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"Look at me. It's clear to all of you that I am awesome. But I can never admit that because that would make me an ass."
Jeffrey Tobias "Jeff" Winger (born November 20, 1974) is a character in the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community. He is played and voiced by Joel McHale.
Jeff is a snarky lawyer who is disbarred of his position in the pilot after it is discovered he faked his law degree. This results in his law firm sending him back to community college to study for an actual law degree.
Jeff possesses a sarcastic wit along with a vain and egotistical personality; this is due to his mother over praising him when he was a child ("Beginner Pottery"). He is an Agnostic ("Comparative Religion"), although this can be seen as an example of his tendency not to put any effort into anything. He hates talking about his feelings and tries to avoid dealing with emotional conflicts ("Remedial Chaos Theory"). Despite this, he has a charming personality and is known for his persuasive arguments, a trait which served him well when he was an attorney. As Professor Kanepointed out to him ("Biology 101"), he keeps people at a distance and cannot open himself up to others; this is directly tied into his father's abandonment of him at an early age ("Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking"). He confessed to his ex-boss Ted ("Accounting for Lawyers") that he admired the cool looking divorce lawyer hired by his parents because he did his job without letting his personal feelings get in the way. This, along with an unfortunate incident with a bully named "Big Cheddar" ("Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism"), helped shape the negative aspects to his personality. However, Jeff's time with the study group has been a more positive influence and started to change him for the better. When Alan Connor tells him he was responsible for his disbarment, Jeff thanks him as he genuinely values his time spent at Greendale ("Introduction to Finality"). Although the group originally tended to look to Jeff as their leader, they began to rely on him less in this role.
Jeff was born in Denver, Colorado on November 20, 1974 to William and Doreen Winger. He is of Welsh descent. When Jeff was young, his father divorced from his mother and later had another son named William Jr.
As an adult, Jeff became a very successful defense attorney specializing in DUI/DWAI/DUID cases, traffic offenses, and juvenile crimes for over six years. He worked for a law firm called Hamish, Hamish & Hamlin that was founded by Ted. At work he was often partnered with another lawyer named Mark and the two were known as Tango & Cash respectively. A drunk driving case Jeff handled involved a Psychology Professor named Ian Duncan with whom he eventually became good friends with. At the height of his success at the firm, Jeff's fraudulent academic credentials were exposed by a colleague of his named Alan Conner. Jeff was immediately disbarred with his license suspended until he earned a legitimate degree.
After his law firm discovered that Jeff's bachelor's degree was falsified, Jeff was disbarred. He enrolled at Greendale Community College to earn a legitimate degree. He hoped to exploit his friendship with a professor who worked there, Ian Duncan, in order to secure an easy graduation. Another student named Britta Perry caught his eye and he pretended to be the head of a Spanish study group to impress her. Unexpectedly, a real study group is formed with other members of his class thanks to Abed Nadir. Jeff became the reluctant leader of the group and together they dealt with the unusual college life at Greendale. Jeff also had to contend with a few romantic troubles throughout the year. This included dating his Statistics professor Michelle Slater, an unexpected attraction, and his continuing flirtation with Britta. His relationship with Britta reached it's climax at the annual Paintball Assassin game when they had sex. This resulted in a love triangle showdown at the Transfer Dance Formal at the end of the school year. Michelle and Britta both publicly declared their love for him and Jeff found himself unable to choose. Jeff left the dance without answering either of them only to complicate matters further. He ran into Annie outside the dance and after commiserating over their respective relationship troubles the two shared a moment and ended up kissing.
On Jeff's return to Greendale for the study group's second year together, he immediately had to deal with repercussions from his actions at the Tranny Dance last semester. Jeff is forced to reevaluate his goals after a brief return to his former life. Among the various escapades and hijinks he had with the study group, Jeff dealt with his complicated feelings for Annie, his increasingly acrimonious relationship with Pierce and a secret affair he was keeping from the study group. He ended the school year participating in a second Paintball Assassin game where his issues with Pierce came to a head. During the contest Pierce quit the study group just as the paintball contest itself escalated. Greendale's rival school City College interjected themselves into the competition which led to Jeff and Troy gathering the remaing players and forming an alliance against the interlopers. Under thier leadership a two pronged assault was launched against the paintball invaders. Jeff was eliminated while leading a squad of students to take down the Paintball gatling gun. Ultimately, Pierce won the paintball contest and saved the school much to the Jeffs shock. Afterwards, Jeff and the study group agreed to forgive Pierce for his past behavior. Jeff personally invited him to rejoin them next semester but Pierce refused and declared he was done with the group.
