Dan Harmon wants to be the guy that makes people happy – so says the man himself in the first trailer for Neil Berkeley’s documentary Harmontown. It is sad to think that, despite having created one of the best comedy series in recent memory – Community – Harmon is probably best known for his spectacular firing from said show, following mounting conflict between him and cast member Chevy Chase. What does the man who wants to make people happy do to heal such a damaging wound? He takes his popular podcast on tour, of course – using the love of his dedicated fanbase as a revitalizing salve.
On the face of it, it sounds incredibly narcissistic, egotistical, and perhaps even desperate. In reality though, with this trailer, it is a beautiful thing to watch. Harmon is not only a refreshingly honest voice in relation to Hollywood as a whole, but also in relation to the human race, it would seem. He doesn’t use words unnecessarily – he wants to be the man to make people happy. That’s wishing happiness on others, and on himself at the same time. He wants to be the saviour of his audience’s mood, and he wants them to appreciate him for it. It’s a fundamental transaction of emotion and self-esteem and, frankly, you can’t say fairer than that.
But, there’s more to Harmontown than just Harmon’s own unflinching self-assessment. Driven in all things by this unapologetically egotistical need to cheer, we realize through our own observations that, for him, the pursuit of that goal is all-consuming. This appears to be an all-or-nothing guy, which makes his close encounter with self-destruction and his choice to hit the road strangely understandable. Reeling from the substantial body blow of being ejected from his own creation, a period of intense introspection is surely inevitable. For Harmon, it seems the safest place to explore those darker corners of himself is in the loving arms of his audience, using comedy – and that’s just fine. It’s that egotistical need to cheer that saves him – we want him to feel better, because he wants us to feel better. In that way, he’s not just the creator of Community, he’s also the creator, and mutual beneficiary, of a community – something we see precious little of in this day and age.
Here’s the official synopsis of what looks to be a fascinating character study of one of the best comedy writers working today:
“A kindred spirit to nerds everywhere, writer-comedian Dan Harmon has achieved celebrity via the hit series ‘Community’, but cut his teeth writing for shows such as The Sarah Silverman Program and the Jack Black/Ben Stiller pilot ‘Heat Vision And Jack’. After being fired from his signature creation, Harmon hits the road with his popular podcast and performs live for his cult-like fan base across the country. Known for his wit, cynicism and disarming vulnerability, Harmontown finds Harmon bathed in the adoration of his fans as he confronts personal demons and comes out the other side. From acclaimed filmmaker Neil Berkeley (Beauty Is Embarrassing) and featuring past and present collaborators Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Allison Brie, Joel McHale and many more, Harmontown tells Harmon’s story with unabashed candour – showing his highs, his lows and everything in-between.”
Harmontown will be available in selected theatres and on VOD from October 3rd 2014. You can watch the trailer below.
Source: The Playlist