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This is a long one. It’s lengthy, but worth it. So don’t read this while tabbing between this and a blank excel sheet so that it look like you are doing work when your boss walks by instead of looking at a website that proudly proclaims the word “Bitches!” in bold font at the top. No. Instead wait until you get home. Grab a beer, maybe a stout, something you sip, something meaty. Something that’ll last. And then, make breakfast for dinner. If it were me, it’d be frosted flakes and soymilk, but if you have time, or simply aren’t a lazy sack of shit, make some blueberry pancakes or French toast. Then enjoy this blog entry with your unmatching bundle of breakfast for dinner with a hearty beer. It’ll be fun. If you are gonna give up like a bitch, then at least take the survey.
This summer I am going to be teaching children. I’ll let that sink in. I will be teaching them theater. One of my classes is called “Drama Play” and entails me directing kids in a 30 minute play over 3 weeks. I recently found out that I have 26 students in that class. There are no 30 minute plays with 26 characters. So, I decided to do something different. I decided to come up with 30 modern archetypes from movies and tv that have multiple roles, so that the kids can work on a bunch of different scenes within somewhat of the same character. At the end, they will perform in a big ragtag performance that won’t make any sense and most likely will get fucked up. But they’ll learn, and that’s important to me.
What’s more important to me is that I have fun, and gosh golly gee wilikers, creating these 30 archetypes has been a bundle of amazing joy. That is said without a tinge of sarcasm. I’m going to now present my 30 archetypes with description.
The Nuerotic: S/he, usually he, is nervous about a lot of things. Sex and death are typically the main things on his/her mind. He typically is a spaz, lots of time nebbishy, and talks mostly about himself. Flaws: What parts aren’t flaws? Examples: Woody Allen, Seymour from Little Shop, Elaine Benis
The Psycotic: S/he, usually she, has serious mental derangements. S/he typically takes medicine, or should and is incredibly self-obsessed. In a lot of ways is just an extreme version of the neurotic. Flaws: They’re crazy. Examples: Medea, Jenna Maroney, Hamlet
The Witty: S/he, usually she, always has an unbearably clever comeback. She always has some deeper issue facing her, but avoids it with clever turns of phrase. Flaws: They ruin entertainment by being completely unrealistic. Examples: Juno, the kids on Weeds, Veronica Mars, David Spade (I include David Spade [who I love] because he fits well into this archetype, the big difference is that we’re supposed to dislike him. This makes it okay because we are laughing at for covering up his feeling with “wit,” not applauding them for their ability to deal with the difficult with a smile.)
The Poser: Typically this character wants to be black. They at least want to be more ethnic because they’re life seems so mundane and uneventful compared to that of poor people. They take on characteristics that aren’t common around them in order to relate to people who don’t relate back. Flaws: They cry themselves to sleep not knowing who they are. Examples: Seth Green in Can’t Hardly Wait, Jamie Kennedy, Turk from Scrubs, Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
The Loveable Dope: This character is constantly screwing up, but it’s never completely their fault. Sure, they were too stupid to do anything right, but they had no malicious intent. We are supposed to feel sorry for them even though they are not necessarily “good people.” Flaws: Stupidity and an self-conciousness about it that makes them feel bad abou themselves. Examples: Chris Farley, The Cowardly Lion, Maggie Jacobs in Extras
The “Perfect” Girl: This archetype is the one I’ve had the most fights with people about. I define this archetype as girls that will inspire my dudes to watch their movie and come out saying: “Dude that character was soo hot, and really cool.” This archetype is created by men for men of a woman who is “liberated.” She is hot and feminine, but shares a lot of traits, likes, and dislikes with “boys.” She doesn’t like other women – instead would prefer to hang out with the boys because she sees that other women are stupid. She thinks of herself as independent, but usually the entire plot of the movie is based on the idea that she can’t be independent and falls in love with the much less attractive male who serves as a stand in for the author. Flaws: She doesn’t fight for equality but rather for a man’s attention. Examples: These range from J.Lo.Hew in Can’t Hardly Wait to Maeby in Arrested Development. The typical examples are Natalie Portman in Garden State and Mila Kunis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Male: The “Male” thinks with his dick and is very comfortable being open about that. He likes women, and would like to have a different one every night. He has no interest in love, though in a typical “Male” movie, he comes to the realization that love can be as satisfying as boning. Flaws: He is misogynist. Examples: NPH in How I Met Your Mother, Vince Vaughn, Charlie Sheen
The Indignant: This person is always angry. And always for “good” reason. They are at least always willing to explain why they are angry. They think they are surrounded by idiots who don’t understand the world and find it their job to tell them what they are doing wrong. This is also probably the most gender neutral archetype in that there are characters from both genders equally represented here. Flaws: They are usually hypocrites. Examples: Janis Ian from Mean Girls, John Goodman from The Big Lebowski, Larry David
The Sidekick: This character usually provides a consistant comedic foil to the somewhat boring main character. This character never gets laid, but after providing pratfalls and humiliation, will also provide surprisingly sage advice. Flaws: Usually no tact or awareness of his surroundings. Examples: Donkey from Shrek, Ron Weasley, Dr. Watson.
