"I AM A SPANISH GENIUS!"
- Ben Chang
Benjamin Franklin "Ben" Chang (born 1969), referred to as Señor Chang in season one, and Kevin in season four, is a character in the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community. He is played and voiced by Ken Jeong.
Chang was originally the study group's unhinged Spanish teacher, but at the end of the season, it is revealed that he doesn't hold any qualifications and must attend Greendale as a student in order to obtain a degree. Chang has an antagonistic relationship with almost every student and faculty member at Greendale. He is on especially bad terms with Professor Ian Duncan who potentially foreshadows Chang's lack of teaching qualifications when, in "Advanced Criminal Law," he notes Chang demands to be called "Señor" because he is not a real professor. In the first-season finale, Chang and Duncan come to blows when Chang becomes a student and Duncan is suspended from teaching, resulting in a physical battle at the end-of-the-year dance. Though Duncan gets a restraining order against him, Chang in turn nullifies this by getting a restraining order against Duncan, thus allowing him to take his anthropology class. They seem to have formed a grudging respect for each other since.
Chang Is a very unbalanced man whose mania grows over the course of his time at the school. His erratic temperament usually stems from whether or not he is in a position of authority; it is then that he experiences inexplicable self confidence and extreme narcissism. Not only does this feed his delusions of grandeur but also leads him to become a bully. He was once obsessed with Latin culture and proclaimed himself "El Tigre Chino" ( The Chinese Tiger ). As a teacher he took an almost sadistic approach to his job and often intimidated his students with his unbalanced behavior. This attitude surfaced again when he was hired as a school security guard and abused his authority on a larger scale. On the other hand, he also experiences bouts of depression, self pity and neediness. This contrasts his louder and more obnoxious personality suggesting that it's just a mask for his own insecurities. This was passively shown when he used self-deprecating humor to mock his own shortcomings. His time as a student illustrated how desperate Chang could be as he struggled to be accepted by the study group. It's hinted thatmonkey gas that he had inhaled had started to poison his mind. It fueled his delusions and pushed the worst of aspects of his personality to the extreme. In his later years at school he seemed to calm down when he joined the Save Greendale Committee. Despite a few relapses he considered the committee his friends and liked who he was when he was with them. At the end of the 2015 semester at Greendale he announced to his colleagues that he was gay. It was unclear whether this was a legitimate declaration or yet another example of his capricious nature.
Chang has been a long time employee at Greendale. His known family includes a mother who refused to breastfeed him as a child, a deceased twin sister named Connie, who he claims to have "reabsorbed", and a brother known only as Rabbi Chang. He was at one point married to a woman named Alessandra.
Chang started his nearly decade long association with Greendale as a Spanish teacher. This job came to an end after an anonymous source revealed to Dean Pelton that he faked his teaching credentials. Chang was immediately fired but was allowed to enroll at the school as a music student with hopes of also earning a legitimate teaching degree. However, his personal life took a turn for the worse when he and his wife got divorced. This was due to him having gotten roofied and having an affair with another student at a Halloween party. He was kicked out and after a brief stay at Jeff Winger's apartment, eventually took up residence in theGreendale ventilation system. Dean Pelton learned about his situation and hired him to be a campus security guard. Chang grew mentally unstable during this time and used his job to stage a coup d'état and took over the school. After his "regime" came to an end, he returned to the school months later claiming to have amnesia. He was gradually accepted back and Shirley even employed him at her sandwich shop. Ultimately he eventually dropped the ruse, went to jail for his crimes, and was put in a work-release program employed at Greendale as a math teacher. His current position at school is unknown but he is now officially a member of the "Save Greendale Committee". Chang's hobbies include paintball, playing keytar, riding his scooter; he also used to swim regularly at the local YMCA.
