Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Office [US]

UPDATED on 03/16/2010! Now includes Erin, Karen, Gabe and Holly!

Character Analysis: Today we review the cast of The Office [US]. One of the greatest aspects of this series is that not only are the main characters strong, but so is the entire cast of supporting roles. Each smaller role brings so much to the entire ensemble. Let's look at each member of the Dunder-Mifflin company.



Meet the Characters


Michael Scott - Best Guess: ESFP - Almost every word and action Michael displays, he is essentially saying, "Pay attention to me! Look at me!". This is a great example of what happens to an ESFP that becomes starved for attention and fails to be popular with ones peers: They become desperate attention whores. Almost nothing Michael does is related to his work--but more to do with his yearning for acceptance. And when it does relate to his responsibilities as manager, it becomes about turning a mundane task into a fun project. ESFP's just want to have a good time in everything they do! Every group task can become a game with ESFP's and they always put themselves right in the center. And if an ESFP has their expressions rejected, they easily have their feelings hurt. This is a daily experience for Michael who usually ends up offending one of the F's in the office or completely frustrating a
T--both events that may lead to sharp bursts of anger directed towards him. In fact, it is the core group of ISTJ's in Michael's office who are
most frustrated by his antics. A performer is perhaps the last personality type that any corporation would intentionally choose for middle management. Of course, given the right situation, an ESFP can fit into an office environment to keep things light and the spirits up. With that being said, you would never, ever put one into a manager's position and expect things to be run efficiently. Strongest Letter(s): EP

Dwight Schrute -
Best Guess: ESTJ; leaning ENTJ - Looking at Dwight's interests--he is into odd and eclectic things, he stores useless information, and he watches Battlestar Galactica. All traits of your typical NT. However, Dwight desperately wants to be a leader. Rank and position is very important to him. He'd prefer Michael's job, of course, but since it is not up for grabs, he will settle for number 2. "Assistant [to the] Regional Manager". Because he is an extreme EJ--he simply is too scary for management to ever consider for this position. Of course, being an extreme T, the office F's would probably have their feelings hurt at every turn with Dwight in charge--so any success that he would create, would have its price as half of his staff would quit. He is a very conscience rule follower and is quick to enforce them the moment he receives any power from above. He is a classic ESTJ--who has the appearance and interests of an NT. Very conflicting, this is. Strongest Letter(s): TJ

Jim Halpert - Best Guess: ENTP; possibly ENFP - After writing a complete profile thinking that Jim was an ISFP (his penchant to create fun), then INFJ (his actions toward Pam), it was brought to my attention that these were possibly incorrect profiles and he may be an ENTP. Jim is a gregarious fellow (E) who is constantly exercising his ingenuity in order to frustrate Dwight. One might think Jim has a strong J quality because it seems that he is constantly planning ways to do this--but in reality, he is merely improvising as he goes. ENTP's tend to become easily board; in order to keep themselves interested, they must invent ways to exercise their imagination. Dwight's extreme J nature makes him the easiest target of Jim's activities. ENTP's do not take themselves too seriously and have a built-in laid-back attitude. Jim's entire demeanor--his hairstyle, his dress, his attitude--are of this nature. He does not really worry too much about management (TP), and accomplishing work is not his chief concern--yet, he is not being lazy. He simply is just not that interested in selling paper. However, being an NT, he is able to get things done if pressured and is excellent in improvising ways to do this--and of course, being a
n E helps since he is a salesman and sometimes needs to be social in order to "close the deal". Being closely related to his ESTP cousin, the Super Salesman, gives Jim the ability to succeed when put on the spot. Though Jim is a T, he is not extreme in this. He can be very sensitive and completely considerate of ones feelings. His relationship with Pam is the perfect example of this. He is also not a true E. He sometimes has a tendency to be private and is a very good listener. Jim, however, has a strong sensitive side (F) as well, and while sometimes being a romantic, he has a very strong ENFP leaning. Strongest Letter(s): NP

