Daniel James Harmon (born January 3, 1973) is the creator of Channel 101, The Sarah Silverman Program, Community, Rick and Morty, HarmonQuest, Great Minds with Dan Harmon and Heat Vision and Jack. Frequent collaborator of Rob Schrab and master of creating Cult Classics. Show runner on Community for seasons 1-3, as well as making a return to his old job for the fifth season.
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-and-Gray Morality: In both of his TV shows, Community and Rick and Morty.
- Black Comedy: Especially Rick and Morty.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Apparently a real-life example, according to some people who have worked with him. The entry below under Creator Thumbprint may explain where some of this comes from.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Can both write these and is one himself.
- Deconstructive Parody: Overwhelmingly often.
- Executive Meddling: On Community and The Sarah Silverman Program, his Bunny-Ears Lawyer nature was what got him kicked off both shows alongside his personality making him hard to work with. (Although he was rehired for the former.)
- The Hero's Journey: Adheres to this structure in all of his writing. When he realized writers on Channel 101 had a hard time structuring their stories, he created a condensed version of Campbell's monomyth, which can be viewed here.
- Improv: Highly encourages it on his shows. HarmonQuest is all improv.
- Old Shame: He admitted that he was unimpressed with his work on Monster House. On a more serious note, he also apologized to Megan Ganz for sexually harassing her.
- Rousseau Was Right: In Community and even surprisingly Rick and Morty. Many characters have a sympathetic reason for how they turned out or don't mean to intentionally cause harm.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Somewhere right in the middle. While his stories are often deconstructive parodies with harsh realities, they remain fairly insightful 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 particularly in season 3 present many insightful ideas on being more happy in life.