The Somewhat Comfortable Hetrosexual: This is a very new archetype. This is the guy who is comfortable crying and ordering a girly drink. This is the guy who gets the girl by relating to her and being emotional in front of her. This is the guy who is supposedly undoing the male archetype. He is also definitely heterosexual and is typically an autobiographical character for the author. Therefore this character usually gets with the “Perfect” girl and is therefore very problematic, but still a step forward. Flaws: He does not think about the women he dates as equals. Examples: Zach Braff in Scrubs, Eric Foreman in That 70s Show, Jason Segel.
The Manipulative Villain: This character never does any dirty work, but is great at getting others to do it for them. That dirty work usually involves something that is uncontroversially evil. His/her henchmen are usually very stupid but strong, whereas the villain him/herself are weak but smart and very attracted to money and power. They are typically not sexualized at all. Flaws: They try to do too much. Examples: Cruella DeVille, Danny DeVito in Always Sunny, Lucille in Arrested Development.
The Arrogant Idiot: This character is very dumb, but for some usually unexplained reason they have money or power. This money or power has given them a safety blanket so that they don’t have to rely on thinking. Flaws: They are tricked easily. Examples: Will Ferrell, Orsino in 12th Night, Phil Hartman in Newsradio.
The Reluctant Hero: S/he, usually he, has put the weight of the world on his shoulders. Not because he wants to, but because he has to. Flaws: Secretly he wants to. Also he usually has huge daddy issues. Examples: Michael in Arrested Development, Han Solo, Mel Gibson in Signs*, Jesus Christ
The Monster with The Heart of Gold: This character looks scary and mean from the outside and therefore has never been given the chance. S/he, usually he, is typically the nicest person in the world, once you get to know him. Flaws: He distrusts people because they usually don’t treat him well. Examples: The Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Sawyer from the first season of Lost.
The Bitch: This girl has gotten what she wants when she wants it and she intends to keep it that way. Nobody steals her man, her popularity, or her title as prettiest girl. She will always have a boyfriend, but they are not in love and the man is typically with her out of a fear of castration. Flaws: Beneath their strong front they are very insecure, this will always come out. Examples: Sharpay from High School Musical, Cinderella’s step sisters, The head plastic in Mean Girls.
The Grumpy Old Person: They sit on their rocking chair and yell at the kids to stop doing kid things. They would love their lives to end already, but then they’d have nothing to complain about. Flaws: They are constantly jealous. Examples: The Grinch, Scrooge, Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace.
The Dumb Rich/Popular: This is very similar to the arrogant idiot except they have been given power through money or looks specifically. They are surrounded by yes-men whereas the Arrogant Idiot has that power taken away usually or has naysayers. Flaws: They have no self-awareness. Examples: Jackie from That 70s Show, Bosses from 90s sitcoms (Jack in JSM, Jimmy James in Newsradio, Mayor in Spin City)
The Full Grown Child: This character hasn’t seen the world and it shows. They make childlike decisions even though they are in our real world. Therefore, they don’t function correctly and get into trouble all the time, but the audience will always find it endearing. Flaws: They get taken advantage of easily. Examples: The Night at the Roxbury Boys, Spongebob Squarepants, Kenneth from 30 Rock.
The Bad Guy’s Apprentice: This typically deformed human follows their “bad guy” around with a pet like loyalty. The “bad guy” loves the attention and therefore keeps him/her, usually him, around even though they are somewhat of a nuisance and always screwing up. Flaws: They get jealous easily. Examples: Caliban from the Tempest, Igor from Frankenstein, Jonathan from 30 Rock.
The Fool: Similar to the “Loveable Dope,” only not necessarily loveable. This character is just stupid. We typically can’t quite feel bad for them because they don’t recognize the failures of their life. The “Loveable Dope” does. Flaws: Totally unreliable. Examples: Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, Manuel from Fawlty Towers, Norville Barnes from Hudsucker Proxy, Brick from Anchorman.
The Silent Gag: This is pretty self explanatory. They don’t talk. Instead they are very wise or surprisingly powerful but don’t care that they’re heard. Flaws: Apathy. Examples: Harpo Marx, Silent Bob, Kenny from South Park.
