"I have always dreamt of playing charades with you, Jeffrey. Just not like this. And not on dry land"
- Dean Pelton
Dean Craig Pelton is a character in the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community. He is played and voiced by Jim Rash.
Pelton is the Dean of Greendale Community College. He is a graduate of Appatomax University and holds a Bachelors of Educations degree. Pelton has worked in Scholastics for over 10 years although his résumé could be seen as a poor reflection of this since all his previous places of employment have since shut down. At Greendale he is a well meaning but bumbling administrator who is just barely able to run the school. He has been competent enough to have had some success at Greendale proven by the fact that under his guidance enrollment increased by 25%. Pelton's primary goal has been to improve Greendale's reputation and prestige.
The Dean is shown to be a very upbeat and overall cheerful person. He enjoys interacting with his students and attempts to get them more involved in school functions, sometimes employing strong arm tactics to get them to volunteer ("Football, Feminism and You"), ("Debate 109"). On the surface Dean Pelton has a lot of pride in the school but it masks an obvious inferiority complex he has over its actual collegiate status ("Documentary Filmmaking: Redux"). He spends an inordinate amount of his time trying to improve Greendale's prestige though many of these attempts prove misguided ("Advanced Criminal Law"). In the same vein, Pelton goes to great lengths to be accepting or indiscriminate of others. His use of extreme political correctness often inadvertently leads to him being more offensive than intended ("Football, Feminism and You"). He has poor leadership skills and panics whenever emergencies occur ("Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts"). Pelton is aware of his shortcomings and berates himself frequently for being a "Bad Dean" ("Basic Story"). These insecurities allow him to be easily cowed by people with more forceful personalities ("Origins of Vampire Mythology"). His initial conservative personality faded as his more of his eccentricities surfaced. These quirks included using the word "Dean" as a pun and dressing up in elaborate costumes ("Paradigms of Human Memory"). The latter is an indulgence he likes to use in order to deliver news personally to his favorite students in the study group. Another quirk he has is his ambiguous sexuality which has been the subject of much debate. At one point Vice Dean Robert Laybourne described him as a "pansexual imp" ("Biology 101"). He hasn't confirmed his orientation even when pejoratively called a "fruit" by Leonard Rodriguez. Pelton responded to the taunt by stating it was "barely the whole truth" ("Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples"). Several possible indicators of his leanings are his often feminine cosplay, a hint of a past involvement with City College's Dean Spreck ("Basic Rocket Science") and also the obsession he has with Jeff Winger ("Studies in Modern Movement"). He further alludes to his orientation by describing his preferences as being a "never ending" magic handkerchief, stating that gay is "heavily in the mix" and "approximately two sevenths" of what he is. ("Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"). He also has an unabashed dalmatian fetish the basis of which is still unknown ("Investigative Journalism").
At the start of the 2009 semester at Greendale, Dean Pelton failed to deliver the rousing speech he hoped would encourage and inspire the new students on campus. He first met Jeff when Britta admits to using a crib sheet on a Spanish test. He heads up an academic tribunal made up of Ian Duncan and Ben Chang in order to deal with Britta's cheating. Later he blackmails Jeff into helping him get Troy to be the quarterback for Greendale's football team. Throughout the year his bizarre proclivities and man crush on Jeff start to become more apparent. At the end of the school year he accidentally invites two people dressed as dalmatians to the "Tranny Dance". When a drunk Ian Duncan disrupts the party with a lewd rap and then insults the Dean for his strange tastes Pelton suspends the professor.
Dean Pelton is heard announcing the start of the 2010 semester at Greendale over the P.A. system. He becomes more comfortable showing off his flamboyant side and begins dressing up in various outfits Starting with lederhosen. Pelton devises a scheme to preempt City Colleges new space program with one of Greendale's own which earns him the ire of his rival, Dean Spreck. During A Halloween party he unknowingly serves the students army surplus rations which contain a deadly contagion. During the rest of the school year, he takes a more personal interest in the study group, particularly Jeff. The end of the school year sees another paintball assassin game go out of control when the students destroy the campus again to win a $100,000 prize. The stakes of the competition become higher when it's revealed to be a City College plot orchestrated by Dean Spreck. Pelton is taken hostage and forced to watch as the students struggle valiantly against an army of City College Storm Troopers. Pelton is on hand to witness the final battle between he remaining players and witnesses Greendale triumph due to the efforts of a rebel alliance led by the study group and the shocking actions of Pierce Hawthorne.
