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"Harmontown": Spending Time with TV's Most Popular Misanthrope 

Tuesday, Oct 14 2014
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Whether in narrative movies or documentaries, the main characters of feature films don't have to be likable. But, ye gods! Dan Harmon, creator of the cult TV series Community, does not come across as a pleasant man to spend time with in Neil Berkeley's documentary, not even in this era of the Cult of the Sad-Sack. (See also: Louis C.K., or the LCD Soundsystem guy.) Which is sort of the point, but it also makes Harmontown a difficult slog unless you're already a fan of Harmon's also-called-Harmontown podcast or his self-destructive persona. The picture follows Harmon and his associates as they take the podcast on a whirlwind tour after NBC sacked Harmon from Community. Interspersed are historical segments tracing Harmon's professional career up to that point, all of which are more interesting than the present-day shenanigans — including, heaven help us, endless rounds of Dungeons & Dragons onstage. Unlike the similarly themed Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, which followed the workaholic O'Brien on tour after he got canned from a (much higher-profile) NBC show, Harmon is the first to admit that his work ethic is lacking, and he'd rather not write even when he's getting paid to. Points for honesty, but it's also the kind of thing that makes it tough to want to visit.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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