Abed Nadir (portrayed by Danny Pudi) is a graduate of Greendale Community College. Abed had a difficult life growing up, due in part to his parents. His father is a Palestinian from Gaza and his mother Polish American, which was a source of cultural discord. Abed has an undiagnosed psychological condition which makes it hard for him to understand people. His mother left his family when he was 6 years old and Abed assumed his father blamed him for it. This created distance between them and resulted in Abed alienating himself further by immersing himself in American pop-culture. His father allowed him to enroll at Greendale Community College only so he could take classes which would help Abed one day take over his dad's Falafel restaurant. Eventually Abed convinced his father to let him study Film making instead. During this time he grew close to a study group he joined, particularly Troy Barnes who became his best friend and roommate. After four years at school he graduated with a film degree but was unable to find work as a filmmaker besides doing a commercial for Jeff's law firm. After an unexpected reunion with his study group at Greendale, Abed decided to re-enroll in order to learn how to work better with people. He and his study group also joined a special "Save Greendale Committee" tasked with improving the school.
Britta, I've got self-esteem falling out of my butt. That's why I was willing to change for you guys because when you really know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for other people isn't such a big deal.
In his first year at Greendale, Abed introduced himself to Jeff and provided him detailed information not only about himself but also their Spanish 101 classmate Britta Perry. Abed is later asked by Britta to join her and Jeff for what they believed to be a Spanish study group. He in turn invited a number of other students from their class and the study group was born. Abed was enrolled in business and restaurant management classes to take over his fathers Falafel restaurant, despite his desire to take film classes and become a director. Britta convinced Abed to pursue his dreams of making movies and he switched his major to film. His father Gubi disapproved until he viewed a short film Abed made and was moved by how he was finally able to express himself. Aside from his filmmaking abilities, Abed also makes a name for himself on campus by orchestrating a Chicken Fingers syndicate and acquitting himself quite well during the schools annual Paintball Assassin game. Throughout the semester he becomes close to Troy and by the end of the year they became the best of friends. After Troy is kicked out of his dad's house, he tried to suggest to Abed that he move into his dorm room. Abed refuses stating it would be too much of a strain on their relationship. Although disappointed, Troy ultimately sees the wisdom of Abed's decision and moves in with Pierce instead.
Abed's second year at school sees his friendship with Troy become even stronger. He takes part in various campus shenanigans such as the launch of Greendale's space simulator, building a blanket fort in his dorm room, filming a documentary on Jesus, and a mysterious outbreak on Halloween. He also is forced to deal with some personal issues and suffers an emotional breakdown at Christmas. As the year continues, Abed is enlisted by Jeff to act as "Dungeon Master" and oversee a game of "Dungeons and Dragons" with the study group and a fellow student named Neil. He later films a documentary of the group when they visit Pierce in the hospital after he overdoses on pain meds. On Abed's birthday, Jeff tries to throw him a "Pulp Fiction" themed surprise party but it turns out Abed has his own plans to celebrate the occasion. He ends the year by participating in the annual Paintball Assassin games. The stakes are raised when City College joins the game and he assumes a Han Solo persona to help lead the Greendale student body against the invaders.
Chaos already dominates enough of our lives. The universe is an endless, raging sea of randomness. Our job isn't to fight it but to weather it together on the raft of life. A raft held together by those few, rare, beautiful things that we know to be predictable.
Abed's third year at school sees him moving into an apartment with Troy. When his favorite TV show went on hiatus, Britta introduced him to "Inspector Spacetime" which becomes his latest pop culture fixation. A house warming party for his new apartment had him imagining various scenarios including a dark reality with which he becomes obsessed. It also leads to Abed inviting Annie to move in with him and Troy. A psychology test he took suggested he might be the sanest one in the study group, but his actions the rest of the year prove otherwise. His addiction to celebrity impersonators puts him in debt and causes a rift with Troy. This comes to a head when they have a disagreement over the creation of a new Fluffy Town fort. Although Jeff helped resolve the conflict, Abed feared Troy's budding romance with Britta might also tear them apart. However, a bigger concern arises after the study group is expelled from school thanks to Chang. Eventually he and the group are reinstated at school but not without losing Troy to the Greendale Air Conditioning Repair School. This causes Abed to retreat into his fantasies via "The Dreamatorium" and assume the identity of "Evil Abed". A "Winger speech" snaps him out of his delusion. Abed is then reunited with Troy, who freed himself from his obligations to the AC school.