During the 2009-2010 semester at Greendale, Chang first met the study group with whom he would have a strained relationship over the years. He also began a petty feud with Dr. Ian Duncan whom he felt the professor had no respect for him. He had a brief separation form his wife which his student Jeff Winger helped bring a happy resolution to. Chang's poor relationship with his brother, Rabbi Chang, was revealed during the school's Family Day event. He later participated in the school's annual Paintball Assassin contest as a ringer sent in by Dean Pelton to prevent the students from winning the prize. As the year came to a close, Chang had concerns that his fraudulent qualifications as a Spanish teacher would be exposed and sought advice from Jeff about obtaining more faked credentials. Unbeknownst to him Annie would later learn about this due to her having left a Dictaphone behind which recorded their private conversation. Annie tipped off Dean Pelton and Chang's career as a Spanish teacher came to an end. He blamed Winger and went to the parking lot to wreck Jeff's Lexuswith his keytar. Annie later came forward as the guilty party and managed to convince Chang to enroll at Greendale and earn a legit degree. After officially becoming a student, Chang went to see Ian Duncan and asked him to help him cheat his way through school. The professor laughed in his face and ruthlessly mocked Chang. The taunting continued when they both attended the end of the year school function called "The Tranny Dance". Chang had to restrain himself from physically assaulting Duncan lest he be expelled from school for hitting a teacher. It wasn't until after Duncan got himself suspended that Chang got a roll of nickles and punched Ian in the face.
During Greendale's 2010-2011 semester, Chang continued to be enrolled as a student at Greendale. Early in the semester he made peace with Ian Duncan over the "Tranny dance" incident from last year. He tried on numerous occasions to be accepted study group with little success. On Halloween, a mysterious event took place during a party that Chang attended. Although no one can remember it (due to everyone supposedly being mass roofied), some evidence of what happened surfaced in the form of a voice mail Chang sent to Troy. It indicated Chang and Shirley had sex at the party which soon became a concern when she announced she was pregnant. When Chang discovers he might be a father he becomes obsessed with his possible parenthood and tried to become a part of Shirley's pregnancy. Ultimately the baby's father was revealed to be Shirley's ex-husband Andre's much to Chang's disappointment. During this time Chang briefly lived with Jeff for a short stint after his wife kicked him out due to his affair. He ended the year participating in the Paintball Assassingame forging brief alliances with Jeff and Abed, the math club and the cheerleaders before being eliminated by an invading army of paintball commandos. Along with a crowd of eliminated Greendale students he was there to witness Pierce Hawthorne win the competition.
At the start of the 2011-2012 semester at Greendale, Chang found himself homeless and living in the school's air vents. He hits his lowest point when his new "home" is flooded with monkey gas. It is later suggested this gas slowly began to poison his mind. Dean Pelton needed to replace some staff after the a drastic school budget cut forced him to cut costs. He offered Chang a job as a security under officer. In return for his "services," Dean Pelton gave him the closet in the cafeteria as a place to live. Chang burnt it down by accident while trying to "solve a mystery". Pelton overlooked what happened due to his culpability in the matter which caused the campus security chief Sgt. Nunez to resign over the cover up. Chang was promoted to Nunez's position and recruited a group of preteens to be his campus security force called "The Changlourious Basterds". Together they participated in the infamous "Pillow and Blanket" campus civil war fighting on the side of Troy and his Blanket fort. At the same time he began planning an outrageous plot to betray Pelton and take over the school. He implemented his plan when a riot broke out during a memorial that was being held in the cafeteria for the recently deceased Star-Burns. In the wake of the incident he replaced Pelton with a look-a-like and ingratiated himself with the Greendale school board members. Using his influence, along with his fake Dean, he had the study group blamed for the riot and expelled from Greendale. He establishes dictatorship over the campus and quickly drains its financial resources remaking the school as a monument to himself. This culminates in an expensive birthday extravaganza he throws at the end of the year. The study group crashes the party and brings his reign to an end. Chang flees to City College where he finds himself again living in the air vents of a school.
