Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The West Wing

The Analysis of The West Wing Characters: One of the greatest written dramas. Most politicians are SJ's. Let's see what the players involved bring to the table and if this theory holds true.

Meet the Characters

President Jed Bartlet - Best Guess: ENTJ - President Bartlett is a man of vision. He is quick with decisions (J), he has no problem being objective (or tough) on those whom he is close to (T), and he thrives on the company of others (E). This only leaves one question. N or S? ESTJ's are all of the above. But they are restricted. Restricted by the rules of the game. Bartlet, obviously as the President has to follow the rules, and he does when possible. But he is not afraid to set new policies or new precedences for others. He is not afraid of change. And he makes the rational decision--not just decisions based on tradition or policy. If an ESTJ is a leader, the ENTJ is the super leader. Strongest Letter(s): EJ

Abbey Bartlet - Best Guess: ENFJ - Dr. Abbey Bartlett is a woman who likes an audience to talk to. She can be confrontational while aggressively judging (J) based on her emotional (F) reasoning. Rather than run from a confrontation she will come find it (EJ). She is a solid E, F, and J, no doubt. So, once again, we come to this: Is she an N or an S? As an ESFJ she would be the caring motherly type, always providing for the needs of everyone. While she can do this to an extent, I see her as a big picture type--not just worrying about being the good host. This fact, along with being a doctor, leads me to believe that Abbey is an ENFJ. Strongest Letter(s): FJ

Leo McGarry - Best Guess: ISTJ - Leo is the Chief of Staff for President Bartlett. One of the reasons that he is so successful at this is because he is an ISTJ. One important trait of a true ISTJ--which Leo is--is that they are masters at scheduling. And scheduling the day for the President is one of his important tasks. Also, as a Chief of Staff, he is a personal confidant to the President. The President turns to his Chief for their opinions on critical matters. Many times the President will act on information given to him by the Chief of Staff himself--even if it is a sensitive judgment call. We see this many times between Leo and Bartlett. ISTJ's make excellent leaders themselves and are not afraid to make decision in a hurry--but prefer to do so behind closed doors--just like this Chief of Staff. Strongest Letter(s): IJ

Josh Lyman - Best Guess: ESTP - Josh is a fast-talking (E) salesmen. It is no wonder why that one of his primary responsibilities it to work directly with the opposing congressmen and "wheel and deal" away. Work comes before everything else with Josh--even relationships. In fact, he choose to alienate one female companion because he essentially decided a political policy was more important than his romantic feelings for her. Think T much? Josh is not an incredibly deep character--but he is a fun one. Just like most ESTP's. (Exceptions granted). When he is assisting with the campaign of Idealistic Matt Santos, Josh displayed his S qualities that kept Santos grounded into reality. Josh is terrific at observing and seeing what is in front of him and around him. However, he does have some subtle N traits in that he does look at the big picture. But I believe this is mostly due to patriotism; not idealism. Strongest Letter(s): ET

Toby Ziegler - Best Guess: INTP; with F leanings - Toby is the conscience of the staff and desperately tries to maintain the dignity of The Office with the ideals of what it should represent. And to try to attempt this would take a serious toll on only one person. And this is exactly what we see with Toby who is always seemingly walking with his head down as if the world has trampled all over him. Toby is seemingly an F who becomes emotionally vested with any task/responsibility/duty/project that he is involved in. But I believe ultimately, it is his strong principles that are behind this. He has a heavy T-side to him in that he finds it difficult to display empathy towards others. He displays INTP traits in that he looks at the big picture rather than making initial judgements. He has shown to break the established rules (legally or otherwise) if the principle is sound. He is often disappointed and let down with the corrupt and superficial world that is politics. It seems, in his eyes, he is fighting a losing battle. Often times his frustrations becomes greatly manifested when all he is trying to do is make this world a better place and fix all its problems! Strongest Letter(s): IN

C.J. Cregg - Best Guess: ENFP; Possibly ENFJ - One would think C.J. has a very easily pegged personality. I have found this is not the case. So let's look at what we know. She is the press secretary. This requires her to be extroverted. Not a job for an Introvert. In at least two traumatic situations--the murder of a male love interest and the health of her father--she handles them in an extremely emotional manner. However, with the exception of the most hardened T's, many would handle these situations the same way. So we must look deeper. C.J. tends to be clumsy and in some situations (outside of the press room) overwhelmed. I believe these can be subtle attributes of FP characteristics. She is deeply caring and a sensitive person--also traits of an FP. To cement the fact that she is a P, one only needs to look how she handles the press. Knowing she can not lie, she often needs to improvise while simply masking the truth. This is something an EP would be very capable of doing. So, is she an ESFP or ENFP? I just do not see her seeking attention as a performer would, but I can see her getting up and leaving the country for a job of goodwill. In reality she would never do this of course. Her NF side is just not that strong--so she is stuck in politics because it is what she does best. Until further notice, ENFP it is. Strongest Letter(s): EF

