I was gonna be the first person in my family to graduate from community college. Everyone else graduated from normal college.
— Troy Barnes
Troy in Season Five
Troy Barnes (played by Donald Glover) is a graduate from Riverside High School who currently attends Greendale Community College. At Riverside, Troy was a popular student who was the star quarterback of the football team and also the prom king. He had many admirers at school including his fellow classmate at the time Annie Edison who would later join him at Greendale. He had the interest of many elite universities but couldn't handle the pressure of other people's expectations. The night before the game that the college recruiters were to attend, he intentionally dislocated both of his shoulders (or injured his knee, accounts vary) doing a keg flip at a party. Troy's self inflicted injuries left him with few options for a higher education. Greendale came to his attention after being handed a promotional flyer by Ben Chang while hanging out with his friends at the Greendale Mall. Ultimately he chose the school because it was close to his house, and because he saw a late night commercial for Greendale which had a student giving a thumbs up sign in a "cool way."
Troy begins the series as an arrogant, selfish jock who is so concerned with keeping his former status as the big man on campus that he still wears his letterman jacket for the first couple days of school. Jeff implied that Troy wanted so badly to be liked that he based a lot of what he did just for other people. As the series went on, Troy evolved from his original persona into a quirky and goofy nerd with an emotional but responsible and sweet side. The transformation is largely due to Abed's mutually beneficial friendship, which Troy seemed to lack in his high school years. Troy cares deeply about his friends and has been willing to sacrifice himself for their sake on several occasions (("Epidemiology"), ("First Chang Dynasty")). It is implied in that Troy's presence in the group is needed to keep away chaos (("Remedial Chaos Theory"), ("Course Listing Unavailable")). Despite his heroic and lovable traits, Troy does have numerous insecurities and something of a childish personality. It is noted by Abed that Troy is extremely emotional, easily distracted, and is insecure about his level of intelligence ("Pillows and Blankets"). He struggles to be viewed as an adult the rest of the study group due to his juvenile antics with Abed.
Troy (along with Pierce, Shirley and Annie), is asked by Abed to join Jeff and Britta in a Spanish study group. When it's discovered that Jeff lied about being a Spanish tutor, the rest of the study group kicks him out. When Troy and the others later find Jeff depressed on the steps of the library, they all take pity on him and invite him back. Troy and Abed soon become fast friends and a full blown bromance develops. He also becomes more comfortable with college life and ditches his varsity jacket along with his jock mentality. He also spent the year oblivious to Annie's obvious school girl crush on him until he was made aware of it by Jeff and Britta. When he helps Britta out at her dance recital it lays the seeds for future developments between them. An encounter with Jerry the janitor makes Troy aware of the exceptional repair man skills he possesses. At the end of the semester, his father kicks him out of the house to make room for his much younger girlfriend. Troy tries to move in with Abed in his dorm room but is told by his friend that living together at this point would put too much of a strain on their friendship. He instead accepts a previous offer he got from Pierce and moves into his mansion with him.
Troy is still adjusting to living with Pierce when he returns to school. Now in his sophomore year, he and the study group take Anthropology 101 together. Pierce learns that Troy had been quoting his offensive comments on a twitter account called "Old White Man Says," but eventually forgives him when he finds out how popular the account had become. Troy makes a gruesome discovery at the mansion when he finds Pierce's mom dead. On Halloween, he rescues everyone from a mysterious contagion brought on by taco meat although everyone's memory of the event is erased by government agents. Troy later receives a voice mail that hints Chang hooked up with Shirley that same night. Troy discovers on his birthday that he is actually turning 21 years old and the study group goes take him to a a bar to celebrate. He takes an acting class with Britta and lies about a childhood trauma, at first to win the respect of his classmates but later to to tak advantage Britta's attraction to "damaged" men. He and Abed build a blanket fort together, have a friendly competition over the affections of the school librarian and rally the Greendale students when the school is invaded by City College.
"Anthropology 101": Troy is upset with Jeff for "hogging the doughnuts"; Pierce discovers Troy has been quoting him on a twitter account called "Old White man says".
"Basic Rocket Science": Troy assumes control of the "Eleven Herbs & Space Experience" when the Winnebago, along with him and the rest of the study group, are towed off school property before it's debut at a press conference announcing it as part of Greendale's new space program.
"Epidemiology": At a school sponsored Halloween party, Troy reverts back into his original jock persona as a horrifying epidemic grips the rest of the attendees.
