Saturday, April 11, 2020

Oh Please, Can't I Be You? Your Personality's So Great

Princess in a Castle posted about one of those personality tests that have always been so popular on the interwebs. Like most people I'm a sucker for them, so I gave it a go. The results simultaneously flattered and flouted my sense of self but held a remarkable consistency.

I was sufficiently engaged not only to do the "recommended" regular test with its set of twenty-eight questions but also the "complete" version with the full one hundred and twenty-one. Whoever settled on those number counts is clearly comfortable with disorder, which bodes well.

The results showed a satisfying consistency between the shorter and longer examinations. The complete test did give a more granular account of my supposed personality but sweeping differences between the two sets were pleasinlgy rare.

The test seeks to correlate the input you provide with the personalities of characters from a number of well-known popular culture IPs as derived from similar responses from an ever-growing number of respondents. The main problem I had was that I didn't recognize half of them. So many things I've never watched or read or in some cases even heard of. Still, there were enough familiar names to make it work.

 My top three results from the shorter test were

Lady Sybil Crawley (Downton Abbey) - 87%
Goh Peik Lin (Crazy Rich Asians) - 83%.  
Luna Lovegood (Harry |Potter) - 82%

The first two are complete and total blanks. I have never watched Downton Abbey although I believe we may have a box set somewhere in the house. Crazy Rich Asians I only know as a book I've seen at work and a movie that briefly featured in Fantasy Movie League. I googled Lady Sibil and Goh Peik Lin and I have to say I am not displeased. Not displeased at all. Also, Akwafina in the movie... just sayin'.

As for Luna Lovegood, well, I have read all the Harry Potter books although I'm not a big fan, so I have a fair idea who she is. I get the impression she might have been a bigger deal in the movies than she was in the books. I really ought to get around to watching the movies one day.

I've never been particularly impressed wih J. K. Rowling's writing, other than with her astounding ability to turn a niche into a zeitgeist. I found the first two novels to be rather poor examples of children's genre fiction. They improve after that but the series as a whole is clearly in desperate need of a strong editor, something its incredible sales meant it never got. That said, characterization is one of Rowling's strong suits and Luna is a character I remember quite well. I don't think I'm that scatty but apparently my answers tell a different story, as we will see when we get to the results of the comparison with the cast of Friends.

Annoyingly, the website doesn't save your answers and I didn't think to copy the short set until it was too late. I did, however, record the results from the complete set of questions. On that list Lady Sybil drops to seventh place and Luna Lovegood to sixteenth, while Albus Dumbledore, who was fifth on the regular report, jumped up to third.

Once again, though, the list was dominated by people I'd never heard of. The top ten ran like this:

    Jadzia Dax (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) - 81%
    Inara Serra (Firefly + Serenity) - 80%
    Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter) - 79%
    Jules (Superbad) - 79%
    Salvatore Romano (Mad Men) - 78%
    Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender) - 77%
    Lady Sybil Crawley (Downton Abbey) - 77%
    The Oracle (The Matrix) - 77%
    Sam Seaborn (The West Wing) - 76%
    Gandalf (Lord of the Rings) - 75%

Of the top ten there are box sets of Firefly, Mad Men, The Matrix and The West Wing somewhere in the house, all still in their shrinkwrap. Other than Dumbledore, though, literally the only character name I recognize is Gandalf. Yes, I do know who Gandalf is but after my comments on J.K. Rowling... probably best I don't get started on Tolkein.

Much more interesting are the pull-out results for IPS that mostly didn't score any top ten hits. These are things I actually know, read, watch and like. Or, in most cases, love.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One of my favorite tv shows of all time. Obviously, I was hoping for Willow. Everyone wants to be Willow. That's a given.

    Willow Rosenberg : 66%
    Buffy Summers : 65%
    Rupert Giles : 64%
    Cordelia Chase : 56%
    Angel : 54%
    Xander Harris : 49% 

Yay! Those are in exactly the right order, although I can think of plenty of other Buffy supporting characters I'd take as a match over Angel. Better him than Xander, though. I mean, who would want to be Xander? Xander doesn't even want to be Xander.

I'm quite surprised I didn't top-match with Giles, given that I got Dumbledore and Gandalf in the main top ten. There are two very obvious patterns in my results - smart-mouthed girls and grizzled greybeards. Giles isn't that old but he's what passes for an elder statesman in the Buffyverse.

