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Why They Do What They Do: 'Parks and Recreation' MBTI Types

Based on MBTI theory, here's a quick discussion for how I've typed each of the main 'Parks and Recreation' characters!

Still From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Leslie Knope - ENFP 'The Campaigner'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Leslie is bubbly and cheerful: definitely an extrovert, and absolutely a feeling type. There is no character more NF in this show than Leslie, given her indomitable drive to change the world in an idealistic way.

The N-type (highly demonstrated by her primary function Ne (Extroverted Intuiting)) is proven through her randomness in creative endeavors and passing thoughts as well as her quirkiness and unconventional attitude toward living life to its most meaningful.

She is especially proven a feeling type because the way she wants to change the world is fueled by emotion; she sees a stranger in need and will move Heaven and Earth to help that person.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

The P-type decision was difficult to make, given her surplus of planning ahead and organized binders. However, P-types are not without understanding of how valuable organization can be. 

Leslie is passionately motivated by Fi (Introverted Feeling) as her supporting function and, thus, her understanding of what is true, right, and good about the world and how the world needs to be changed to be made truer, more right, and better!

Ron Swanson - ISTJ 'The Logistician'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

There are few fictional characters that I have seen and more conclusively typed as an ISTJ than Ron Swanson. He knows who he is, what he believes, and he has no desire to change. In fact, he takes pride in a year going by when he hasn't changed a bit! 

The introvert aspect was probably the easiest to determine for him; he hates talking to people, knowing people... he just hates people in general.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Second, as an S-type, Ron is entirely focused on his external surroundings, highly observant and aware of all that is taking place around him.

Third, there is no doubt in my mind that Ron is a thinking type; feelings are this extremely strange, foreign phenomenon that he can barely handle invading his usually sound and stable perspective on things.

Finally, Ron is straightforward and hard-working toward anything he believes in (which is obviously not government). At Andy and April's Halloween Party, he spends his time fixing anything in disrepair. And he enjoys it, like an SJ with Te (Extroverted Thinking) would.

Ann Perkins - ESFJ 'The Consul'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Ann Perkins is the loving, stable, nurturing, and selfless best friend to Leslie and virtually anyone else who will let her be a friend.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Even in awkward moments, she is still unafraid to engage in conversation; she is never irreparably mortified by any terribly embarrassing or awkward times caused by Leslie or anything else. She is a confident extrovert.

SJ's are the stable, reliable, and straightforward individuals who often serve as the backbone of this functioning world. Ann is definitely that: the underappreciated nurse and ever-loyal best friend.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Ann is an S-type, aware of her external surroundings, serving as one who often brings the N-types back down to Earth from getting lost in their thoughts (*cough* Leslie *cough).

And she is a J-type. Spontaneity isn't her thing, but she is supportive of those who are spontaneous and excited by other people's excitement because of her primary function, Fe (Extroverted Feeling). 

Ben Wyatt - INTJ 'The Architect'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Ben Wyatt, though he is not an evil mastermind pulling the strings of some nefarious plot to rule the world, is an excellent example of a real-world INTJ. He is highly intelligent, contemplative, introverted, and blunt. He is certainly an introvert, awkward in social situations that aren't business- or logic-related and far more inclined to spend time alone watching Game of Thrones than partying out in public.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

It seems an irrefutable fact that Ben is an N-type and, while we're on the topic, an NT. NT's are knowledge-seeking, solving the world's problems with their minds with as much finesse as an SJ like Ron solves them with his hands.

The J-type decision seems just as simple. Ben is organized, and he enjoys being organized. His Ni (Introverted Intuition) is his primary function, allotting him insight into the way a situation will turn out just by the signs leading up to it. Through attaining knowledge and a little bit of calculation, Ben can practically predict the future outcome of a scenario (unless feelings are involved, which Leslie often has to remind him of).

Ben is pretty cold and logical. He actually enjoys "gutting" the government's budget "with a machete" because it is efficient and makes up for the idiotic spending of others. He is annoyed by incompetence but enjoys the sense of accomplishment in solving problems.

Tom Haverford - ESTP 'The Entrepreneur'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Where to begin with Tom? He is absolutely an extrovert; he thrives on attention. Also, he is very charming and competent in the area of diplomacy, advertising, and schmoozing.