Pam Beesly - Best Guess: ISFP - Pam is perh
aps the nicest and sweetest person one can ever meet. No wonder she was hired as a receptionist. She would never say anything negative about anything or anyone--and the times she does, it is usually followed by a giggle or guilty look. She is quiet (I) and unassuming. She just wants to be part of the fun--not the center of attention. ISFP's tend to be the most artistic of all 16 profiles, and we know Pam likes to draw. If she had more ambition (not many IFP's do) she could actually make a career as an artist--rather than a receptionist. ISFP's may be the most patient of all types and we see she was extraordinarily patient during her relationship with Roy. In fact, she is so nice that she even gave this clown a second chance. Strongest Letter(s): FP

Ryan Howard -
Best Guess: ESTP - When Ryan was "just" a temp worker he sat in the background not participating in the antics that went on at this Dunder-Mifflin office. One would initially think he is an introvert and he is a rule follower. As we see, Ryan quickly rises in the corporate ladder faster than anyone else, and by season 4--is regional manager. Things are accomplished fast and he keeps the office in line. Whenever he needs to adjust somebody (i.e. Jim), he does it in a very cold manner and without regard for their feelings. It is when he is in charge and in control do we see his extroverted confidence take over (E). He simply does not like anyone in this office and has no need to give them his time of day--it has nothing to do with shyness (T). Are not these the typical actions of a corporate-minded ESTJ? In the end, his true priorities are seen--and following the rules is not one of them as he is arrested for fraud and scandal. Using his ESTP salesmen prowess, he influences his way to the top. These Promoters alienate personal relationships very easily and without regard. Ryan drops Kelly once it requires any effort to carry on in this relationship. In true ESTP fashion, he loses interest very quickly. Kelly, to say the least, is not happy about this. Additionally, looking at his appearance--hair style, scruffy facial hair (at one point)--further cements the fact that he is SP-minded. Ryan is a true ESTP who has been able to mimic the actions have an STJ. Strongest Letter(s): T

Stanley Hudson - Best Guess: ISTJ - Stanley is serious minded (T) and is totally introverted (I). He just wants to be left alone. The office performers Andy, Kelly and Michael (most of all) simply drive Stanley nuts. He is also a strict rule follower (SJ) and Michael's disregard for the rules--as the boss no less!--clashes with Stanley's style. Strongest Letter(s): IJ

Kevin Malone - Best Guess: ISFP - Kevin is a musician--another result of being an ISFP which is an artistic type. We saw this with Pam the artist and we see it here too with Kevin the musician. He just likes to have fun and play around. It is odd that he is an accountant. One wonders if he actually knows how to count? He is usually being brushed aside by ISTJ Angela (also an accountant) who has no regard for Kevin's feelings. Strongest Letter(s): IP

Angela Martin -
Best Guess: ISTJ - Angela is an extreme ISTJ. She is a strict rule-follower and one of the few in this office that prefers to actually work. ISTJ's make the perfect accountants--so no surprise here based on what she does at the office. Her most glaring letter is her T. Most female T's tend to be balanced. Not Angela. She shows no emotion in anything and appears to be stoic most of the time. The exception is when she becomes visibly annoyed by Michael (her boss), Dwight (her romantic interest), Phyllis (her competitor), or Kevin (her deskmate). It is ironic she is on the party-planning committee. Typically, all party ideas Angela comes up with are completely traditional and conservative. As the leader of this committee she constantly is shooting down the artistic ideas of Pam and Phyllis. Strongest Letter(s): TJ

Phyllis Lapin -
Best Guess: ISFP - At first glance, I thought Phyllis was an ISFJ because she is conservative, sensitive and respects the rules. But if you look deeper, you realize she is very bashful. She constantly is trying to open up her artistic and playful side--but Michael shuts her down rudely each time. Her feelings are often hurt and ISFP's tend to be very sensitive because they are genuinely a kind personality--any rejection really hurts. Another reason I do not believe she is a J is that, like Pam--a fellow ISFP--she is capable of doing work. But when things start to get fun in the office, she is usually one of the first ones checking out what is going on, and she looks guilty for doing it. SP's just can not look away from fun. Strongest Letter(s): FP

