Professor, author of "Who indeed: A Critical analysis of Tv's "Who's the boss?"
The answer is not quite that simple, Mr. Abed. Few are.
— Professor Sheffield
Professor Peter Sheffield is the instructor of a class at Greendale Community College dedicated to the study of the 1980's TV sitcom Who's the Boss?. He spent years researching and studying the show and wrote a book with a deep analysis of its intricacies. He considers himself the foremost authority on the subject matter. His first and only appearance was in "Competitive Wine Tasting". He is portrayed by actor Stephen Tobolowsky.
In the study groups first year at Greendale, Abed put himself on the waiting list for a popular media studies course. It was taught by Professor Peter Sheffield author of "Who indeed: A Critical analysis of Tv's "Who's the boss?". Just like the book, which would serve as the courses textbook, the class was dedicated to the study of the popular Tony Danza sitcom "Who's the Boss?". It wouldn't be until the following school year during the Spring semester that Abed finally secured a spot in that class. On his first day Professor Sheffield welcomed the students and posed the obvious query to them: "Who was the Boss?". Abed confidently raised his hand and after the professor called on him replied that the "boss" was the character "Angela". Sheffield was amused at Abed's response and mocked him for it eliciting laughter from the other students.
He then got serious and told a confused Abed that the answer isn't that simple. Later, Abed read the entire textbook and then went back to Sheffield's class to discuss the matter further. The professor started to get annoyed that Abed questioned his authority on the subject. He showed off his photos with cast members and arrogantly pointed out his exhaustive research into the show. Abed continued to argue and ignored Sheffield's explanation that the question itself was meant to be rhetorical. The professor asked him to leave only to have Abed then criticizes him for not having an open mind. Angered at his presumptions, Sheffield jokingly proposes he teach the next class. Abed eagerly agrees unaware of the intended sarcasm in the suggestion. The following day, Abed presents his case to the class and Professor Sheffield as to why "Angela" should be considered the true boss.
Using detailed charts on the chalk board, he walks everyone through his theory. He concludes his presentation by saying that from every conceivable angle there can be only one empirically proven answer. He the turned to the professor who, crushed under the weight of the evidence, reluctantly agreed he was correct and "Angela Bower" was indeed the boss. Shaken by his defeat, a broken Sheffield angrily dismissed the class and the students quickly departed. Before he left too, Abed gave the professor some words of wisdom. Quoting directly from the "Who's the Boss" opening theme, Abed warns him about choosing between the "path you take" and "the path untaken". After he leaves, Sheffield opens a drawer on his desk and grabs a copy of a book analyzing the sitcom "What's Happening!!". As he reads it, Sheffield starts to clam down and relax ("Competitive Wine Tasting").
In the end, I was the beneficiary of so much more than getting to work on a hit show. Because of the generosity of spirit shown to me by those in the know at “Community” and their willingness to step over the line of comfort and give me a job at a moment when I was most afraid, I was able to feel the most overlooked element of the recovery process — a sense of purpose.
On April 14, 2011, actor Stephen Tobolowsky in an exclusive essay for the online entertainment new site "The Wrap" thanked the cast and crew of "Community". He was just recovering from open heart surgery when "Community" writer Emily Cutler contacted him for a part on the show. Although reluctant at first, he had assurances from Cutler, director Joe Russo and creator Dan Harmon that they would make the shoot go as comfortably for him as possible. While on set he reconnected with Yvette Nicole Brown and Chevy Chase with whom he had worked with on previous projects. The essay can be read in it's entirety HERE.