Bug, Caryn, Leon, Pitman
- Pendleton's Best and Brightest -

Many of the scenes and storylines in 3rd Rock take place in Pendleton University where Dick is a physics professor. Here we often see him tormenting and berating his students, who for the most part don't understand him but seem happy enough just to be getting by. Four of Dick's students in particular appeared regularly throughout the six seasons of the show's run. They are:

Bug Pollone

Played by actor David DeLuise, perhaps his most prominent moment is the episode when Dick openly boasts in class about a sexual encounter he had with a total stranger, who turns out to be Bug's mother. When this fact is revealed Dick is not the slightest bit embarrassed and struggles to understand Bug's reaction.

Pitman

Bug's friend is Aubrey Pitman (usually referred to as just 'Pitman'). He is played by actor Chris Hogan. Like the other students, he struggles to understand Dick. They treat him as a 'superior intelligence' never suspecting either his origins, or the fact that he may not be as intelligent as they think.

Leon

Considered the dim-witted member of the class by both Dick and his peers. It never really comes across why he should be considered so except he always seems to be lacking in confidence. He has moments when it really appears he could strike it lucky: like an episode when he is 'snowed in' with Sally in the Solomon's apartment. Having never experienced a snowstorm before, Sally is convinced that it is some kind of Armageddon episode and tells Leon he will have to impregnate her to ensure the survival of the human species. Leon is played by Ian Lithgow, son of John Lithgow ho plays Dick.

Caryn

Played by Danielle Nicolet. She is the only student who exhibits enough self-confidence and self-awareness to stand up to Dick. She even has him summoned before a disciplinary committee on one occasion; an episode she later feels bad about and admits may have been something that got out of hand. As a feminist and all-round conscientious type she is used as comic foil for Dick's male chauvinism and general arrogance. There are also occasions when she allies with Dick on his various crusades.


It is frequently inferred that Dick is not a very good teacher. It is also made clear however that Pendleton is not a very good university which would lead to the assumption that the students there are not the brightest. This is suggested too by the fact that after six years, none of them seem to have progressed, that they are still taking and hopelessly failing Dick's class.

Another curiosity is that sometimes we see the same students from Dick's physics class, also taking classes with Mary, who teaches anthropology. This would make Pendleton's curriculum very multi-disciplinary indeed.

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