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"even if I knew which box in the garage or the basement they were packed away in, that's a memory vault I'm not sure I want to visit. It's dark, it's creepy, it's full of bats and spiders, there are at least three evil trolls guarding the door, and God knows what skeletons lay entombed inside."

Set yourself freeeeeeee, Lance! Go down and be the master of your memory vault!

blue girl

Of course, you ask a question at the end of your post and my mind goes blank. I can't think of one single type I love. Not one! But, maybe it's because all the types you list above are negative types. Most of the people I love fall into those types -- but, I can't say I love the "type" in and of itself.

I do have to say that the reason I started blogging was because I was afraid I was becoming a combination of the Self-righteous Wet Blanket and the Little Red Hen.

I was afraid I was becoming that way because my friends starting calling me "Debbie The Downer" -- that character from SNL.

Who cares about football ... anyone want to discuss the Holocaust?

You don't like Clinton because he cheated on his wife? Oh yeah? Don't you know about Newt Gingrich, for God's sake?!

Blogging's gotten that (sort of) out of my system. So, I'm grateful for that. And so are my family and friends, I'm sure!

I love the exchange you posted between Sam and Frazier...

First you'd say a lot of gobbledy-gook no one could understand...

I can just see and hear Sam saying that.

What a great show.


Why do I now picture you wearing a turban and offering us insight not only into ourselves, but into our futures??? Perhaps a late night, Lance hot-line will be in your future!


Dear Frasier...I mean Lance,

Great post! And good choice using the Cheeers characters as examples describing your human types. They're classics.

Dave G

I have nothing to add except to say you should write more posts about this and more posts about Cheers. What a great blog you've got.

And more posts about Taxi! Taxi!!!


Damn. Good stuff. Stuck a pin right through the Self-Righteous Wet Blanket and mounted him/her with a neat little label next to the pin.


Great post. I liked the first post but couldn't think of anything to comment on specifically... this one makes me think of why I loved the Miss Marple mysteries. Her conclusions were always based on people types.

Chris Galdieri

More posts using Cheers characters as examples of types would be terrific. And a question: Do you consider Lilith a variation on the pedant/showoff/knowitall type or a different type altogether?

Exiled in New Jersey

"this one makes me think of why I loved the Miss Marple mysteries. Her conclusions were always based on people types." You know, Claire, if Lance weren't such a devotee of the Cheers gang, there is a wonderful post to be authored on the difference between the good Little Red Hen Miss Marple and that sanctimonious steal the punchbowl bag of wind, Jessica Fletcher.


"How can you waste all your time arguing about baseball when Bush is shredding the Constitution!"

Funny you say that.

Kevin Wolf

Mr Mannion, what are the differences between types and archetypes?

Just kidding. You've done enough work for today. Good stuff.

This is why I could never write fiction: I sure as hell could never keep track of all the stuff in writing (like recognizing a type and its uses) that helps you get the mess of life down on paper in an understandable form.



Cool, this is the kind of Customer Service I wish I could convince most of my clients to provide.


How about the incorrigible flirt, you know, who has a quasi-sexualized relationship with everyone? Particularly the female of the species, whose symptoms tend to include persistent, subtle meanness toward other girls/women. Does that count as a type or a temperament?

Mark Bernstein

Great post. But you did ask a question, so I'll mention a couple of types that come to mind. I'll be curious to see how you classify, or reclassify them.

The Sharer is one of my favorite types. It can also be one of my least favorite. And again, the divide comes from temperament. The Sharer loves to pass on his or her favorite things - movies, TV shows, bloggers, musicians, restaurants, you name it. Any blogger who posts a lot of links (like me in my LiveJournal, admittedly) is something of a Sharer.

Good Sharers share because they want other people to experience the same joy or enlightenment they got from the thing being shared. If you like it, wonderful! If you don't, that's cool too. Bad Sharers are out to prove how impeccable their taste is. They're the ones who tell you your life simply isn't complete until you've read book X, or that there can't possibly be any argument that restaurant Y makes the best hot-and-sour soup in town. Bad Sharers have trouble grasping the concept of "a matter of taste."