At the beginning of season Three, Dean Pelton is determined to make Greendale Community College a more respectable and straight-laced institution. However, his efforts to reign in the school budget brings the ire of Vice Dean Laybourne of Greendale's AC annex, which is responsible for the majority of the school's budget. He turns to Chang for help when Greendale's security staff quits. Greendale's executive board asks Pelton to direct a new promotional advertisement but the production takes over the campus when Luis Guzmon offers to participate. As the new head of security Chang begins to plot a takeover of Greendale. Pelton cuts a deal with Subway to bring the restaurant to Greendale. Layboure continues to put pressure on Pelton, demanding that Troy be transferred to the AC program. Student unrest following student's death snowballs into a full scale riot, which gives Chang the opportunity to enact his scheme. Chang holds Pelton captive after replacing him with a lookalike Dean. Two months later he is rescued by the study group after being held captive in the boiler room beneatgh the cafeteria. Near the end of summer, he awards Pierce and Shirley the now vacant Subway spot to launch their own sandwich shop. When the two get into an argument over the ownership of the new business venture, Pelton had them settle their dispute in Greendale Court with him presiding as judge.
n the study group's fourth year at Greendale, Pelton devises a competition called "The Hunger Deans" in order to determine which students get to attend a "History of Ice Cream" course. He is forced to deal with the unexpected return of Ben Chang to campus who is supposedly suffering from amnesia. He is assigned the task by the school board to get a rich student to enroll at Greendale. Pelton throws a Sadie Hawkins dance which inspires Britta to organize a dance of her own. When the study group is traumatized by a recent event, Pelton helps them work through it with puppet therapy. Pelton role-plays as Jeff believing he swapped bodies with him. At the end of the year he presides over a graduation ceremony for Jeff and later attends a special dinner in the study room in honor of the graduate.
Dean Pelton is excited when Greendale graduate Jeff Winger returns to campus and assumed he intended to help the school deal with a lawsuit. While Jeff researched school records, Pelton shredded documents pertaining to the lawsuit. Jeff lectures Pelton about his dishonesty causing the Dean to plead with Jeff to stay and help make the school better. He offered him a teaching position which Jeff reluctantly accepts. The Dean later welcomes Jeff on his first day of his new job. Pelton later has Jeff form a "Save Greendale Committee" to improve campus life. When the "Ass Crack Bandit" menaced the campus again, Pelton bribed Star-Burns (who had faked his death) to take the fall for the crimes in return for dropping the outstanding meth charges against him. Pelton refused to authorize a bulletin board over site committee and sends custodial goons to take down a bulletin board Professor Hickey hung in the cafeteria without proper authorization. Pelton agreed to have a new status ranking app beta tested by Greendale which briefly creates a social caste system on campus. After payroll is late, he personally delivers his apology to Buzz and Jeff via a rap. Near the end of the school year, aninsurance liability appraiser hired by the city declares Greendale to be a property asset with great value. Pelton despairs when School board members Carl Bladt andRichie Countee decide to sell Greendale to the Subway corporation. The Dean teams up with the Save Greendale Committee in a last ditch effort to find a buried treasure on campus to save the school.
When the cafeteria roof collapses due to the Save Greendale Committee, Craig is forced to hire a consultant named Frankie Dart to take charge. He buys a Virtual Reality device and becomes obsessed with the digital world. The inventor of the VR machine, Elroy Patashnik, manages to remove Craig from the device and gets an invitation from the Dean to join the school. Not long after, Dean Pelton and the committee counter a City College attack ad by filming him honestly responding to charges they accused Greendale of. School board members Richie and Carl offer Craig a promotion to the school board if he becomes their token gay person. Pelton accepts but chafes at the masquerade and is thrown off the board when he admits to havong political opinions. Later, a deal is truck with the Colorado D.O.C. for Greendale to allow convicts to attend the school via teleprescence robots. A convict named Willy charms Pelton and the rest of the school much to Jeff's chagrin. This leads to a bizarre telepresence robot fight where Willy gains the upper hand. Craig interferes by turning off Willy's device and triumphantly carries away Jeff's damaged robot.
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