish For fit this by definition? Off the top of my head, Fairly Oddparents fit this model for the most part.
  • December 5, 2011
    alliterator
    It doesn't necessarily have to be Be Careful What You Wish For. Take, for example, the last episode of Community, "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" - Jeff is in his zone of comfort (1), but wants to get the European foosball players to stop (2), so tries to play them (3). He fails, but gets Shirley to train him (4) and learns enough to beat them (5) but also learns that Shirley was the one who humiliated him when he was a child (6). Jeff and Shirley decide to move past it and don't play the Europeans (7), instead moving past their childhood incident and becoming better friends (8).

    I can't really see a part of that storyline that's Be Careful What You Wish For (although most BCWYWF storylines are examples of this structure).
  • December 5, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    ^ I can see that. Though my question was more the other way around, does a Be Careful What You Wish For story exist that wouldn't fit this model? Because if not, it might be better to leave this as example-less, with the exception of the few stories that don't fit under BCWYWF, and just tell the readers to go to BCWYWF for the examples.
  • December 5, 2011
    alliterator
    So maybe it would be "All BCWYWF have the structure of the Circle, but not all stories with the Circle are examples of BCWYWF"? That could work.

    Although we still Need A Better Title. Any ideas?
  • December 5, 2011
    peccantis
    To expand on the Coraline example: 1) Coraline ad her parents move to a new home, but 2) she wants more attention from her parents. 3) She finds Another reality, 4) where she finds Another Mother and Another Father, who 5) are just like she wished her real parents were. 6) Everyone in the Another reality however have buttons for eyes, and Coraline finds out that Another mother is a monster who lures children to steal their souls. 7) Coraline tricks Another mother and returns to the real world, 8) now appreciating her parents and the new home.
  • December 9, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    Rename it Harmons Circle?

  • December 9, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Ugh. Nothing to contribute, really...But Dan Harmon and I knew a LOT of the same people when we both lived in Milwaukee. And without going TOO much into detail, he wasn't even close to a quality person. Genuinely unpleasant to be around, and the absolute LAST guy from the crew he used to work with who I thought would ever have "made it." So, whether or not watering-down and co-opting Campbell's Mono-Myth and pretending you're a wunderkind who's discovered a narrative Rosetta stone is tropable...I'd just hate to see anything reverently named after him.
  • December 9, 2011
    alliterator
    If you had nothing to contribute, why did you post? Seriously? Just to impart third-hand information that nobody asked for which makes you sound bitter and "genuinely unpleasant"?

    Anyone with any actual suggestions for a new name?
  • December 13, 2011
    UglyShirts
    It's first-hand information, thanks. I'm not gonna pretend like we were ever best friends, but we did bump into each other a lot. Not that he'd ever remember the name of anyone who couldn't help his career, mind you. Those were the people he looked straight through if he even acknowledged them at all.

    And I freely admit to being bitter. It just bums me out to see someone like him ending up so successful. It just reinforces a lot of truths I'd rather not believe about the sort of people who end up on top.

    As for a new name, I still maintain that this is just a simplified version of "The Hero's Journey" as already diagrammed by Joseph Campbell. So, how about "Poor Man's Monomyth?"
  • December 26, 2011
    TBeholder
  • December 26, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I thought of Mark Harmon when I saw the trope name. It needs something indicative.
  • December 26, 2011
    moocow1452
    Just call it Eight Point Cirle Structure or something similar?
  • December 26, 2011
    Noaqiyeum
    I don't know about simplified. Generalised, maybe.

    I'm not a huge fan of the Hero's Journey in the first place and this version makes considerably more sense to me, though, so take that as you will.

    Eight Point Circle Structure is much too vague.
  • December 26, 2011
    moocow1452
  • December 27, 2011
    KJMackley
    The main problem I have with this is that it repeatedly claims to be closely related to The Heros Journey, but it really isn't. Heros Journey is a very specific story pattern where each step is a trope unto itself. The steps here are so loosely defined and drawn out ("zone of comfort" and "wants something" aren't steps to a story, but occur simultaneously. Same with "get what they wanted" and "pay a heavy price") that it is basically a way Character Development can happen during the Heros Journey.

    Truthfully, there is a somewhat interesting idea buried here if we could step away from connecting it to both Heros Journey and Be Careful What You Wish For, just in the basic idea of a character stretching outside their comfort zone as part of their character development. But as Dan Harmon is not that ubiquitous and the idea not that distinctive the name and trope itself needs to be reworked.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=quiz282epcgc62oizbeodg6a