My least favorite type of all? That's easy - the Bully. Anyone who tries to stifle dissent or disagreement through intimidation, anyone who practices any form of abuse (physical, verbal, emotional) immediately gets on my bad side. For many Bullies, perhaps most, it's an expression of insecurity, a realization that they can't win a fair argument. These Bullies are an extreme form of resenter. For a smaller, less pleasant group, it's the sheer enjoyment of the accumulation and exercise of power.


You know, this is all fun and wonderfull, but don't you know that there are albino, hermaphrodidic midgets with leprosy suffering, umm, somewhere right now?


Oh, boy! This is fun! It's suppertime so I can't respond at length right now. I'll be back. But one quick reply.

L.: How about the incorrigible flirt...Does that count as a type or a temperament?

L, I know the type. Ba-da-bing. Actually, I think there are types of flirts, not all of them driven by flirtatious temperaments. You've got your Southern Belle (who isn't necessarily Southern or a woman), your Vamp, your Femme Fatale (again not necessarily une femme), your Class Sweetheart, and your Daddy's Good Little Girl (see above). There are probably more.


I love you, Lance Mannion -- great post (Call me The Easy Lover).

As I mentioned on Linkmeister's post, I think that Blue Girl, with her constant provocations and ironic little commentaries, deserves a type of her own: The Troublemaker. Wherever she goes, mischief is sure to follow.


How about the Bundle of Nerves? (the Nervous Nellie, the Nervous Wreck, the Worry Wort...) In drama, they're intense, but prone to insecurity and maybe a little neurotic. They're biggest fault seems to be vulnerability to cowardice, but it's not that they lack bravery, they just think too damn much. And in comedy, they're hilarious.

If he worked on the Enterprise, he'd be Ensign Barkley. If he was a Winnie-the-Pooh character, he'd be Rabbit. They can be brilliant and heroic, like Willow Rosenberg. Or venal but decent, like Ensign Pulver. Or weasly and stupid, like Frank Burns.

They're Aunt Aunt Pittypat from Gone With the Wind. Or Barney Fife from Mayberry. Or, to bring it back to the Cheers universe, Niles Crane.

This is a favorite of mine because coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) many of the people I work with can be described this way.

vevlet goldmine

SV -- Your "Bundle of Nerves" example finally connected the dots about why this conversation was sounding so familiar. Matt Groening was pretty good at the "types of"... teachers, fellow students, etc., in his Life is Hell series. Here he is on matter so the heart, though regrettably sans drawings.

The 9 Types of Boyfriends

Joe Sensitive
"After I wash the dishes, let's cuddle, OK?"
Also known as: Mr. Nice Guy, Family man, Honey, Darling, Soft-boiled Egg, Snugglepup
Advantages: Well-behaved; irons own shirts
Disadvantages: Irritatingly compassionate, wimpy

Old Man Grumpus
"People are stupid. The world can go to hell. Let's stay home and watch TV."
Also known as: Grumbles, Sour puss, Stick-in-the-mud, Old Fogey, Slow Mover, Jerk
Advantages: Stays put; predictable
Disadvantages: Royal pain in the ass

"I--I'm sorry for whatever it was I did."
Also known as: Trembly, Creampuff, Hey you
Advantages: Jumps entertainingly when startled
Disadvantages: Easily spooked; surrenders without a struggle

"Shut yer trap, I'm thinkin'."
Also known as: Chunk-style, Lummox, Ignoramus, Galoot, the Hulk, Big 'n' Dumb
Advantages: Can tote bales; is easily fooled
Disadvantages: Can break you in half, sweats like a pig

Also known as: Lucky Dog, Parasite, Bum, Sponge, Snoozebucket, Drug Addict
Advantages: Well rested; easy target
Disadvantages: Unlikely to fulfull your dreams

The Sneak
"Who, me?"
Also known as: Love Pirate, Snake, Rat, Slime, G-D Son of a Bitch
Advantages: May feel pangs of guilt
Disadvantages: May be having time of his life

