Dan Harmon Returns to the ‘Community’

Alex Campos

Dan Harmon, creator of the NBC show “Community,” returned for the second time in a year to speak about his love for GCC.

“I could not wait to come back” Harmon said. “It was the best experience I had interacting with students. This is the only place I’ve spoken at where no one asked me for a job. When I left, I came out on a super high.”

Harmon, who attended GCC for a semester and a half in 2003, loosely based his TV show on Glendale Community College. This show is set in Greendale Community College, a fictional college in Colorado.

“I adore this campus,” Harmon said. He was 32 when he attended GCC, and said he wasn’t here worrying about credits. “I was here more for fulfillment. This campus is very pristine. Gorgeous, while practical.”

When I came up with the idea of setting a TV show at a community college, everyone immediately assumed I would be making fun of community colleges,” said Harmon. “I have a tremendous amount of GCC pride. I went to Marquette [a four-year school in Wisconsin] and I never talk about that.”

The show focuses on a group of students who formed a Spanish study group, led by disbarred lawyer Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale). Harmon’s inspiration for the show was set by his own study group.

“When I was in Professor Mauk’s bio class, I had nothing else going on and I was getting like an A+.” said Harmon. “Two guys came up to me and knew I was the guy getting all the A’s. They asked me to help them study. These guys just wanted to drain my nights. We were in one of the library study rooms studying and we all just got it at the same time. We knew everything on the test, and knew that we were going to get A’s. I had never shared that relationship with complete strangers. Because of me, they were going to have a better day the next day.”

Harmon received a plaque for being GCC’s most intriguing alumnus and for “putting the Green in Glendale.” He also showed a then unaired episode of the show entitled “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts.” He fielded questions, a received
a large round of applause when
he said “maybe I can make a season three episode about the budget cuts.”

This lecture was put on by Mass Communication teachers Sharyn Obsatz and Mike Eberts.

“After the first time, [Harmon] had such a positive, nostalgic experience and it was nice of him to come back again said Obsatz. “People pay money to see him speak. School and GCC are very special to him.”

“Television is important because it is as close to common American culture as possible,” said Eberts. “Being here on Hollywood’s doorstep gives us a definite advantage. I offer my students extra credit because I feel it is beneficial to hear tips and inspiration from someone with a successful TV show.”

This lecture was also a positive experience for students. Armond Ghoorchian started watching “Community” before starting at GCC. “I had been in the music industry, and watching “Community” made me feel comfortable about going to a community college,” said Ghoorchian.

Elizabeth Zuniga, who attended the lecture only for extra credit, found herself in line for roughly an hour after the show to meet him.

“When he showed the episode, I thought to myself that it was a very funny show,” said Zuniga. “I felt like what he was saying was very sincere. I just really wanted to congratulate him.”

Ghoorchian, Zuniga and many other people got their chance to talk to Harmon after his lecture. The lecture started at 7:30 p.m and ended at around 9 p.m. Harmon was there until roughly 11 p.m. answering questions and talking to people who were in the audience.

“I wouldn’t mind staying here until 1 a.m.,” said Harmon. “I love that GCC students don’t immediately ask me for a job. Instead they ask things like ‘How can I become a better writer?'”

Student Rose Petrosian told Harmon a story about her own study group. “We were in a study room and out of nowhere we all realized we loved “Community.” We started assigning each other characters on the show. I was Britta.”

This season of “Community” wraps up on Thursday with part two of what is supposed to be an epic paintball finale. It will air at 8 p.m. on NBC. “Community” has been renewed for a third season.