The Trickster Pixie: This character makes up for its lack of physical strength by pitting characters against each other. S/he, typically she, will use cute innocence as a disguise for manipulation. Flaws: If they are caught, they have no backup plan. Examples: Puck, Tinkerbell, Dennis Finch from Just Shoot Me.
The Megalomaniac: This crazy “bad guy” is mad for power and will stop at nothing for complete world domination because s/he, who am I kidding, he thinks he has the right way to live. Flaws: They want the world to know how they got their power and are therefore very public with their plans, therefore failing. Examples: Dr. Evil, Lex Luthor, Jack Doneghy
The Mad Scientist: This is similar to the Megalomaniac except that the Mad Scientist does it for the love of science. They just want to know what will happen. They don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Also, they typically have Dr. in their title. Flaws: They think purely in the present. Examples: Dr. Frankenstein, Doc Brown, Dr. Strangelove. Duane from Annie Hall.
The Brainy Girl: This character is a very power driven, self aware woman. She knows her goals, and knows her opposition. She also wants kids and is afraid of dying alone because she has no boyfriend. She also recognizes the sexism in her previous realization. She also becomes somewhat of a neurotic because of this. Flaws: Hypocrisy. Examples: Liz Lemon, Lisa from Newsradio, Hermoine, Lisa Simpson
The Curious Innocent: They’re sort of a plot device. They just lead us through other, more interesting characters and their curious nature allows us to see these characters for who they really are. Flaws: No self awareness out of the fact that they have no self. Examples: Dorothy from Wiz of Oz, Alice of Wonderland variety, Jerry Seinfeld.
The Brat: This person, typically child, thrives on the suffering of others. It is usually not major suffering and once they actually hurt someone their guilt overtakes them and they have a change of heart. They usually have a very distinct laugh to go along with their playful pranks. Flaws: Their fear of never truly being loved. Examples: Bart Simpson, Dennis the Menace, Angelica from Rugrats
The Sleazy Expert: S/he, usually he, knows nothing, but loves to pretend to know everything. His overconfidence usually becomes his undoing, but like the fool, he doesn’t care about his undoing because he still believes in himself. He is shameless and guiltless. Flaws: Apathy toward other’s suffering that they indirectly caused. Examples: Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock, The Caterpillar from Wonderland, Michael Ian Black’s character on Ed.
The Omnipotent: Like God, this character knows what’s going to happen, but decides not to stop it because he wants to let people learn their lesson. They usually sit far away from the action and give sage advice to the protagonist when s/he comes to them. Flaws: They’re sort of pussies. Example: Gandalf, Dumbledoor, George Sr. from Arrested Development.
The Maverick: This is the new-age Prince Charming. Since chivalry is dead (thank god), these characters prove their love for their women through daring acts of bravery and fake acts of humility. They almost always have daddy issues. Flaws: Lots of daddy issues and a constant awareness that they may have done something wrong. Examples: Batman, Jack from Lost, Leonardo from Ninja Turtles.
The Absurdist: This character’s lines seem riddle with non sequiturs and their mind seems like the playground of the insane, but they typically have some of the most sane advice, even if it riddle form and they are in a sense playing a joke on the audience. Flaws: None, because they don’t care if they have flaws – you’re still watching. Okay, they love attention. Examples: Mad Hatter, Groucho Marx, Tracy Jordan, the Animaniacs.
The Dude: Chill out. The dude doesn’t get frustrated because the dude smokes pot and hangs out. The dude doesn’t mind when stuff doesn’t happen, but typically it is to the dude that the most stuff happens. Flaws: They don’t vent their frustrations and that comes out in a bad way at some point. Examples: The Dude from Lebowski, Seth Rogan, Kumar.
The Arrogant Egghead: This nerd thinks s/he, typically he, knows everything and doesn’t mind telling everyone he meets that he knows everything. He cares not who his friends are or even that he has friends because he already knows everything so why waste his time with others when he can hang out with himself. Flaws: Lonely underneath it all. Examples: Dwight Schrute/Gareth Keenan, Urkel, Dexter from Dexter’s Lab.
The Popular BUT Smart: This character starts the show/movie as very one dimentionally popular and then we realize that s/he is actually really smart. And that blows us away. Flaws: They’re boringly predictable and they are afraid to be themselves. Examples: Zach Effron in HSM, The Legally Blonde Girl, Freddie Prinze Jr. in She’s All That
The Awkward: This typically male character is unable to speak correctly when confronted with sexual attraction. They are usually smart and cute and totally loveable, but no one loves them right away. It takes time. But they are willing to put in that effort and they will come wait by your locker every day after school to prove that they like you. Flaws: No self respect. Examples: Justin Long in Ed, Michael Cera, Jay Baruchel in Undeclared, Annie Hall.
