Writing characters means writing their personalities. How did The Office do it?
When you think about TV shows with the best ensemble characters, The Office comes to the forefront of your mind. Not only does it have some of the best protagonists but the supporting cast also sticks out in a big way.
You can thank the stellar writing for that, as well as the wonderful actors who embodied these roles that fit into certain archetypes and personalities.
I know a lot of people love personality tests. My group thread made me take on yesterday and I got ENFJ-T. I didn't read what it means but I know the J is for judging and that tracks.
So, let's take a look at the personality traits of the characters in The Office in this video essay from Creative Principles.
What are the Personality Types of the Characters on The Office
So, how do the 16 Personality Types make up the characters on The Office?
Contrary to popular belief, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is filled with lots of interesting people. And most of them work at Dunder Mifflin. It is an office packed with interesting characters.
Let's start with a known social climber Ryan Howard.
Ryan's personality pushes him to business school, but it also allows the writers to explore his weakness of power struggled, ambition, and succumbing to his own ego instead of helping others.
He's almost like if Michael Scott went evil.
Michael is a wild hype man who's constantly trying to get the most out of his crew with unorthodox methods. He frequently puts his foot in his mouth but has the best intentions in mind.
He's a sensitive soul.
Much like Phyllis who has strong opinions but lets Bob Vance express them for her.
Phyllis is like the show's big sister. She has her crew she protects and the rest of people have to fend for themselves. If you're on her good side, she'll be your best friend in the world, but if not, she won't let you on the party planning committee.
Lucky for Pam, Phyllis likes her.
Pam is one of the only introverts on The Office.
She carries a lot on the inside, but that makes her one of the smartest characters, too. She tends to be a wanderer. Seeking out things in life.
Maybe that's what brought Pam to Jim.
He has her back and encourages her to explore. When she needs to talk, Jim is there for the banter. He loves it.
Jim can be unpredictable, but at his heart, he just wants to feel like his job means something. It takes several seasons of maturation for this to come to light and a relationship with Pam.
It's true that opposites may attract.
But don't tell Jim that he's only a letter or two away from being Dwight.
Dwight K. Schrute is known for following and enforcing the rules. He does not like to cross boundaries. And he takes even the smallest responsibility super-seriously.
Bears. Beats. Battlestar Galactica.
He’s intensely organized and ridiculous and his character stays consistent throughout the series. Although he mellows out later on.
What can these personalities teach you about your own writing?
Dig through them and discover your characters' voices.
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