Meredith Palmer -
Best Guess: ISTP - Once you dig into Meredith's shell, you will quickly see she is one hardened woman with no emotional reponses. The closest thing she has towards emotion is addiction. She struggles to come to terms with anything F. Like most SP's, Meredith lives in the here and now and does not show any foresight with her actions. Strongest Letter(s): FP
Kelly Kapoor -
Best Guess: ESFP - Kelly may be the most extreme example of an ESFP. She does not stop talking and it is always about what Kelly wants to talk about. And it is usually superficial. One never sees Kelly work. If the cameras are on her--she has something to say, and she has to look good saying it. She is also an incredibly emotional F (see her relationship with Ryan) and does not handle negative feelings well. I am pretty sure every letter in her ESFP is as extreme as they can be. Strongest Letter(s): EEEE

Toby Flenderson -
Best Guess: ISFJ; possibly INFJ - ISFJ's are perfect at Human Resources--which is where Toby works. Human Resources need a rule-following SJ that is mild, yet sensitive (F). Because Toby is so I and F, he let's Michael walk all over him. He would never admit it outwardly, but his feelings constantly get hurt. In an NF twist, all he really wants to do is make sure that the relationships and feelings in the office are all cared for and in harmony--and then he can stay in his corner and mind his own business. The fact that he picked up and ran to Costa Rica shows. Strongest Letter(s): IJ

Creed Bratton - Best Guess: INTP - Ah, Creed. The most enigmatic character. One wonders how he was hired in Quality Assurance. In fact, INTP's are the most absent-minded types--they would be at the risk of forgetting their own name. Creed was once asked what his job tittle was and he could not think of it. No, Creed lives in a different world and no one can see (or guess) what he is thinking. He never really plans on what he is going to do next--like his INTJ cousin--instead, he just takes things as they are when they come up (P). And if there is a chance to break the rules for his own benefits--it wouldn't even phase him. In fact, Creed probably does not even know what the rules are because they usually are not a factor with the plans of an NT. Rather, they live by their own set of standards. Strongest Letter(s): P

Oscar M
artin
ez - Best Guess: ISTJ - Like ISTJ Angela, ISTJ Oscar is an accountant--completely appropriate for his profile. This match means Oscar is one of the few in the office that actually accomplishes something. I do not believe Oscar being gay is relevant to his personality. Although ISTJ's tend to respect tradition and they like to fit in with their environments (like all good SJ's)--so it takes a while for Oscar to reveal his lifestyle to his co-workers out of respect for traditional values. Strongest Letter(s): T

Jan Levinson -
Best Guess: ESTJ; leaning ESFJ - Jan once was a healthy ESTJ who easily took the lead and encouraged the rules to be followed. Her stressful ESTJ nature led to a flame-out. So much of what she does in season 4 (and after) does not reflect her true personality. Like many ESTJ's, they often alienate personal relationships; and because of this, they look for acceptance anywhere they can find it. This may explain her breast implants and her relationship with Michael. Strongest Letter(s): SJ

Andy Bernard - Best Guess: ESFP - Andy may be your model ESFP. He sings, he entertains, he does voices, he just performs all around. And he actually does it well! He is simply a good-hearted man (FP) who no one can ever ignore. That is, except in this office of extremes. He clashes with the ISTJ's who grow tired of his antics, his rival is an insensitive ENTJ consumed by jealousy, and he has to play second fiddle to Michael--a far less effective ESFP but unfortunately for Andy--is the man in charge. So the potentially effective role that Andy contributes--is often ignored. It is a sad plight as ESFP's tend to be overly sensitive. Strongest Letter(s): EP

Roy Anderson - Best Guess: ISTP - Most ISTP's are independent and do not need the approval of others nor do they follow the rules. We saw what happened with his broken engagement to Pam. He simply didn't feel the need to get married at the time so her feelings weren't something that even phased him. He only allowed himself to become engaged, most likely, out of pressure or to stall for time. ISTP's don't often plan into the distant future. What did he think would happen after getting engaged and not following through? No, Roy is selfish and does what is best for Roy. This is just part of his intensely independent nature that many ISTP's display. ISTP's usually do not work in office's because they prefer to craft with their own hands--and they do not have time for paperwork and computers. And this is why Roy works in the warehouse. Strongest Letter(s): TP

