Daniel James Harmon (born January 3, 1973) is the creator of Channel 101, The Sarah Silverman Program, Community, Rick and Morty, Krapopolis, HarmonQuest, Great Minds with Dan Harmon and Heat Vision and Jack. Frequent collaborator of Rob Schrab and master of creating Cult Classics. Showrunner on Community for seasons 1-3 and 5-6 (he was fired before season four). Executive producer of Little Demon. Currently the creator / executive producer of Krapopolis and Strange Planet (2023).
Interviews with the cast of Community suggest he reads a lot of websites regarding his show. This, combined with the nature of Abed, suggests he's One of Us. He is a confirmed reader of TV Tropes. Also a confirmed redditor with three amazing IamA AMAs. He also hosts the weekly podcast Harmontown with Jeff Davis.
Tropes pertaining to Dan Harmon:
- Anti-Nihilist: Both Community and Rick and Morty are about how the meaninglessness of existence makes family and friends really important as they're our only way of coping in a hostile world.Morty: Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs everywhere. Everyone's going to die. Come watch TV?
- Black Comedy Rape: It shows up a lot in Community's Hilarious Outtakes (along with Don Glover, Joel Mc Hale and Allison Brie who also often joke or playact the subject), but in his shows it's rarely treated with anything but dead seriousness.
- Central Theme: How the meaninglessness of our life makes our loved ones all the more important as they are our only way of coping in a hostile world.
- Creator Thumbprint:
- His works often feature positive portrayals of characters who have symptoms of autism-spectrum disorders (Abed in Community is almost certainly the most obvious example; Rick and Morty both have elements of this as well). In at least one interview, he has mentioned possibly being on the spectrum himself and spoken about how he feels that much of what is written off as being a "disorder" is actually a matter of perceiving the world and behaving differently from other humans, and that the fear of being alone is common to all of humanity. He's also spoken about how he feels the autism spectrum needs more positive representation in media, and noted how closely the community tended to identify with these characters and that he didn't want to let them down.
- Incest has come up way too many times to be a co-incidence. Arguably reaches it's zenith when an episode of Rick and Morty has a Giant Incest Baby as a major element of TWO episodes.
- Redheaded women seem to be his cup of tea.
- His works will often subvert and make fun of meaningful story and sitcom conventions.
- Deconstructive Parody: Part of his Signature Style.
- Deconstructor Fleet: His projects will often parody genres or shows but to be more specific:
- Decon-Recon Switch: His projects will often tend to subvert and deconstruct a lot of plot conventions usually found in sitcoms or classic stories while also following them.
- Executive Meddling: On the The Sarah Silverman Program his Bunny-Ears Lawyer nature was what got him kicked off alongside his personality making him hard to work with. On Community this was what was publicly stated to be the reason for his firing after Season 3, but was later revealed to have actually been Harmon sexually harassing a member of the writing staffnote .
- Old Shame: He admitted that he was unimpressed with his work on Monster House.
- Rousseau Was Right: In Community and even surprisingly Rick and Morty. Many characters struggle to truly learn lessons and develop as people. However, we learn why they are that way and can therefore sympathize with them.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Somewhere right in the middle. His stories are deconstructive parodies of meaningful story conventions with a dose of harsh realities and a lack of genuine character development. Despite this, they remain fairly insightful even when in a world filled to the brim with bleakness.
- Rick and Morty is widely considered one of the most nihilistic cartoons on television. However, many episodes present many insightful ideas on being happy in life. There are also story elements that get exposed that show that this nihilism is at least partially caused by the collective actions of the Ricks.