"Competitive Wine Tasting": Troy takes an acting class with Britta and lies about a past traumatic experience which gets him top marks in class and also the attention of Britta who becomes attracted to him.
In Troy's third year at school, he and Abed finally move in together. They also later welcome Annie as the roommate at their apartment. His talent as a repairman gets him the attention of the Air Conditioning Repair school annex. Throughout the semester, the head of the A/C department Vice-Dean Robert Laybourne tries to convince Troy to join them enticing him with the perks of being in an elite A/C secret society. A schism forms between him and Abed while at the same time Troy finds himself getting closer to Britta who starts to return his unrequited affections. While he is constructing a Pillow Fort with Abed they have a falling out resulting in a campus wide civil war. Although the best friends make up, Troy and the study group are later expelled by the school board thanks to Ben Chang having framed them for causing a riot at school. Troy and the group eventually manage to expose Chang as the true culprit and redeem themselves by saving the school from his rule. However, he is forced to leave his friends and join the AC school due to their assistance during the crisis. Over the summer, a shocking death at the AC school has Troy convinced it was a murder. After confronting the culprit he wins his freedom from the school and is able to reunite with his friends.
"Biology 101": Troy and the study group return to Greendale for their third year at school.
Troy started his fourth at school in a relationship with Britta. On Halloween, Troy and Abed dress up as Calvin and Hobbes and Shirley warns Troy about not letting Britta pressure him into anything he isn't ready for yet. Troy, Britta Abed, Jeff and Annie all attend the Inspector Spacetime convention. He becomes jealous when Abed introduces him to a new friend he made online called Toby Weeks. He and Annie investigate Chang's mysterious return to school. Troy has a traumatic balloon ride with the rest of the study group and reveals to them his most shameful secret: he started the Greendale Fire of '03. On the anniversary of his first date with Britta, Troy pretends to "swap" bodies with Abed. It's later revealed he did this in order to avoid admitting to her that their relationship wasn't working. He eventually comes clean and breaks up with Britta. When Abed tries to piece together any unknown connections between the study group, Troy recalls how he intentionally injured his knee in a keg flip and how he previously lied about not knowing who Annie was. He later makes the group realize that their past history's are all linked by a fateful day at the Greendale Mall when they all went to Yogurtsburgh.
"History 101": Troy and Britta are now a couple and have their first fight.
"Paranormal Parentage": Shirley expresses her concern to Troy about his relationship with Britta; later Britta asks Troy if the could skip Vicki's Halloween party and go watch an episode of "Inspector Spacetime"
It's devastating the idea, it's heart wrenching...he has my absolute full support doing whatever it is he wants to do. He's one of the most intimidating, talented people I've ever had the pleasure of writing words for.
–Dan Harmon on the departing Donald Glover
Tory and the study group are unexpectedly reunited with Jeff for another year at Greendale Community College.
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 the hijinks and the entire school a few times as well. Because Abed is unable to adequately express emotion, and Troy is overly emotional, this has lead to a few conflicts between them. They soon make up, however, as they understand they are better together than apart. They are currently roommates and share an apartment with Annie.
Pierce and Troy initially started a friendship based on mutual adolescence. At the end of Troy's first year at Greendale, he moves out of his fathers house and accepts an offer from Pierce to move into his mansion ("Pascal's Triangle Revisited"). The second year at school together it's revealed that Troy had been quoting Pierce under a twitter account called "Old white man says" ("Anthropology 101"). When Troy later moves of the mansion to live in an apartment with Abed, Pierce is shown to be jealous. Troy has hinted that he sees Pierce as a bit of a role model of a man going through life despite numerous hardships on his own ("Remedial Chaos Theory").
In their freshmen year, Annie had a crush on Troy that was obvious to everyone except him. He remained oblivious until Britta and Jeff made him aware of it ("Romantic Expressionism"). Unfortunately, at that point Annie had moved on and was dating Vaughn. While it is clear that he finds Annie attractive ("Accounting for Lawyers"), he hasn't tried to pursue her romantically and instead has developed feelings for Britta ("Competitive Wine Tasting"). They have settled into a more fraternal dynamic between them and Troy has told Annie that he enjoys talking to her. ("Paranormal Parentage").