Chang is first seen approaching a mailman and giving him a Greendale stationary page. On it is a written statement claiming his name to be Kevin and that he has "Changnesia". Chang was brought to Greendale by his Doctor Ken Kedan and got the support of the school board members Richie and Carl to spend time there. They wanted to exploit Chang's purported condition to secure financial assistance from the study of his "Changnesia". Dean Pelton was skeptical until "Kevin" turned himself over to the authorities for his previous crimes as Chang. Pelton had Chang released from jail and reintroduced him to a horrified study group. Kevin acclimated to his new environment by getting a job atShirley's Sandwiches and becoming a model employee. Meanwhile, Greendale tried to secure a grant for $40,000 from the MacGuffin group to further study of Changnesia. The study group, minus Jeff who believed Chang was faking, helped in this endeavor. Jeff finally accepted Kevin had Changnesia after his investigation to prove it false caused an emberassing spectacle involving Chang's ex-wife Alessandra Chang. However, it's revealed Jeff's initial suspicions were true. Not only was Chang faking but he was also working for Dean Spreckfrom City College to destroy Greendale from within. One if his failed attempts included trying to sabotage a Christmas party the study group had with their history an professor Noel Cornwallis. Towards the end of the school year, Abed researched the study groups history and realized Ben Chang played an instrumental part in their formation. Once Abed informed him of this and suggested he was always one of them, Chang had a change of heart and refused to help Spreck with his plans . Before Jeff graduated from Greendale he had a daydream involving Chang saving him from being shot by his "Darkest Timeline" counterpart "Evil Jeff".
When the study group is unexpectedly reunited for another year at Greendale after they have graduated, they find Chang still at school sleeping in Group Study Room F. He decided to drop his Kevin persona, admitted his crimes and got probation for work release as a math teacher in Greendale. Along with fellow teacher Buzz Hickey, he shows Greendale's new Law professor Jeff Winger the perks of being on the teaching staff. When the campus menace known as the "Ass Crack Banditresurfaces, Chang volunteers to act as bait wearing a specially designed backwards costume. Chang briefly participates in a private inquest run by Mr.Stone looking into the death of Pierce Hawthorne. Chang becomes the leader of a gang of hoodlums known as the "Locker Boys" during a campus side game of "Hot Lava". He officially joins the "Save Greendale Committee" after Troy leaves and comes up with the mid term dance theme. Chang performs a one man show at an art house in front of a spectral audience, becomes a popular figure on campus thanks to a staus ranking app, and gets tied up after unknowingly walking in on a shady business transaction. He and the committee helps Buzz reconnect with his son Hank through a game of "Dungeons & Dragons". When the school is in the process of being sold to the Subway corporation, Chang betrays his friends and teams up Richie and Carl to stop their plans on saving Greendale. Despite trapping the committee in an underground laboratory, the sale to Subway is ultimately thwarted. Carl unwittingly entrusted Chang with millions of dollars they found. Afterwards it's later shown that Chang is once again a member of the committee and used the money to replace all his teeth with diamonds.
Chang returns for another year at Greendale with his transgressions the previous year already forgotten by the committee. Alongside with the rest of the group he welcomes new members Frankie Dart and Elroy Patashnik. Chang assists the committee in strategizing a response to an attack ad City College was to air and has his personal emails released when a hacker targets the school. He decides to try his hand at acting and his performance in a local stage production gets rave reviews. This leads to him landing a commercial where a catchphrase makes him an Internet sensation. He newfound celebrity got the attention of Hollywood and Chang left Greendale for a time to pursue an acting career. In what could have been a breakthrough role for him he ended up angering Steven Speilberg with his unprofessionalism. He was forced to return to his position on the Save Greendale Committee. He later attendedGarrett Lambert's wedding to Stacy with the committee where they all made spectacles of themselves. When a family scandal rocked Garrett's marriage, Chang saved their nuptials by giving an impassioned speech about not letting the world determine who they can love. At the end of the school year Chang speculates with the committee about what next semester might be like. During an emotional moment he declared to his friends that he was gay.
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