Darryl Philbin -
Best Guess: ISTP - Just like Roy, Darryl does not need to mess around with paperwork. And just like Roy, he works in the warehouse. One might see similarities between Roy (STP) and Pam's (SFP) relationship, as they do with Darryl (STP) and Kelly's (SFP). Darryl seems to be involved because it is just the thing to do at the moment--a typical SP attribute who tend to live for the here and now. Kelly is emotionally vested to Darryl and it seems Darryl will give her a rude awakening somewhere down the line. This will happ
en whenever he loses interests--as ISTP's are often distracted with other things. Strongest Letter(s): IP

Holly Flax - Best Guess: IXXP - Holly is an Enigma. Outside of her more subdued season 7 appearances, she is a tough one to figure out. The reasons that she gets along so well with Michael is that they both have an extremely strong P side. Although later, Holly is able to reign this aspect in compared to her early showing. Though she is one that can have strong opinions, she is obviously on the Introverted (I) side and does not like confrontation (unlike Michael who seems to feed off of it). I do believe she has N tendencies if not an outright N simply because her mind seems to be less grounded than most; she appears to have that "I am not entirely here" feel to her. I find it puzzling that she relates so well to Michael in a rare S/N relationship that does work (assuming she even is an N). I would be inclined to say that she is a T, but it may be more of an odd SJ slant that comes with her character (loyalty, rule abiding, etc.); she seems to suffer from internal emotional conflicts as well and does quite well in bottling them in. Overall, I am at a loss here. Suggestions are welcome! - Strongest Letter(s): P?

Gabe Lewis - Best Guess: ISTJ w/ N slants - Gabe is another tough one to figure out. So let is go with what is obvious: He is obviously an introvert simply by observing his general nature. In his quasi-management position, he obviously needs to be (and mostly is) a strong TJ. He has many SJ characteristics. Clean cut, proper, rule abiding, organized (simply look at his dress as well as an episode that shows his house). On the surface, it appears that he is an ISTJ and very well may be. But on occasion, he seems to show signs that rules must be followed, not because they are rules, but simply because he does not want to be disturbed. As an NJ perhaps appreciates structure, but only on the "principle" level. I am not fully convinced that this necessarily means that Gabe is of the intuitive sort, but simply can lean in that direction. Strongest Letter(s): TJ

Erin Hannon - Best Guess: ISFP - Erin is just a happy person who is unquestionably nice, forgiving, and extreme naive to anything that is negative around her. She seems to have two types of reactions: One of playful happiness, or one of shock. She is either laughing at, well, whatever her co-workers are saying, or, she stands back in a state of *gasp!* at the juvenile happenings of Dunder-Mifflen. She shows great P tendencies as she is willing to go with whatever the others around are doing. She is the perfect compliment to Michael's uber-spontaneous ways. Strongest Letter(s): FP

Karen Filippelli - Best Guess: ISTJ; natural F leanings - Karen is a character that does not seem to have many layers. She is exactly what she appears to be. She obviously gains a management position eventually due to merit so this mostly cements her SJ credibility (In addition to the fact that she has never showed any signs of caring about anything that was not a grounded topic or directly related to what she can see in front of her.). Karen does not need to seek out people for attention nor does she get off on being confrontational, she is an exceptionally balanced introvert. Her tough-minded side does show that she will not back down when needed. With that being said, she is a "softer" T and showing feeling is not too difficult when needed; this aspect is as balanced as her I. Strongest Letter(s): S

After looking at the overall personalities of this office, it is no wonder why nothing ever gets done here. The ISJ's here--Toby, Angela, Oscar, and Stanley--are the only reliable people who do anything productive at Dunder-Mifflen in Scranton. These four are seemingly surrounded by SP's with a few head cases mixed in. No wonder why these four spend most of their screen time annoyed and frustrated.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha! Thats great. As an ENTP I have always recognized many similar characteristics that made me believe Jim was an ENTP (though an oppressed one). I think the only character I was 100% sure on was Creed being an INTP :) Nice Work

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't Jim be more of an INFJ? He is very much a relationship based person. He doesn't want to tell anyone about his relationships because he is concerned about how it might hurt other people's (Pam's) feelings, and is much more complex than at first glance.