Troy and Britta bonded in their first year at Greendale after they discovered they were both taking dancing classes and keeping it a secret from the rest of the study group. It was hinted that Troy had a crush on Britta but she remained oblivious to it much like Troy was to Annie's crush on him. Britta later kisses Troy after he uses her attraction to men with pain to woo her. She didn't reciprocate his feelings until their third year at school after realizing how deep his affection for her was. At the start of their Senior year at school they are in a relationship and dating.
Initially when Troy meets Jeff he is in awe of him but that admiration fades a bit as he gets to know him better. Jeff and Troy have shared interests in numerous things such as RC cars, basketball and secret trampolines. The two apparently stop hanging out as much as they used to when Britta reveals inmate details about sexual kinks. At the start of the group's third year at school, Jeff seems to be threatened by Troy and mocks his childishness. By the end of the year, however, Jeff has a change of heart and lets Troy know he doesn't have to be like him to be a grown-up. It is implied that Troy looks to Jeff for approval at he end of "Course Listing Unavailable " both for rallying the group and his feelings for Britta which Jeff does.
Troy has had the least interaction with Shirley out of all the study group members. Troy is often subjected to Shirley's motherly ways and never wants to disappoint her. In their sophomore year at school, Troy kept a voice mail Chang sent him that hinted he could be the father of Shirley's baby a secret not wanting Shirley to know until he could verify it ("Epidemiology"). During the Pillows and Blankets War she took Troy's side believing Abed was in the wrong for hurting his feelings. On Halloween of their senior year the two team up together while in Pierce's mansion. She warns Troy to be careful while dating Britta ("Paranormal Parentage"). Later, the two take Physical Education together in which Shirley excels while Troy does not ("Economics of Marine Biology").
Nana Barnes is Troy's grandmother who, during his freshmen year at Greendale Community College, decided to visit him during the Family Day event held at the school. A cantankerous and ornery old lady, Troy was not looking forward to seeing her. Britta attempted to show Troy that he should not only honor and cherish his grandmother. She soon learns that Troy was right about her when she accidentally insults Nana Barnes and agrees to make it up to her by being spanked with a switch. After administrating the punishment, Nana Barnes overhears a conversation Troy and Britta are having and learns her grandson called her a monster. She then demands that Troy get her a switch so she could administer to him the same whooping she gave to Britta.
During Troy's freshman year at Greendale, he displays extraordinary skills as a plumber, which gets the attention of a janitor named Jerry. Jerry tries to convince him to give up on college and pursue a career in plumbing. He later returns in during Troy's third year at school and warns him about Vice Dean Laybourne and the Greendale air conditioning repair annex.
In Season Three, Murray brings Troy to Laybourne's attention after noticing his plumbing skills. Laybourne personally tries to recruit Troy to the Greendale Air Conditioning Repair School Annex, even going as far as to manipulate Troy and Abed against each other. After finally getting Troy enrolled at the school, Laybourne dies soon afterwards in what is deemed an accident. Troy suspects his second-in-command Murray of having something to do with it. In a duel inside the Sun Chamber, Troy later sees what appears to be Laybourne's ghost watching him in the crowd.
Murray alerts his boss Robert Laybourne to Troy's repairman skills and has him kidnaped to take part in an "audition" for the A/C school. After the study group is expelled form Greendale by Chang, Troy meets up with Murray at Señor Kevin's" to get insider information so he and the group could take down Chang. He reluctantly joins the A/C school to get the group out of a jam when their plan goes awry. Later, Murray personally picks up Troy at his apartment to take him to the A/C school. After suspecting Murray for the death of Laybourne, Troy challenges him to a duel in The Sun Chamber and gets him to admit his guilt.
In the study group's second year together at Greendale, Troy and Abed both compete for a date with a school librarian named Mariah. Despite the fact that she ultimately chose Troy, he decides not to go out with her after she admits that the reason she didn't pick Abed was because she finds him weird.
Troy is a huge fan of LeVar Burton from his time as host of the popular PBS children's show "Reading Rainbow." In the study group's sophomore year, Pierce overdoses on drugs and is taken to the hospital. Although he fully recovered he decided to get back at the study group for ignoring him all year. Pretending to be on his death bed, Pierce bequeaths Troy a visit from LeVar Burton in order to mess with him. This has the intended affect as Troy is frozen in his idol's presence and can't talk or move.
Troy went out on one date with a girl named Randi in the Season One episode "Home Economics." Annie, who still had a huge crush on Troy at the time, reluctantly helps him prepare for the date. The relationship seems to not work out when Annie takes back the blanket that she let him borrow in the middle of their date.