"Biology 101": Abed freaks out over the loss of his favorite TV show and Britta helps him find a show to replace it.
During Abed's fourth year at Greendale, he continues his therapy with Britta and has anxiety about this possibly being the last year the study group is together, now that Jeff is graduating. He also deals with the fact that Troy is now in a relationship with Britta. He and Troy later go to an Inspector Spacetime convention where he meets up with another online friend named Toby Weeks. At school he is surprised to discover another online friend who is aligned with a campus clique the study group is feuding with. Inspired by their love of "body swapping" genre movies, the Troy & Abed duo decides to act out the phenomenon in real life. Abed attends a Sadie Hawkins dance with two different dates in order to live out a classic sitcom trope, only to be caught up in a real-life romantic plot twist. Eventually Abed accepts that Jeff is moving on from school and he creates a special graduation gift for him. He researches and maps out a detailed timeline of each study group member's life before Greendale, hoping to show that it was their destiny to become friends.
"History 101": Freaked out that it's the study group's senior year and that it means the end of the study group's friendship, Abed retreats into the "happy place" in his mind - a sitcom version of his life.
"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations": Pierce, Troy, Annie and Abed go to Shirley's to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with her in-laws but are unable to deal with the annoying relatives and find themselves seeking a way out.
"Basic Human Anatomy": on the anniversary of Troy and Britta's first date, Abed swaps bodies with Troy.
After graduation, Abed found it difficult to find a film job. He did a commercial for Jeff but wasn't paid when he left the project due to creative differences. Once Jeff accepted a job at Greendale as a Law professor, Abed and the rest of study group re-enrolled. His first class back he has a nervous breakdown studying actor Nicholas Cage's body of work. Abed joins a special "Save Greendale Committee along with the rest of the study group. He later comforts his best friend when at Troy is assaulted by the "Ass Crack Bandit". Upon learning of Pierce Hawthorne's death, Abed joins the study group in mourning him. A man named Mr.Stone, acting under instructions from Pierce's will, gives the group a polygraph test. It's revealed Abed has access to Jeff's Netflix account, installed geo tracking devices in each study group member and manipulated Annie with a fake Facebook account. Stone told Abed that Pierce always thought he was crazy and bequeathed him a liquid nitrogen cooled cylinder of Pierce's sperm. Abed is later forced to say goodbye to Troy who is leaving Greendale to pursue an amazing opportunity. In his honor Abed hosts a campus wide game of "Hot Lava" to say goodbye to his best friend. Abed reunites with Rachel and tries to convince Annie to let his girlfriend be their new roommate. He bonds with Professor Hickey after they are forced to spend a night together and along with the committee helped Buzz reconnect with his son Hank over a game of Dungeons & Dragons. When Greendale is about to be sold to the Subway corporation, Abed, Dean Pelton and Annie lead the rest of the committee on a desperate quest to save the school.
Abed returns for a sixth year at Greendale triumphant after having rescued the school from closing. However, there was one task that Abed's Save Greendale Committee did not complete which led to a disastrous outcome. This required Dean Pelton to hire a consultant named Francesca "Frankie" Dart to join the committee whom Abed was leery of at first. Eventually he and his friends accepted her and inventor Elroy Patashnik into the group. He and Annie agreed to let Britta stay at their apartment after her parents reached out to them on Facebook.
Abed joined the study group to meet people and to learn Spanish. Although Abed is well-liked and accepted by the group he admits to being the outcast due to his inability to understand or properly express emotions. The observer of the group, he often sits quietly while everyone talks and argues, occasionally entering the conversation with a reference to a TV show or movie that is analogous to the situation. Abed became best friends with Troy Barnes and they are usually seen hanging out together and coming up with crazy ideas to put into action.
