I first became aware of bent as referring to something other than physical crookedness in 1980, when Martin Sherman’s play “Bent” (starring Richard Gere) opened on Broadway, and reviews explained that the title was a Britishism connoting homosexuality. I subsequently learned that it’s also a British adjective meaning crooked in the sense of dishonest or corrupt.
But I didn’t know which sense was meant in today’s New York Times article about the NBC comedy “Community.” The piece had a quote from Jim Rash, and described him as the actor “who plays the bent Dean Pelton on the show.”
To find out, I could have called up my daughter Elizabeth Yagoda, who loves “Community.” But clicking over to Wikipedia was easier. There I read that Dean Pelton
seemingly has a crush on Jeff, and uses him to improve the school’s fledgling extra-curricular programs, pressuring him to join the debate team, edit the school’s newspaper, and convince Troy to play quarterback for the football team. Among other hints at sexual proclivities such as late-night visits to truck stops and public restrooms, he has had a growing fetish for people in dalmatian costumes, which he believes he has pursued in secrecy, but seems to be common enough knowledge to the students and faculty.
So there you have it.