So, I end with my favorite character of all time (possibly tied with Eugene Levy in A Mighty Wind). The reason I love Annie Hall so much is because she is pretty much the only woman in a male dominated archetype. And it is an archetype that is not male dominated in the real world. One of my goals in life is to make “The Awkward” a completely gender-neutral archetype because in reality, we all feel uncomfortable around someone we want to see naked but haven’t yet. It doesn’t matter if you are waiting to see a penis or some titties, you still feel awkward when you think dirty thoughts about someone without their knowledge. This gender-specificity is the most dangerous of all the archetypical gender divides because our society expects that women aren’t awkward. They are. This archetype is the archetype that masturbates and talks about it, this is the archetype that gets rejected, and this is the archetype that allows itself to be laughed at. In our society it is frowned upon when a woman masturbates, get’s rejected, or allows herself to be laughed at, whereas for boys that is considered cute and pitiful. This is the reason for sexism.
Now, I’d like to share with you some superlatives:
Archetype I relate to most: Tie between “The Neurotic” and “The Indignant.” Larry David and George Costanza walk this line as well. Scared of what others think of me, but stubbornly thinking that.
Archetype I related to most in High School: “The Awkward.” That’s why I want to de-gender it. So that little Nisses in the future will hook up. Which is what happens when sexism disappears and women make the first move.
Archetype I relate to least: While I’m tempted to say “The Maverick” or “The Popular BUT Smart” because those characters are so different than me when portrayed, I get their motivation sometimes. I have no desire to control the world or even control myself, so I really don’t relate to “The Megalomaniac.”
Archetype I relate to a surprising amount: Maybe less surprising than I think considering that my pseudonym is a rapper-name, but “The Poser” and I feel a special bond. I do love attention, and I do feel guilty about my whiteness/wealth. It’s the clothes that don’t match, and a poser’s imae is such a huge part of who s/he is.
Archetype I’d like to fuck (AILF): “The Brainy Girl.” I would like to add “The Awkward” to that, but it doesn’t really exist in the female form yet. “The Brainy Girl” is as close as we’ll get.
Archetype I always end up fucking: “The Psychotic.” HAHAAHAHA. BAM! Joke: Landed! No, seriously, the girls that let me touch them don’t typically fall into any of these categories. They’ve ranged from “The Awkward” to “Te Psychotic” to “The Popular BUT Smart” to “The Loveable Dope.”
Archetype I’d least like to fuck: I want to say “The Perfect Girl” because that would stick it to the man, but they seem alright. I fall for them sometimes. The person I could never fuck is “The Arrogant Egghead” because I don’t thinking a good job fucking you, so I don’t want you to think you’re doing a good job fucking me. Then it’s awkward. In a bad way.
Archetype I wish I were more of: “The Trickster Pixie.” They’re fun. They do fun things.
Archetype I wish I were less of: “The Somewhat Comfortable Hetrosexual.” Mostly because I think it is a problematic, possibly homophobia inducing, representation of men.
Archetype I play best on stage: “The Fool.” Nothing is more fun than not understanding anything.
Now I’d like to hear how you feel about these archetypes because (a) I like to know what type of person likes to read the rantings of a self-obsessed lazy shithead, and (b) because I like making forms for people to fill out. Click Here for a super fun and easy survey.
9 thoughts on “Why archetyping seems like a lot of work”
Oh, I’m haughzin’ my neurotic baugh over this. Hopefully you’ll be collecting, interpreting, and presenting the data from these forms, right?
Also, dudes have to play some of our favorite games with these.
A couple of notes:
a) I spelled omnipotent wrong in my survey (I caught it before people told me so you don’t need to tell me)
b) The last question is for you to fill in your own question not your own archetype.
c) I will play those games all night long Paul. I already have by myself.
d) I counted up the gender distribution of these archetypes out of curiosity:
Only Male: 12
Mostly Male: 11
Gender Neutral: 3
Mostly Female: 4
Only Female: 3
Not surprising, but still depressing.
I then split up the archetypes into 6 categories of what the audience reaction is supposed to be:
Love, Hate, Pity, Neutral, Laugh At, and Laugh With
Laugh At: 11
Laugh With 4
The three female archetypes: Bitch, Perfect, and Brainy are meant to be Hated, Loved, and Pitied. Never laughed at. Depressing, huh?
The four mostly female archetypes: 2 pities, 2 laughed with.
The gender neutral: 2 hate, 1 neutral, 1 laugh at.
The only 50% or more female archetype that we are allowed to laugh at is The Dumb Rich/Popular (which is mostly male, but not enough for me to not consider it gender neutral).
Point proven through stats!
These aren’t stats these are random decisions about random things you made up.
As a stats minor, I think I have the right to say that stats ARE random decisions about random things I make up.
I really enjoy everything about this post, including the comments.
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