Community: Is Jeff Winger a Psychopath?

The above doesn’t go unnoticed, and can, in fact, be summarized in a single exchange between Jeff and Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs):

Britta: So this is a game to you? You put human beings into a state of emotional shambles for a shot at getting in my pants?
Jeff: Why can’t you see that for the compliment that it is?

But Jeff’s issues go well beyond self-interest and his self-described “exceptional” narcissism. Throughout the series’ six seasons (and hopefully a movie to come), he exhibits the chronic lack of behavioral controls indicative of psychopathy. Despite knowing full-well that he shouldn’t, he spends significant amounts of time lusting after Annie (Alison Brie), a teenager almost literally half his age. He repeatedly goes out of his way to come up with and then prove conspiracies that don’t exist, whether it’s his belief that Pierce had him removed from a biology class, or that another student is a secret pottery prodigy.

He’s similarly prone to violent outbursts, which, while not strictly one of the diagnostic points on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, is still often associated with the condition. This can be seen in the third season premiere, when Jeff attacks the study room table with an axe, and in the sixth season, when he impulsively throttles Abed (Danny Pudi), one of his closest friends.

Speaking of poor impulse control, Jeff also has a history of promiscuous sexual behavior, often getting involved with women he knows he shouldn’t. (Pierce’s ex-step-daughter being the most obvious example.) His phone contacts, as seen in “Politics of Human Sexuality,” are a showcase of problematically short-term relationships, flings so brief he doesn’t even learn the women’s names. Even his romance with Britta, the longest lasting relationship the audience is privy to, has its foundations in being abjectly noncommittal.

While one could argue that Jeff is simply living in the moment, a lack of realistic, long-term goals is yet another point on the Hare checklist, as well as one more behavioral trait that dogs him throughout the run of Community. Coupled with his failure to accept responsibility for his actions, this pathologically myopic worldview has dire and, ironically, long-lasting effects on Jeff’s life.

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