The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test to determine how an individual perceives the world and makes decisions. Through a series of questions, the test determines if a person is:
- Extroverted (E) vs. Introverted (I)
- Sensing (S) vs. Intuitive (N)
- Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
- Judgment (J) vs. Perception (P)
These results are a broken down a series of letters so that people can determine where they are on the personality test. When I worked for the Writing Center, everyone took the MBTI and conversations revolved around who was a ENFP and who was an ISTP. Honestly, I had no clue what was what, so I was a little lost in terms of what everyone was talking about. There were too many letters for me to keep up with and ultimately, I’m not a big fan of a test where there is no right answer.
Yeah, I’m the kind of person who reads a magazine’s personality type and flips to the answers to figure out how best to answer the quiz. Otherwise, I will overthink my answers on these types of tests or I will imagine what I think should be the right answer rather than answering questions honestly with guy reactions. Even after taking the test, I wonder if I answered the questions “correctly” because, in my mind, there is a “right or wrong” personality. Remember the episode of Arrested Development where George Michael is taking the eye test and can’t decide on “1 or 2″? That’s me.
With all of this in mind, I am suggesting here today that we should throw out the MBIT in favor of a simpler personality test; the TMNTPT or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Personality Test.
Rationale: Cartoons have always been about diverse casts of characters to reach the largest number of viewers (Captain Planet being the perfect example of overkill on this concept), but the problem with most cartoons is that they revolve around essentially human leads for kids to relate to. Take, the Real Ghostbusters, for example. The personalities were great, but not too terribly defined. Each character had specific characteristics, to be sure, but none of them were so over the top as to create a character type (or an operational word for our purposes would be actant).
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is another example of ill-defined actants. Sure, Billy was the nerd of the group, but were any of the characters really defined in any way other than by weapon, Zord or color?
Then, there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These heroes in a half-shell weren’t human, so they couldn’t be related to by looks, so it was up to personality for kids to connect with. Of all cartoons, the TMNT had the most defined and diverse series of actants to the point of even announcing those character types in the theme song! Therefore, it stands to reason that of all the cartoons one could choose as a litmus test on personality, TMNT is the perfect one.
Experiment: Go watch any TMNT movie or the cartoon (the cartoon is probably preferred in this case because the turtles’ character types are more clearly defined than in the films). Now, think about whcih turtle you like the best and write down the reasons why.
If you already know who your favorite turtle is, then you may skip rewatching the movie, but I suggest watching the first film anyway, because it still holds up after all this time. Also, try to watch it on vhs because the dvd doesn’t have this sweet Pizza Hut commercial on it. Yeah, it makes me get teary-eyed, and no, I won’t apologize for it.
Side-question: Remember when Pizza Hut used to be the best place in the world? Maybe I’m biased because I’m from a small town.
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Are you done watching the movie or the cartoon yet?
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All right. Now that it’s over and you have some notes, here are your results in the form of Greimas’ Semiotic Square (for those of you who know and care, that is TWO Dr. Burling references in the same blog post. I’m proud of me).
Leonardo – The Leonardo types are serious, respectful, and often assume leadership roles. Leo types assume responsibility not just for their actions, but for the actions of others as well. They believe in working together and they have indomitable hope that things will work out if the team tries hard enough.
Raphael – Here is the inverse of Leo. Raphs are loners, they can be self-destructive at times, irresponsible, irrational, sarcastic and they feel “above” the system. Often conceited and critical of others, Raph types are the most independent to the point of detriment to their team. Often times, Raph types drift from group to group with little to no attachment to anyone.
Donatello – Opposite of Raphael’s irrationality is Donatello’s introspective thinking. Don can be funny at times, but he is the brains of the team. Even though he is introspective, he isn’t afraid of putting his ideas into action.
Michaelangelo – Mike is an extroverted party dude. Mikes thrive upon unity. They try to make everyone happy and they see the good in everyone. A Mike is the opposite of a Raph in that a Mike has to have others to define himself. Without a team, a Mike is alone and has no one to help define his personality.
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, but I can see myself as a Leo, and kind of a Don, and sometimes a Mike depending on certain days” well, then you didn’t take the test seriously and you have invalidated everything. Either you are or aren’t. You either do or do not. There is no try.
You know who said that? Splinter.
Or was that Yoda? We’ll chalk it up to Splinter.
I’m a Mike. I’m bothered when I’m in a group that isn’t unified. I try to make others laugh, but I find that all of my closest friends are Raphs. These are also the friends who can just as easily leave me and be friends with others. Leos aren’t so bad because they are loyal. They need a team as much as Mikes do, but Dons seem to be fine alone as well. Sure, Dons come out to talk and hang out from time to time, but they could just as easily be in study as in a social situation.
Ultimately, we all have our faults and I’m sure my list is not exhaustive. So, what do you think? Where do you stand? How can these personalities be improved?