Dan Harmon and Joseph Campbell
Dan Harmon is an American writer, show-runner, actor and voice-actor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is mostly known for his two highly successful shows, the NBC sitcom Community and the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty.
He is admired by many, gathering a large online following, due both to his talent and general personality. Harmon hosts Harmontown, a live podcast, and was the subject of the namesake documentary.
What some people might not know is that Harmon’s writing follows a very circular and well-defined structured, based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, which he calls Story Circle.
- This Polygon article by Julia Alexander shows Harmon’s thought on the relationship between Men and God, and how that is seen in Rick and Morty;
- This WIRE article by Brian Raftery dives deep into Harmon’s process and struggles while writing his hit-show Community;
- This INVERSE article by Ryan Britt explores the connection between Harmon and Campbell, and includes a great video where Harmon walks through a Rick and Morty episode explaining his story circle; or this other INVERSE article with a complete breakdown of a Rick and Morty episode’s structure.
- This Newsweeks article by Andrew Whalen tries to crack the mystery behind Tweets insinuating a connection between Rick and Morty’s Story Circle and the 2008 film 27 Dresses.
Finally, Harmon himself writes a series of articles for Channel 101 at the FANDOM website:
- You can read about the writer’s twist on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey;
- A more in depth explanation of his process;
- And the differences in structure between film and TV shows.