The Great Gatsby

One of my favorite novels since I first read it as a teenager and the only novel from which I know both the opening and closing sentences. I'd probably have expected to get Nick but I am very, very happy to get Jordan.

    Jordan Baker : 71%
    Jay Gatsby : 67%
    Nick Carraway : 55%
    Daisy Buchanan : 55%
    Myrtle Wilson : 44%
    Tom Buchanan : 34%

Jordan Baker is an underrated character. Variously described as cynical, modern and opaque. She's also tomboyish and vaguely amoral. What's not to like? Okay, she is a professional golfer but no-one's perfect!

Twin Peaks

Another all-time fave. No points for guessing I was hoping for Audrey Horne. I was close, too!

    Dale Cooper : 75%
    Audrey Horne : 67%
    Norma Jennings : 63%
    Donna Hayward : 58%
    Lucy Moran : 56%
    Josie Packard : 55%

Dale Cooper is an excellent result, even if I'd rather be Audrey. I bought a sampler all the way back in the late '80s and made a tune consisting almost entirely of Kyle MacLachlan soundbites. I wonder whatever happened to it. I should watch Twin Peaks again - I can't actually remember who the last two on that list are.

Parks and Recreation

On the shorter test I was dismayed to find my top match for P&R was... Tom Haverford. Seriously? Tom?! I mean I like Tom but would I want to be him? Hell, no! Once again, no points for guessing the character I would have wanted to match with. It's April, duh!

    Leslie Knope : 67%
    Tom Haverford : 65%
    Ann Perkins : 64%
    April Ludgate : 55%
    Ron Swanson : 48%
    Mark Brendanawicz : 44%

Ok, this is the one set of matches I just can't figure out. All the others seem to have some kind of internal consistency but... Lesley Knope? Tom Haverford?? Ann Perkins??? I can't even...

Harry Potter

As I said, not a huge Potter fan. I'm pretty sure I got Dumbledore (and Gandalf) because I gave a very high score to "Old" in my replies. Also I preferrenced "Wise" over "Foolish". And now that I look up my #1 match from the full survey, Jadzia Dax, I find that she's 350 years old! Defintely a theme developing here.

    Albus Dumbledore: 79%
    Luna Lovegood : 74%
    Nymphadora Tonks : 73%
    George Weasley : 72%
    Fleur Delacour : 70%
    Sirius Black : 69%

I don't think anyone's going to be insulted by a comparison with Dumbledore but I'm a lot happier with Luna Lovegood and, especially, Nymphadora Tonks, who comes close to being my favorite character in the whole series. At least she is until she seems to have a complete personality transplant half way through. I could do without George Weasley scoring into the seventies, though. Maybe he's less obnoxious in the movies.

Star Wars

I'm not much of a Star Wars fan either, although I've seen the first two trilogies and read a few of the comics. Yet to catch up with the current storyline. Leia is a lot feistier than I tend to remember. As I put my mind to it, she makes a better fit with the rest of the matches than I thought at first. Also an honor to be matched with Carrie Fisher, it goes without saying.

    Princess Leia : 70%
    Obi-Wan Kenobi : 67%
    Han Solo: 62%
    Luke Skywalker : 59%
    C-3PO : 52%
    Darth Vader : 41%

And look, there in the runner-up slot, it's a crusty old git! Er, sorry, wise elder. Again. I'm in some danger of being typecast, it seems. At least it wasn't frickin' Yoda.

The Simpsons

I used to love The Simpsons. Everyone did. Well, apart from George Bush Sr. Not watched it for a very long time, though. Not sure anyone does these days.

    Lisa Simpson : 69%
    Marge Simpson : 61%
    Apu Nahasapeemapetilon : 59%
    Ned Flanders : 56%
    Bart Simpson : 54%

    Waylon Smithers : 50% 

Now that's a horrific list. Lisa at the top is probably as good a result as I could hope for although she's a problematic role model at best. Marge is a neutral figure but Apu? Seriously? Is it because we both work in retail? And Ned Flanders and Smithers?? I don't think I want to pursue this any further. We shall move on and never speak of it again.


