Back in January, NBC boss Bob Greenblatt hadn’t yet made up his mind on whether to green-light a fourth season of Community, so the show’s ratings-strong return earlier this month was greeted as good news by all its many admirers, including us here at Vulture. But it seems not all is well in Greendale. Community showrunner Dan Harmon let slip to a crowd at Harmontown (part stand-up, part act, part lunar town meeting), what he really thought about Chevy Chase, who plays the terminally insecure Pierce “Granpa Moneybags” Hawthorne on the show. Soon after, it leaked to Reddit and prompted a deeper investigation by Deadline’s TV editor Nellie Andreeva. Here’s what she found out.
The chronology of the events, corroborated to me by multiple sources, involves Chase walking off the set of the show on the last day of shooting last month without filming one of his scenes, which reportedly was to close out the season finale. Then at the wrap party, Harmon got up and gave a “Fuck you, Chevy” speech in front of Chase and his wife and daughter, and encouraged the crew to join him in saying “fuck you” to the actor. Chase left immediately and later left Harmon a profane-laden voice message, a portion of which found its way to the Web after Harmon played it in front of other people.
This wasn’t the first time Chase had stormed off the set, either, and nor was a blowup with Harmon particularly surprising to “people close to the matter.” But that doesn’t mean fans aren’t worried.
“It would suck so much, not to mention be completely ironic if Nbc approved season 4 only to have the show tank because of an internal conflict,” joke9IN wrote on Reddit. Earlier posts in the thread, from FILMCRITHULK and TheTuninator, actually disparaged fellow commenters for mentioning the feud at all, with the latter saying it “could quite possibly endanger the future of the show as we know it.”
While there’s been no official response from Harmon, Chase, or NBC, Harmon did lend the story some credibility when he took part in a little twit-for-tat earlier this afternoon.
@slder78: @danharmon So Chase is a dick = Given. But your response in front of his family was classless. it makes you look worse than him.
@danharmon: @slder78 whereas what you are doing right now is, like, super mature and cool.
Well, no one ever said that Harmon was a “take the high road” kind of guy. In fact, people close to the show who spoke with Andreeva pointed out some striking similarities in Chase and Harmon’s “passionate” and “volatile” personalities. But we, like joker9IN, hope Harmon and Chase can smooth things out in the spirit of more Community for all.