Troy and Abed are best friends whose bromance has been prominently featured on the show. The other members of the study group are both amused and disturbed at how close the two are. Their many misadventures at Greendale inevitably drag their friends into their hijinks and the entire school a few times as well. Being that Abed is unable to adequately express emotion, and Troy is overly emotional, this has led to a few conflicts between them. They soon make up, however, as they understand they are better together than apart. In the group's fifth year at school, Troy accepts an amazing opportunity but is forced to leave Greendale because of it. Abed has trouble saying goodbye to his best friend but eventually lets him go. They share one last adventure at school before he departs.
Jeff and Abed were the first members of the study group to meet on camera (Abed had met and talked to Britta prior to his conversation with Jeff although it's not shown). As Abed is someone who has trouble understanding others he admires Jeff's ability to easily connect with people. Although Jeff is annoyed at times by his constant pop culture referencing, he respects Abed's opinions and often sees value in his observations. After a brief falling out happened between them, Jeff agreed to help Abed with his problem of connecting with others as long as Abed helps him try to treat them right. Both value their friendship with each other and Abed even created an elaborate deception one time to maintain it.
Abed and Annie share a mostly fraternal dynamic and friendship marked by occasional forays into role-playing. Depending on what persona Abed assumes, Annie has been shown to be attracted to him. The two share a kiss during the second paintball tournament when Abed role plays as Han Solo and Annie assumes the part of his Princess Leia. For now, the attraction is mostly played up as a running gag, and whether it's indicative of any deeper feelings between them is unclear. Regardless, the two still enjoy a solid friendship and even have a secret handshake.
When it comes to Abed, Britta tends to take a more protective role towards him and worries about his obsession with pop-culture and inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. On several occasions he has had to reassure her he understands the difference. However, during the study group's third year at Greendale together that changed. He engages in more role playing in his newly created play room called The Dreamatorium and runs up a high tab hiring celebrity impersonators to take part in his activities. He eventually admits to having problems and needing therapy and asks Britta, who had declared psychology as her major, to help him.
Shirley, much like Britta, often treats Abed in a motherly way. Along with Jeff, she too gets annoyed by his childish antics and sometimes questions how close his close relationship to Troy really is. For the most part, Shirley tries to be tolerant of other religious beliefs of the study group including Abed. A running gag on the show sees her trying to convert the other members of the study group to her faith, she suggested that Abed be baptized once while he was in a catatonic state. One time she and Abed did manage to come to an understanding on their different beliefs when he filmed a religious viral video for her church . She also set him up with a girl from her church for the school Sadie Hawkins dance.
Abed has the least interaction with Pierce in the study group. Pierce has a tendency to mispronounce Abed's name as "Ay-bed" and make racist comments about his heritage. Like the rest of the study group, Abed tolerates Pierce's comments and doesn't take them seriously. Pierce is often jealous of the close relationship Troy and Abed have and expresses disappointment that they won't let him in on their shenanigans. His envy of their friendship is a meta reference to the fact that originally Pierce and Troy were to be best friends in a "Beavis and Butthead" type capacity. Although Abed has trouble expressing his feelings he did tell Pierce at one point that he hated him for ruining the American version of Inspector Spacetime. After Pierce dies, Abed is bequeathed a canister of his sperm. Abed is also told by Pierce's executor Mr.Stone that Pierce never knew what Abed was talking about and thought he was crazy.
Abed's relationship with his father , Gubi Nadir, has been strained since his mother left them both. He at first wanted Abed to take over the family Falafel restaurant business. This changed after he saw a video Abed produced about his own childhood. Gubi was moved so much by it that it made him realize his son had talent. He and Abed came to an understanding and Gubi agreed to pay for his classes, saying that he wanted Abed to do whatever he wanted if it helped people understand him. Gubi later returns for the school's "Family Day" BBQ and brought Abed's cousin Abra with him.
During Abed's second year at Greendale, the Vice president was due to visit the Greendale College prompting a visit from the Secret Service to make sure the campus was safe. Abed immediately noticed thier covert surveillence of the school which brought him to the attention of Agent Vohlers. Despite finding no evidence that he was a threat, she continued to investigate him. Abed suggested she had romantic motives for her actions which she denied. They later had a "date" by watching a Kickpuncher movie in his dorm room, although she was viewing it while outside inside in a surveillance van.
