Thursday, June 05, 2008

Arrested Development

Character Analysis: How can I even begin to analyze the group of characters in Arrested Development? The Bluth family may be perhaps the most jaded, self-serving, and superficial group that one can imagine. On first pass, it seems there are going to be a lot of SP profiles. Let's find out...

Meet the Characters

Michael Bluth - Best Guess: ISTJ - Michael is the glue that holds this unloving family together. All he is trying to do is bring respectability back to his family and put them back on the right side of the law. It is his entire role in this show. Naturally, being an -STJ he replaces his father as president of The Bluth Company--and does well at this job bringing stability back. Bringing stability back to his family may be even to much for this ISTJ. Strongest Letter(s): J

Lindsay Bluth Fünke - Best Guess: ESFP - Lindsay represents an extreme and unbalanced ESFP. She is completely superficial in every aspect and wants to be nothing but the center of attention. Everything she does is a performance--but no one is ever watching. And like many ESFP's, when no one looks, they are easily hurt. This is particularly seen with her husband Tobias who seems to be an in-the-closet gay man (even he doesn't know). Therefore, he is not the least interested in the advances of his attractive wife. Strongest Letter(s): FP

George "Gob" Bluth II - Best Guess: ESTP - Gob is an ESTP looking for a scandal--but there is a problem: He has no significant real world experience--despite being over thirty years old--so he uses magic and trickery as an outlet. He really is not a very effective ESTP salesman because his tricks often fail and the Magicians alliance have shunned him. Taking after his ESTP father, he is quick to turn his loyalty away. Unlike his father who has no regard, Gob really only has the boldness to mistreat his brothers, Michael and Buster. In the end, because Gob is not a very strong T--part of his failure as an ESTP--he is quick to beg for mercy. Strongest Letter(s): EP

George-Michael Bluth - Best Guess: ISFJ - Just like his father Michael, George-Michael is unlike anyone else in this family because he actually respects the rules and tries to live by them (SJ). He is a good student and much of his screen time is in his room--he is doing his homework. He is a very sensitive kid and it does not take much for him to walk around with this head down (F). He is often easily pushed around by his two female interests. The fact that one of the girls is his cousin (sort of?) shows there is not much logic with this how this boy reasons (F). Strongest Letter(s): SJ

Mae "Maeby" Fünke - Best Guess: ESTP - For being a young teenager, Maeby has already learned how to create scandal. She is a blatant rule breaker and loves to press the limits to see what she can get away with. Let's see: She is approximately 14 years old and has already fooled an entire movie studio with her age and becomes a successful film producer for them. Yeah, promoter all the way. Strongest Letter(s): TP

Byron "Buster" Bluth - Best Guess: INFP - Really, can one classify Buster? I believe he does not fit in any of the 16 categories. Perhaps there are some aspects about Buster that one can analyze if you look very closely. He is extremely sensitive (F). Socially awkward to the highest degree (I). He is about 30 years old and still lives with his mother because he cannot hold down a job--or even qualify for one. This is all evidence of an extreme P. So is Buster an INFP or ISFP? Given the choice, I suppose he is an INFP as he has some baggage to deal with (i.e. Mommy issues) and resides in a different (mental) world than many (N). He displays zero artistic skills and is not one with nature--so this would effectively rule out an ISFP. And being ISFP's may be perhaps the nicest of all 16 personalities profiles, there would be no room for one in this family. What keeps Buster a step ahead of most INFP's is that--while a social failure--he does have an outlet by occasionally mustering up the boldness to have extroverted moments. Strongest Letter(s): P

Tobias Fünke - Best Guess: ENFP - Tobias lives in a fantasy world (N). He is the ultimate P in that he just cannot decide on a career path--doctor, actor, etc--and when he does (acting--an EFP choice), he bounces from job to job. That is, when he even puts forth effort looking for work. He is quick to join conversation (E), but often walks away with his feelings hurt (F) in this insensitive family. Then there is his gay leanings--that even he cannot see. I am not sure how this fits into his personality, but it just needs to be mentioned because it is the focus (unintentionally) of almost everything he does (and says). Many NFP's are conflicted to what they want, so maybe this is a factor. Strongest Letter(s): FP

George Bluth Sr - Best Guess: ESTP - George is a sales man and is in prison for a scandal. Is there any more description required to prove that one is an ESTP? Well, there is one more trait that he has that leave no doubt of his profile. He is a user and a manipulator. He would scam his own children--and has--if it benefits him in anyway. Even when he is on the run from prison and at the mercy of his family, he has no heart. He is constantly throwing his twin brother--Oscar--under the bus in order to escape from the law. Strongest Letter(s): TP

Lucille Bluth - Best Guess: ESTJ - What one personality may be able to keep ESTP George Sr in order? It would be the ESTJ supervisor. Lucille does not shrink back from her husband George and she is the one that is less often scandalized by George. While not a pure rule follower like a good SJ, she does try to maintain a traditional family (SJ) which is one of the few things she does care about. However, being so T, she usually walks over the feelings of her family--Buster being the easiest target--in order to maintain her own values of what she considers tradition--or what she thinks needs to be done in order to maintain it. She is not to be confused with utilitarian ENTJ--which is essentially an ESTJ that does what is needed to be done, not what the rule book says. Why? She is not a big-picture person (like an NT), nor is she an abstract thinker (by any means!). She is just a jaded SJ (oxymoron?) that has become so much of a hardened T--it has allowed her to bend the rules. (Or maybe it is because she is usually intoxicated everyday by 9AM?) Strongest Letter(s): TJ

Oscar Bluth - Best Guess: INFP - The baggage that George's twin brother carries is--George. George has used and abused Oscar so much that Oscar has been depleted of any confidence to operate in normal society. He has moved into a trailer where he can smoke marijuana all day. Strongest Letter(s): NP

It seems there are three groups here: The 4 disruptive EST's, The 5 sensitive F'--who are constantly being walked on by these ST's, and the one ISTJ holding this group together.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment, and I would also like to point out that being an introvert does not automatically classify someone as "socially awkward." Introversion vs extroversion is about where you draw your energy (either from alone time or being with people), not necessarily how you act in social situations. I know many introverts that are friendly, well adjusted people that make others feel welcome in their presence.

Robert Anthony Pierce II said...

Wow, my friends and I have tried to classify all the Bluths as well, and we agree with you on almost all of this! We had pegged George Michael as INFP, but I think that rather describes the actor more than the character. You're right; George Michael is far more of a J than a P. He DOES seem to be lost in his own world, though. Would you consider INFJ? I know so few of them in real life that it's hard for me to classify that one, but he seems too weird to be ISFJ to me. Otherwise, I think you're right on here. What about Kitty? I was trying the other day, but she confuses the heck out of me.

Grid said...
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Grid said...

Great stuff. Agree on George Micheal, he's almost a poster child for J!

At first I was disappointed none of them were INTP, since this is my favorite show, but it's obviously a GOOD thing!

Derek said...

I agree with most of these typings, but a disagree in a couple places.
G.O.B.: Definitely ESFP. On the outside he is cold, amoral, arrogant, and harsh like a stereotypical T but in reality he is very easily offended, desperately needs to be liked, and lacks any of a T's intellect. All of this adds up to an F who wants to be a T (like his father and his brother who he wants to impress).
George Michael: Maybe ISFJ, but I was leaning more towards INFJ on account of the fact that he clearly has more capacity for abstract ideas than practical, hands-on activities (e.g. sports).