Sam Seaborn - Best Guess: ENFP; possibly ENFJ - Sam is people-oriented and is just a friendly person to be around, as are most EFP's. Being occasionally impulsive and absent-minded, I believe he is a P (but very balanced). Sam is a speech writer, so one would assume being an idealistic NF is a good thing here. In fact, when Sam unintentionally slept with a D.C. call girl, he continued his relationship even after learning of this fact despite the possible damage to his reputation. In an NF type idealistic move, he even tried to help her become a "better" person--much to her chagrin. However, what is the most telling aspect of his personality? He eventually leaves the President's inner staff in order to run for for the office of a Democratic congressman--in a Republican district. One would think this is a demotion? This is not a decision that a rational NT, a hard-nosed STP, or a shrewd SJ would make. No, he did this because he was going to honor the campaign of an older man who died while running for office. And if things weren't hard enough in this campaign, it was thought to be a no-win scenario. Sam does win and does take the Congress seat because he feels it is the right thing to do. This screams to me ENFP. Sam is the champion! Strongest Letter(s): EP

Charlie Young - Best Guess: ISTJ; possibly ISFJ - Charlie is a quiet (I), yet very reliable (J) personal assistant to President Bartlett. Though he has a sense of humor and has been known to participate in some limited forms of practical joking, he would never outwardly break the rules. This fact--along with being very loyal to President Bartlett--tells me he is an SJ. So is he an F or T? I believe in this one area he tends to straddle the fence. While Leo--also an ISTJ--can be a formidable character, Charlie can be kind and sensitive. But in the end, he always will do what is logical and will keep his emotions in check (see the kidnapping of Zooey). He is an ISTJ. Strongest Letter(s): IJ

Donna Moss - Best Guess: ESFP - Donna is not a politician. In fact, there are a very few amount of ESFP politicians around and for good reason. Not a lot would get accomplished. They just want to have some fun. (Ironically Bill Clinton was an ESFP President; we saw how that worked out.) However, an SFP would make for a terrific office assistant in a tense environment; and that is where Donna's role comes in. Surrounded by so many overworked staff members, Donna is usually the one that eases the tension and makes the witty comment or says just enough to make them smile. Her playful banter with ESTP Josh--her direct supervisor--always keeps things moving (just as one would expect in conversations between two extroverted SP's). Strongest Letter(s): FP

Will Bailey - Best Guess: ESTJ - Sam's initial replacement, Will, starts out as a speech writer. He is initially given a team of interns to help him with an important speech that is extremely time-sensitive. Will had no problem dictating to these young woman what to do and had them up all night doing it. This natural bit of delegation was very easy for him--once he became organized--being that he is an STJ. Will is very ambitious and quickly moves on to join the Vice President's staff because it is an opportunity to climb the positional ladder faster in the short term--further cementing his SJ nature. This rash career change shows his poor judgment and lack of "big picture" thinking ability as the Vice President clearly is not presidential material. He is too occupied only with what is in front of him, just like an S would be. I will settle on Will being an E slightly more so than an I because of his potentially demanding nature. He also tends to speak before he thinks. Strongest Letter(s): SJ

Congressman Matthew Santos - Best Guess: ENFP - As a presidential candidate, Matthew Santos clearly displays an N-like quality as his head is constantly in the clouds. He is caught up in his own idealism and (what he considers) his perfect ideas that will make the country a better place. He starts off completely ignorant of the ways of a politician who are taught to tell the crowd what they want to hear. He feels strongly on his policy ideas and he wants the people to know where he stands. He is almost emotional when he speaks of these things. He is not your normal political candidate. He needs STP Josh who is much more grounded in reality to guide him in the ways. If Santos displays any S-like qualities, it is only because Josh is behind it and urging him on. Strongest Letter(s): NF

Senator Arnold Vinick - Best Guess: INTJ - Like Santos, as a Presidential candidate, Arnold Vinick does not feel he needs to tell the crowds what they want to hear. However, they have completely different thought processing behind their thinking. While Santos is idealistic, Vinick is pragmatic. He tells the crowds what makes sense, what is logical. He is not an SJ who will follow a traditional course, rather he is an NT who will look at the big picture--even if it upsets those in front of him. Because Santos is an F, he will occasionally give in to the pressure to do what is traditional. Vinick, however, is a strong T and will not allow the common opinions sway his course. Strongest Letter(s): TJ

Vice President Bob Russell - Best Guess: ESTP - This Vice President has a very ISTP like image as the "cowboy from out west". Because it is only an image, he is actually an ESTP who knows all about portraying certain qualities. Granted, this may be easier for him because he is very close to being an ISTP, and he does not seem like an overly extroverted type, I believe he ultimately is an E. He shows he is very clever with words, more so than his "tools" (of an ISTP). As a presidential candidate, he talks the talk and is very much a crowd pleaser--a salesmen of sorts. He comes of very superficial and attempts to act like he is a caring person who only cares about doing what is right; in actuality, and like a good ESTP, he is only promoting whatever it is that works best for him and his career. Strongest Letter(s): ST

Kate Harper - Best Guess: ISTJ - The first aspect you may notice about Kate is that she is an extremely low-key person (I); as a former intelligence officer and current Deputy National Security Advisor, she is required to analyze and look objectively at the world scene in order to pass on information to those who need it. She does this exceptonally well as she is a very healthy T. Strongest Letter(s): IJ

Annabeth Schott - Best Guess: ESFP - Annabeth is the most bubbly, perky, positive person here. In being this way, she is the anti-Toby. She dresses in bright colors and is always smiling (F). Her responsibilities mostly involve public relations. She is not a politician by any means, but was hired as the Deputy Press Secretary because she does so well handling people (E!).
Strongest Letter(s): EF

So, it appears as if there is a good mix of personality on this show-- much more than just your typical SJ political cast. And really, it is the characters and their dialog and personal relationships--not the setting--that drives this show. Not the politics. And that is why Season 5 and 6 are by far the most flat of all 7.

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