I'd really like to re-watch the whole of Friends, in sequence. I did that with Frasier and a few other sitcoms and it's fascinating how differently they present when you go through the storylines in a matter of weeks rather than years. Brings out so much nuance I missed first time around.

    Phoebe Buffay : 70%
    Rachel Green : 63%
    Joey Tribbiani : 61%
    Chandler Bing : 58%
    Monica Geller : 57%   

    Ross Geller: 43%

Well, gosh. Apparently Luna Lovegood wasn't scatty enough. Now I'm Phoebe, ffs! It's an interesting call. Phoebe is probably the nicest of the six. I balk at the hippy implications but really, look at the alternatives. Would you want to be Rachel? Or Ross? Or Monica, for heaven's sake? I'd probably plump for Chandler, given a free run at it. He's a bit of a doofus, sure, but he's razor sharp when he wants to be.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

I'd have been a lot more interested in my matches with the DC TV Universe - or the Arrowverse, as it's awkwardly known. A few characters there I wouldn't mind being paired with. MCU is what we've got, though, and there are plenty of enticing possibilities.

   Tony Stark : 68%
    Black Panther : 68%
    Dr. Strange : 67%
    Peggy Carter : 67%
    Thor : 63%
    Black Widow : 62%
    Captain Marvel : 62%

Most of whom don't make it to the top six. I'm getting the old/wise thing again here, aren't I? I know Tony Stark isn't exactly ancient but he's kind of the paterfamilias figure, at least when Nick Fury's out of the room. And the Black Panther is supposed to have gravitas, even if it can be a little hard to tell, sometimes. Dr. Strange, fits the profile, too. Still, I have to say there are worse people you could find yourself matched with than Tony Stark. Shame about that beachfront property, though. I'd have enjoyed living there.

And that's about it. A lot of fun was had so thanks, Endalia.

I also answered the optional quiz that builds data to attempt to make the whole thing more "accurate". I gave my considered opinions on characters from Casabalanca and The X-Files to add to the database, neither of which I have seen in two decades at least. It also didn't seem to be checking my IP address so I was able to answer the questions twice, which casts a little shade on the methodology.

All the same, I have to say that a lot more of the top matches fit my internal self-image than I would expect from randomization. There are some very clear patterns. Nothing that would surprise Mrs Bhagpuss, who could probably have picked most of these matches with her eyes closed, but that just enhances their credibility.

I should probably check out some of the characters and IPs that I don't know, especially those that scored better than an 80% match. Based on the rest of the results, they could be right up my alley.


  1. I love your idea of breaking this down by franchises! I may borrow this concept. ;)

    I ran through the short list the other night, but didn't save or at the time make a post of it. I had to look up a number of characters too. xD

    Alright... Yep. The post I write tomorrow (for the next day, I'm ahead at last!) I'll run through it again and see how it all shakes out. :)

    1. I think it's much more interesting comparing within the context of a specific IP than across the whole of popular culture, although it also does really bring home how formalized (not to say formulaic) the creative process can be. Pretty well all of the franchises have clear examples of the same set of character types.

  2. Oh look! My name is in italics. That must mean I'm special.

    1. Heheh! I kind of explain how that works here but also, yes, you're special!

  3. So you're haven't watched Firefly and Deep Space Nine?

    My suggestion: drop whatever you're doing and treat yourself. ;-)

    Also, yeah, having a 75% match with Dale Cooper is pretty darn sweet.

    1. Firefly has made it to the top of the pile several times but for some reason I never quite pull the trigger. It's always imminent, though. Bound to happen sometime.

      I was never much of a Star Trek fan. I watched the original series in my adolescence and enjoyed it but any SF on tv was a novelty then. I also watched a lot of TNG because it was on at a convenient time. I can't remember DSN being shown on broadcast tv in the UK when it was actually around. It's on Prime but you have to pay for it there. I see it's on Netflix as part of the sub. I am really tempted to get a Nertflix subscription, although not for that show.

  4. Lucy was the ditzy receptionist at the Sheriff's, and Josie was the Chinese-born owner of the saw mill.

  5. I need to do this test, now. Specifically for the fact that they include Twin Peaks, and it's a fandom I don't see as much of as I want to. (Also, Saw-Lau beat me to noting whom the characters were. ;) ) Jadzia is a pretty rad character (DS9 is my fave Trek), and a lot of folks would love to have gotten her as a result.


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