Furthermore, he is charismatic, yet he doesn't like huge crowds (as demonstrated in BOTH the dinner parties that were in the show), preferring to be one on one with someone (pam).

Kicking Lettuce said...

I actually had Jim as an INFJ in my original profile of him.

However, take away the entire Pam plot and he seems to be an ENTP - granted not much of an E. Especially toward's Dwight.

Basically, they are just TV characters so many times they waffle between two or three types. Jim is an N--no doubt. I/E and T/F are really close. Look at his appearance, and he is a P.

Anonymous said...

You have GOT to change Meredith's type. While, yes INFPs are insane, they aren't Meredith. As an INFP, I would know... Please reconsider this~

Margo Quincy said...

This is fantastic! I love that Jim's an ENTP/ENFP (although I might be biased, since that's what I am).

Do you think that the writers intentionally made Jim and Pam opposites? As they say, opposites attract.

Niigatajin said...

Just found this. As a fan of MBTI and The Office I got a kick out of reading it. As an ISFJ, I finally figured out why I identified so much with Toby.

Ling-Ling said...

Can you do an analysis on Holly Flax?

I'm curious to know her type.
She got along with Michael and sometimes played along with his antics.

Chelsea said...

Great analysis! I agree that Jim is an ENTP, although he lacks confidence and so seems less extraverted at times. Although he's quite tender with Pam, I don't see any F in him otherwise, especially when he takes on a managerial role - remember when he tried to have them celebrate everyone's birthdays on the same day? All the Fs were upset. :D

Have you noticed that Pam has become considerably less sweet in the past couple of seasons? I wonder if she's just coming out of her shell, or if Jim is corrupting her.

You just about have me convinced that Michael is an ESFP, although at times he strikes me as classic ENFP. He's so frequently in LaLa Land and he reminds me of several ENFPs I know.


I think Holly Flax is an ESFJ. She's a people person, supportive and empathetic, but also has a strong sense of duty and right and wrong (as we saw in the episode where Meredith is accepting discounts from a vendor for sex.)

brian1625 said...

Jim Halpert. ISTP.

Pranks (Common for ISTPs) Sports, Can find some social situations awkward. Has trouble communicating feelings. (It's his theme of the show) Everybody likes Jim. (Common for ISTPs) Lazy around the house. Goes with the flow. Down to earth. The most practical in the office. (except when it comes to emotional matters) Get's "stuck in a rut" aka is so called dead end job.

lalalalalalala said...

I think Pam is an ISFJ. Now forget about the stereotypical "she's an artist" or "she's definitely not a J" and look into cognitive functions. Because they're what really matter. The j and p don't mean that someone is disorganized or organized, or whatever. I mean stereotypically yes, but not always. ISFJs have extraverted feeling as their sending strongest function and if you look at Pam and if you look at descriptions for extraverted feeling you can really see it, especially in her interactions with Michael. So I'd suggest you look here: http://personalitycafe.com/cognitive-functions/24032-intro-function-theory-more-detailed-descriptions-each-function-attitude.html and then think it over. Although I think a lot of the others are correct (:

Ellen Girvin said...

I'd say Holly is an ENFJ.

Anonymous said...

Stanley = ISTP. Not at all concerned with following rules; only wants to get his.

Oscar = INTJ. More analytical and theoretical than his ISTJ colleagues. Smartest in the office. Seeks the big picture.

Jim = Ixxx. Uncomfortable with attention, happy to work behind the scenes, uninterested in big city excitement, prefers staying home to going out.

Anonymous said...

Though I don't think this list is horrible, it would be more accurate (or at least as accurate as you can be with fictional characters) if the author studied cognitive functions and didn't base so many typings on stereotypes. That being said, here's some changes I would make.

Michael Scott-ENFP
Jim-ISTP
Pam-ISFJ (Another user made a good post on this)
Stanley-ISTP
Meredith-ESTP
Jan-ENTJ
Holly-ENFP
Gabe-He's a tough one to figure out, he's rule abiding but seems uncomfortable disciplining others, he's sensitive yet unaware of how others feel (see his relationship with Erin) He seems like really unhealthy IXFP in the grip of Te.
Erin-ESFP