#TypesTuesday – Some Character Type Examples

woman-making-list-etbscreenwritingA reader wrote in and submitted a list of film and television characters and questions about identifying the Character Types. She did a great job identifying the characters but most of her “misses” were in the area of the Power of Truth.

Power of Truth characters can be a bit tricky. People who have difficulty with or question their identity of sexual identity (Alan Harper) people who don’t know who they can trust or question the truth and believe in or discover conspiracy theories (Michael Scofield) and spies and those who conceal their identities or live by subterfuge and their wits (Aladdin) are usually Power of Truth Characters.  The full list is below. See if you agree. If not tell me why:

TV Shows

– Rachel Green ( Jennifer Aniston ) in Friends : Power of Idealism

– Chandler Bing ( Matthew Perry ) in Friends : Power of Excitement

– Monica Geller ( Courtney Cox ) in Friends : Power of Reason

– Fran Fine ( Fran Drescher ) in The Nanny : Power of Love

– Maxwell Sheffield ( Charles Shaughnessy ) in The Nanny : Power of Conscience

– Lucas Scott ( Chad Michael Murray ) in One Tree Hill : Power of Idealism

– Peyton Sawyer ( Hilarie Burton ) in One Tree Hill : Power of Idealism

– Michael Scofield ( Wentworth Miller ) in Prison Break : Power of Truth and Prison Break is a Power of Truth TV show

– Lincoln burrows ( Dominic Purcell ) in Prison Break : Power of Will

– Charlie Harper ( Charlie Sheen ) in Two and a Half Men : Power of Excitement

– Alan Harper ( Jon Cryer ) in Two and a Half Men : Power of Truth


– Dr. David Huxley ( Carey Grant ) in Bringing up Baby : Power of Reason

– Susan Vance ( Katherine Hepburn ) in Bringing up Baby : Power of Love

– George Wade ( Hugh Grant ) in Two Weeks Notice : Power of Excitement

– Lucy Kelson ( Sandra Bullock ) in Two Weeks Notice : Power of Conscience

– Tracy Turnblad ( Nikky Blonsky ) in Hairspray : Power of Idealism

– Brian O’Conner ( Paul Walker ) in The Fast and the Furious : Power of Conscience

– Dominic Toretto ( Vin Diesel ) in The Fast and the Furious : Power of Will

– Sally Albright ( Meg Ryan ) in When Harry met Sally : Power of Conscience

– Harry Burns ( Billy Crystal ) in When Harry met Sally : Power of Truth

– Kathleen Kelly ( Meg Ryan ) in You’ve Got Mail : Power of Imagination-

– Joe Fox ( Tom Hanks ) in You’ve Got Mail : Power of Truth-

– Aladdin in Aladdin : Power of Truth

– Giselle ( Amy Adams ) in Enchanted : Power of Imagination

– Robert Philip ( Patrick Dempsey ) in Enchanted : Power of Truth

The Dark Knight, The Joker and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson – Power of Excitement

ledger-joker ETB ScreenwritingThis weekend, I saw two films that explore the Dark Side of the Power of Excitement Character Type:  Gonzo:  The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and The Joker (brilliantly played by Heath Ledger) in Dark Knight .  Let’s  take a look at the underbelly of this fascinating Character Type.

Hunter S. Thompson was a writer who straddled the Dark Side of the Power of Excitement.  Although real people are, of course, more complex than fictional characters, they still have a core or essence that can be traced back to one type.

Self-described “gonzo” journalist ,Hunter S. Thompson, became famous in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine for his sense of wild adventure, drug use and love of chaos and anarchy.  He ran a campaign for Sheriff in Aspen in the 1970’s based on those principles.  All these basic elements were a part of his unique writing style.

Bill Cardoso, editor of the Boston Globe magazine, claimed “gonzo” was South Boston Irish slang describing the last man standing after an all night drinking marathon.  In other contexts, gonzo has come to mean “with reckless abandon,” “out of control “or “extreme.”

Thompson committed suicide when he decided life wasn’t fun any more. He did, however, maintain an explosive personality to the end.  At his funeral, he requested his ashes be shot out of a canon from a tower he designed personally (in the shape of of a double thumbed fist holding a peyote button) as Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” blared over loudspeakers.  Thompson’s funeral was a fitting send off for a man hell-bent on the next wild escapade.  One of his favorite sayings was: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

In Dark Knight, the Joker pushes the Dark Side to its furthest extreme.  He says to Harvey Dent (Two-Face):  “Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don’t have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. You know what I am, Harvey? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one. I just do things. I’m a wrench in the gears. I hate plans. Yours, theirs, everyone’s. Maroni has plans. Gordon has plans. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I am not a schemer. I show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are…  It’s a schemer who put you where you are. You were a schemer. You had plans. Look where it got you. I just did what I do best– I took your plan and turned it in on itself.”

The Joker’s words aptly sums up Thompson’s approach to journalism.  Throw a wrench in the gears, turn things in on themselves and expose how pathetic politicians’ attempts to control things really are.

The Joker elaborates to Dent/Two Face:  “I am an agent of chaos. And you know the thing about chaos, Harvey? It’s fear.”

Thompson was also an agent of chaos.  His “fear and loathing” books were about what happens when chaos ensues.  Sadly, in the end, he was as trapped by his wild persona as if he were a meek and mild drone working a nine to five job.  He became a caricature of himself, satirized as “Duke” in the comic strip Doonsbury.

Her lover tells Holly Golightly (a female Power of Excitement character) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “You say you are a wild thing… (Y)ou’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”  However hard or fast you try to escape– there you still are.