Community’s Dan Harmon Discovered He Had Asperger’s While Writing Abed’s Character

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 15: Creator/Exec-Producer Dan Harmon on stage at the Paley Center For Media's Paleyfest 2011 vvent honoring "Community" at the Saban Theater on March 15, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dan Harmon Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images

This Wired profile on Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon explains and explores some of his unusual methods of plotting out what happens on the show: Harmon rigorously maps out character arcs in an eight-point cycle and refers to these story ideas as "embryos." That obsessiveness and ritualism make a little more sense at the end of the story, when Harmon explains that he has a form of Asperger's. He says he started researching the disorder as part of exploring Abed's character, but the information wound up hitting surprisingly close to home. "I started looking up these symptoms," he says, "just to know what they are. And the more I looked them up, the more familiar they started to seem." He met with a doctor and found out that Asperger's itself covers a spectrum of behaviors, some of which include what Wired calls Harmon's "inappropriate emotional reactions and deep empathy." Harmon says he started writing Community seeing himself as a Jeff type, but now he more closely identifies with Abed. Alas, no word on who his Troy is. [Wired]