In the study group's third year at Greendale, Jeff started the new semester off on the wrong foot with his latest teacher, Professor Marshall Kane. He also spent his year in therapy having dealing with his daddy issues, facing his complicated feelings for Annie, discovering a shared past he had with Shirley, and negotiating a peace between the warring factions of Pillowtown and Blanketsburg. When the Biology class was cancelled before the end of the school year, he and the group are forced to lose their credits and retake the class. In anger, they instigated a riot in the cafeteria which led to them all being expelled. They redeemed themselves when Jeff and the group save Greendale from the rule of it's new overlord Ben Chang. They are all reinstated but Troy is forced to join the Air Conditioner Repair School and told never to see his friends again. Despite the loss, Jeff and rest of the group retake Biology during the summer. On the day of the final exams he was asked to represent Shirley against Pierce in a Greendale Summer Court case over the title of ownership for thier joint business venture "Shirley's Sandwiches". He faced off against Pierce's representative, his former law firm colleague Alan Conner. Alan bribed him with his old job at the firm to throw the case. Instead, he resolves the dispute amicably with a "Winger Speech". In retaliation, Alan told Jeff he was responsible for getting him fired. Jeff already knew and thanked him as he sincerely appreciated his time spent at Greendale.
In the study group's fourth year at Greendale, Jeff is actually eager to start the year. He reveals to everyone that he is only a few credits shy from graduating having taken additional courses online over the summer. He is forced to participate in a competition called "'The Hunger Deans" in order to secure spots for each of the study group members in a class they all signed up for. In his personal life, Jeff finally gets closure with his father issues. He reunites with his father William Winger on Thanksgiving Day and also is introduced to his half brother Willy Jr. whom he bonds with over how poorly their father treated them. He has a similar bonding moment with Pierce after he agreed to go to an old fashioned barber shop with him. He also investigated Ben Chang's claim of amnesia when he returned to school. He continues to open up to the study group even sharing with them his most shameful secret and owned up to his past misdeeds. After passing his History class, he gets enough credits to graduate and starts to feel anxiety over leaving his friends to return to his former life as a lawyer. He imagines a scenario involving "The Darkest Timeline" which ends up reaffirming that he is no longer the selfish guy he was when he started at school. Later at a graduation ceremony thrown by his friends, he thanks them for changing him for the better.
After a law firm he started goes under, Jeff is reunited with the study group for another year at Greendale Community College. He accepts a teaching position at school as the new Law professor. He and the study group join a "Save Greendale Committee" tasked with bringing harmony to the school's campus. Jeff and Annie investigate the campus menace known as the "Ass Crack Bandit" which comes to an abrupt end when they learn of Pierce Hawthorne's death. After attending his funeral, Jeff and the group submit to a private inquest into Pierces death stipulated by his will. For his participation he is bequeathed a bottle of fine scotch and a Liquid nitrogen cooled cylinder of Pierce's sperm. Jeff joins in a campus wide game of "Hot Lava" hosted by Abed in honor of Troy who is leaving Greendale. Jeff and the Save Greendale Committee decorate the Mid Term dance with disastrous results. He later helps Duncan try to woo Britta and attempts to take down Shirley when an app makes her a bully again. Jeff later discovers a stash of possibly lucrative textbooks which he and the committee try unsuccessfully to fence. He joins the committee in trying to help Buzz reconnect with his son Hank through a game of Dungeons & Dragons. On his fortieth birthday he takes anti-aging pills and falls into a coma and imagined he was in a G.I.Joe cartoon. when Greendale is about to be sold to the Subway corporation, Jeff and Britta try to cope with the situation by becoming engaged. The two reluctantly join the rest of the committee in a desperate quest to save the school. During the quest, Jeff used his feelings for Annie to power an emotion fueled computer that freed him and his friends from an underground laboratory they were trapped in. After the committee is successful in stopping the sale of the school Jeff and Britta officially call off their engagement.
Jeff returned for a sixth year at Greendale triumphant after having rescued the school from closing. However, a disaster the Save Greendale Committee failed to prevent led to Dean Pelton hiring a consultant named Francesca "Frankie" Dart. Initially Jeff clashed with Frankie but eventually acceoted her and inventor Elroy Patashnik into the group. He and the new committee dealt with an attack ad City College was going to air against Greendale, a program allowing convicts to attend school via tele-robots, having their personal emails released to the public by a hacker and getting drawn into yet another paintball conflict. Throughout the semester Jeff becomes increasingly depressed worried that he's stuck at Greendale while all his friends eventually get to leave. Jeff has an emotional breakdown and admitted this to Abed. He is forced to confront this fear at the end of the school year. Both Annie and Abed announce they are leaving for the summer to pursue opportunities outside of Greendale. He had a conversation with Annie where he confessed his anxieties along with his true feelings for her. She convinced him to accept the pros and cons of his situation and they shared a brief kiss. Afterwards he drove Annie and Abed to the airport and saw them off. He went to The Vatican bar and shared a drink with the renaming members of the committee.