Ace of Hearts
"After I wash the dishes let's make love like crazed weasels, OK?"
Also known as: The Sizzler, Handyman, Dreamboat, Casanova, Monster
Advantages: Perpetually aroused
Disadvantages: Perpetually aroused

The Dreamer
"Someday I'm going to be rich and famous. I don't know how, but--"
Also known as: Struggling Artist, Philosopher, Buffoon, Bag of Wind
Advantages: Tells good stories
Disadvantages: Will turn into "Old Man Grumpus"

Mr. Right
"While the servants wash the dishes, let's make love like crazed weasels in my new yacht, ok?"
Also known as: Mr. Perfect, Jim Dandy
Advantages: Answer to a woman's prayer
Disadvantages: Hunted to extinction

The 9 Types of Girlfriends
Ms. Nice Guy
"Tickets to the boxing match? Oh, darling, you shouldn't have!"
Also known as: Whattagal, Precious, one of the boys, My Main Squeeze, Doormat
Advantages: Cheerful, agreeable, kindly
Disadvantages: May wise up someday

Old Yeller
"You G-D spineless good-for-nothing drag-ass no-talent son of a bitch! Can't you see you're making me miserable??"
Also known as: She-Devil, Sourpuss, the Nag, My Old Lady, Warthog from Hell
Advantages: Pays attention to you
Disadvantages: Screeches, throws frying pans

"Oh, my head. My head. My feet. My cramps. My cellulite."
Also known as: Whiner, Mewler, Grumpy
Advantages: Predictable
Disadvantages: Contagious

The Bosser
"Stand up straight. Put on a different tie. Get a haircut. Change your job. Make some money. Don't give me that look."
Also known as: Whipcracker, The Sarge, Ms. Know-it-all, Ball and Chain, Yes Mom
Advantages: Often right
Disadvantages: Often right, but so what?

Ms. Vaguely Dissatisfied
"I just can't decide. Should I switch my career, goals, home, and hair color?"
Also known as: The Fretter, Worrywart, Typical, Aw C'mon Honey
Advantages: Easily soothed
Disadvantages: Even more easily perturbed

Wild Woman out of Control
"I've got an idea. Lez get drunk an' make love onna front lawn. I done it before. S'fun."
Also known as: Fast Girl, Freewheeler, Goodtime Charleena, Passed Out
Advantages: More fun than a barrel of monkeys
Disadvantages: Unreliable; drives off cliffs

"I see nothing humorous in those silly cartoons you keep snickering at."
Also known as: No Fun, Humorless Prig, Cold fish, Chilly Proposition, Iceberg, Snarly
Advantages: Your friends will feel sorry for you
Disadvantages: You will have no friends

Woman from Mars
"I believe this interpretive dance will explain how I feel about our relationship."
Also known as: The Babbler, Spooky Girl, Screwball, Loony, Bad News, Artistic
Advantages: Entertaining, unfathomable
Disadvantages: Will read her poetry aloud

Ms. Dreamgirl
"I am utterly content with you just the way you are, my handsome genius of a boyfriend. I think we must make love like crazed weasels now!"
Also known as: Ms. Right, Goddess, Knockout, Perfection, Gorgeous
Advantages: Funny, intelligent, uninhibited
Disadvantages: Will have nothing to do with you



I've always liked the Red Nosed Clown (more of a theatre type but they do also exist in real life) Think Harpo Marx or Kramer from Seinfeld.

harry near indy

congratulations and kudos for another excellent post, lance!
works like this is one reason i come to this site every day and am rarely disappointed.

and velvet/vevlet goldmine, lol about the types of paramours. that's one of the funniest things i've read in a long time.

velvet goldmine

Harry, thanks for the catch on my username. OK, so sometimes I like to get a little high while I surf the net and go over the kids' homework. Is that so wrong?

