Friday, October 30, 2015

Ghostbusters and the 4 Archetype Characters

Since it's all Halloween and stuff, I thought I'd use the opportunity to use one of the greatest movies of all time as a sterling example of the four basic personality types.

Don't forget there's variation in there, usually of the introvert/extrovert flavor.

Source: Columbia Pictures
Let's just go left to right in the picture.

Egon Spangler is the token NT Rational: the nerd, the scientist. Always calculating, questioning, and over-thinking. Emotionally inept (unable to see the secretary's crush on him). Relies a lot on technology and is always inventing things.

These characters are typically nerds in movies, but keep in mind while there is truth to this, the most important thing is they are asking the big-picture questions and answering everyone else's questions with precision. They don't have to be scientists- they make great military strategists.

Ray Stantz is the NF Idealist: "The heart of the Ghostbusters." He is easily swept up in the ideas of others and has the enthusiasm and optimism that just makes you want to hug him.

Ray naively denied his divinity (after trying to reason with Gozer) and is the one who thought of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man because a happy, harmless childhood memory "just popped in there." While Idealists are known for being emotional, Ray shows they aren't totally wimpy either.

Peter Venkman is the quip-master SP Artisan. He sweet-talks Ray into a 3rd mortgage to pay for their business venture, and he has almost all the comebacks we love. Generally smooth under pressure (except when he was slimed) and lies like a carpet whenever he wants something.

Venkman was the prime motivator of the plot, the show-man. Ray and Egon wanted to catch ghosts and thought it could be done, but it was the Artisan who made it happen. And also the Artisan's big mouth which got them in trouble with the EPA. In the end, it's Venkman who convinces the mayor to take a chance on them by hitting the politician where it matters most: "Lennie, you will be the responsible for saving the lives of millions of registered voters."

Winston Zedemore , the down-to earth SJ Guradian joins the team last, as a hire-on to help with the workload. When interviewed he's asked if he believes in a bunch supernatural stuff and his response is, "If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say." He's less knowledgeable than the others, but he doesn't want to know more- he just wants a job. He's a bit of a square, but he's a dependable guy.

When they're all in jail, while the others are discussing the outlandish situation, he may believe them but thinks they're all crazy for preparing to explain to the authorities.

In fact, that jail conversation is a perfect example of all the types.
Idealist Ray: We gotta get out of here. We gotta talk to a judge or something.
Guardian Winston: Wait a minute! You're actually going to go before a federal judge and say some moldy Babylonian god is going to drop down on Central Park West and start tearing up the city?
Rational Egon: Sumerian, not Babylonian.
Artisan Pete: Yeah, big difference.
Guardian Winston: No offense, but I'm gonna to get my own lawyer.

So it should be interesting to see how the new movie plays out. When you go see it, look for the same characters. It's the interplay of the four types- and that everyone in the audience can identify with one of them- that made the original work so well.

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