Pavel is a Polish student at Greendale introduced in Abed's first year at school. Because of their shared Polish heritage (they often speak to each other in their native tongue) and the fact that they used to live next to each other in the school dormitory, they have become good friends. He has a laidback and easy-going disposition and is very accepting of Abed's quirks. He assisted Troy and Abed in the creation of their first blanket fort, Fluffy Town. Pavel, along with Garrett, is also seen assisting Abed as a member of his film crew in various episodes.
Toby is an "Inspector Spacetime" fan who became fast friends with Abed after discussing their mutual love of the show online. He meets up with Abed at "InspecTicon" a convention for "Inspector Spacetime" fans, and the two instantly connect. However, he reacts poorly when Abed rejects his offer to join him in Britain to attend the "Demiceninspecticon" convention. Toby traps Abed inside a faux X-7 Dimensionizer hoping to change his mind. When Troy arrives on the scene he easily sees through Toby's lies and realizes Abed needs him. He sends Toby packing and rescues a grateful Abed who was confident Troy would save him.
On Abed's fourth year at school he took two women to the the Sadie Hawkins dance. Neither date was aware of the other as Abed was trying to pull of a television sitcom trope. He was assisted in thus endeavor by a coat check attendance girl he met named Rachel. As they kept the trope going Abed was oblivious to the fact that an actual attraction was growing between him and Rachel. Abed finally realized what was going on after he inadvertently hurt her feelings. He decided to do another trope where he publicly apologized for what happened and begged her to forgive him. Rachel was touched by his actions and asked him on a date which Abed eagerly agreed to. The never went on that date though. It wasn't until after his graduation and subsequent re-enrollment at the school that Abed met Rachel again. She forgave him for not calling her back and the two officially started dating. Abed was worried he would screw the relationship up and tried to get her to move into his apartment. Rachel refused but told him as long as he is honest with her their relationship will be alright.
“ Chaos already dominates enough of our lives; the universe is an endless raging sea of randomness. Our job isn't to fight it, but to weather it, together, on the raft of life. A raft held together by those few, rare beautiful things we know to be predictable.”— Abed
“Ropes? Vines. Vines? Let him finish!”— Britta
“Us. It won't matter what happens to us as long as we stay honest and accepting of each other's flaws and virtues: Annie will always be driven, Shirley will always be giving, Pierce will never apologize, Britta's sort of a wild card from my perspective, and Jeff will forever remain a conniving son of a bitch.”— Abed
Abed's favorite movie is a tie between Ghostbusters, An American Werewolf in London, Back to The Future, Blade Runner, Stand By Me, Stripes, Star Wars IV through VI, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jaws, Raising Arizona, Jurassic Park, Seven, The Matrix, Goonies, Breakfast Club, Real Genius, Better Off Dead,The Fog of War, and Pulp Fiction. ("[]")
In the Season One episode "The Art of Discourse", Abed and Troy figure out their porn star names by putting the name of their grade school and favorite soda together. Abed's name is "Henry David Thoreau Diet Squirt".
Abed often does movie spoofs, though he prefers the term homage.
Abed has trumped two professors' research thesis: He was the exception to Ian Duncan's Duncan Principle, and he disproved Professor Sheffield's analysis of the TV show "Who's the Boss?". Though in reference to the Duncan Principle, Ian Duncan thinks Abed is the exception, but the Duncan Principle is still in effect - it's just that the scientists fell for it before Abed (the test subject) did.
His age has never been directly stated. It is suggested that he is at least 21, since he was seemingly able to enter The Ballroom and buy drinks for himself during Troy's birthday party with no trouble. This would place him somewhere in between Troy and Britta.
Although he is never shown behind the wheel, it has been indicated in the series that Abed drives: Jeff asks Abed to park his car for him in Spanish 101, and in Pillow and Blankets Part 2, the narrator points out that Abed's parking fine goes unpaid.