Anyway, as to the Groening list, it is funny, albeit in an excruciatingly uncomfortable way. I recognize myself in all nine of the dames and a few of the gents. I wonder if that's because women can be somewhat changeable for reasons that are...cyclical, if you know what I mean, or if I'm just Sybil 2006. Or if it's the drugs.


My wife came up with one of my favorite types we can both confirm based upon years of working in restaurants whilst going to school: The Food Corp Exec. I suppose in other fields this type would be your standard ideal bureaucrat. Typically one of the lowest on the totem in restaurant hierarchy, the Food Corp Exec imagines the strict adherence to policies of no more than 3 oz. on guacamole sides or 6 oz. on a side of fries leads to quick ascension to Vice President of Employee Excellence. You know you've met a food corp exec every time your refused that third packet of ketchup, unless you got a quarter.

Another of my favorite comes from a This American Life when Ira Glass talks about Modern Jackass, the fictitious name of a magazine for all of us who pontificate on things we know little about. Every time someone says something about free radicals, Laffer curves, or dream interpretation I think he, she, or I is a Modern Jackass.

mac macgillicuddy

The Food Corp. Exec may also be known as "The Betty." Anyone who has ever worked with a "Betty" will understand why these may be the same type.

As for the magazine, I believe we all, more often than we'd care to admit, make a contribution to this publication.


I resent the use of my name to describe some sort of derogative. Not that I see making myself a more valuable employee as a negative. Like following the rules is a crime or something. We'll just see who makes assistant manager to the executive assistant manager of the second string manager of the night shift, at the liposuction shack first!!!


Velvet Goldmine - Yeah, I see me in many of those depending on my mood. Unfotunately I have no similar excuse to yours, at least not biological. Now as for flying the fragrant winds, that - oh, crap, I don't have that any more either - hmmm, maybe that's the problem.

Brave Captain of Industry

The Grudge Holder

- remembers every slight, every unfair event and nurses them, warms them, keeps them ready and waiting for redress....even years later....

velvet goldmine

Brave Cap'n -- I think it was Lorne Michaels who referred to that type as an "injustice collector," which I think is just great.

I've noticed that the smaller the job, the smaller the actions needed to make mighty grudges.

Well, that's not very pithy, but i.e., the petty stuff makes an impact more quickly when you find yourself trapped in a crap adminstrative or retail job, or stuck in a sequestered life without inner resorces. Hence, "The Betty" and "The Grudge Holder" are spiritual siblings.

velvet goldmine

Sorry, but I just saw this and since it brought to mind both this thread on personality types and Lance's inexplicable admiration of Angelina Jolie, I thought I'd add one more cut-and-paste rather than add an original thought:



I'm okay with 'typing' people, as long as you allow for two things, by way of generosity: a) people become whatever type they are through hundreds of encounters, growing up, bouncing off parents and other children, and their 'types' come out of the roles that circumstances choose for them in all these personal encounters. Which leads to b) I think people have within them all possible roles, they've just become conditioned and comfortable (or trapped) in their little specialties.

I was reading your take on how Frasier is a know-it-all who looks at himself with a sense of humor. That's me, I'd like to think. But, if I am, I can certainly remember when I was humorless about it. I happened to have some friends who were merciless with me about it. I went to a baseball game one night with two of them, and our back-and-forth was going very badly on my end as we arrived at the park. As I contemplated the next three hours of acute discomfort, out of almost a wild sense of desperation I put on an air of breeziness, and laughed off whatever had just gotten said. I distinctly remember that inside I was NOT feeling the good sport, I was just thinking, 'screw them, I'll put on this mask and get through the evening.' But the way they let up on me, and the way things immediately lightened, well, damn, I had an epiphany or something.

I'll never lose all my touchy pedantry, but things are much different since. And I dunno if I can ever say for sure that it wasn't pure luck, the way it happened.


Sorry, none of this is new. Many books have been written about using archetypes in fiction. (I have sat through such a workshop by one writer.) Many writers swear by the technique. Other writers simply use enneagrams. And other writers unconsciously use archetypes but would never admit it.

So if your writing class went into fits they are probably all still not making any money writing.

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