Second, Tom's personality screams SP. The SP types are those who live for freedom, self-expression, and experiences. SP's know how to live; just ask them!

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Tom is the epitome of the Entrepreneur, constantly exploding with creative and innovative ideas for business, however unrealistic the majority of them may be. He isn't stable or organized at all, consistently in debt and making selfishly irresponsible decisions. Even so, he is an invaluable asset to the Parks and Rec team, however frequently he reminds people of it.

Finally, he is insensitive and motivated by his primary function, Se (Extroverted Sensing), which drives him toward experiences and living life to the fullest: to treating himself. His Se makes him desire absolute luxury and excitement, and it is also what makes him so observant and socially exceptional.

Andy Dwyer - ENFP 'The Champion'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Befitting a rock star who always includes the lyrics, "you're the champion" and "spread your wings and fly" within the songs he writes, Andy is another ENFP, another name for this type being the Champion.

Andy is a big kid; he loves life and bears no shame in enjoying it the way he wants to enjoy it. Though he isn't considered the most intelligent character in the show, he's funny, creative, friendly, and just a lovable guy. Absolutely an extrovert unafraid of enjoying the company of anyone who isn't a jerk, Andy will be completely open and honest with everyone he encounters. He expects the same from them.

I would type Andy as an N-type despite his frequently external self-expression because of his randomness and his inclination toward fantasy. He doesn't want to actually be Burt Macklin, FBI, all the time, but he loves visiting that fantasy, among others.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Andy is completely spontaneous and random, living in the world of Ne (Extroverted Intuition). His Fi (Introverted Feeling) will kick in when it needs to, though: when he sees someone acting like a jerk (like Dennis Feinstein) or when someone needs his help. His marriage vow to April included a determined speech about protecting her from danger, daring to fight anyone who poses a threat. He's a little boy who wants to be the hero, or the cowboy, or the astronaut, or the FBI agent.

ENFP's like Andy live in a world of happiness, excitement, innocence, randomness, and spontaneity. He is easily my favorite character!

Chris Traeger - ENFJ 'The Protagonist'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Ah, Chris: such an ENFJ. ENFJ's are unbelievably excellent at socializing, encouraging, supporting, and being charming in any situation... that hasn't made them an emotional wreck. 

Chris is absolutely an extrovert who, many times, verbalizes that he enjoys people. He is fueled by social interaction, given energy and further joy from dealing with people, particularly if the experience is pleasant. 

Second, Chris is a definite NF. He sees a woman crying in a hallway and stops to make her feel better; that is the purpose he sees for himself in this world. His goal is constant self-improvement, and he encourages others toward the same, sometimes a little too forcefully, as with trying to get rid of the red meat burgers provided at City Hall (which motivates Ron Swanson to go to war).

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

ENFJ's primarily have Fe (Extroverted Feeling) with a supporting Ni (Introverted Intuiting); this renders Chris incredibly insightful with people and mostly focused on social harmony. He's bad at making management decisions because he wants everyone to be happy, and he lacks the Te (Extroverted Thinking) that Ben has. This makes them an excellent team, with Ben gutting budgets with a machete while Chris encourages and sympathizes to soften the blow (and prevents Ben from getting hate mail).

Chris is a Protagonist because he faces torrents of overwhelming emotions and rises above it and any external obstacles so that he may emerge victorious in pursuit of his idealistic goals for helping the world. Every NF wants to be the hero, but the ENFJ probably desires this purpose the most. 

Donna Meagle - ESTP 'The Entrepreneur'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Just like Tom, Donna seems to be an ESTP. She is powerfully influential on a situation (via intimidation or persuasion), but only if she cares enough, which she often doesn't.

Donna is highly observant about her surroundings and the people around her. When she cares enough to help someone, she brings insightful information about what that person is thinking and how he/she has been reacting to a given scenario. I struggled with her being an extrovert or introvert because of the way she doesn't engage as much as Tom; however, her life beyond City Hall seems informative enough regarding her extroversion.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Donna is a very chill woman who lives her life the way she wants and doesn't care how anyone else sees it; she knows how to live, which is a signature characteristic of an SP. If she's happy, she's good with life. Impressively, her goals for a luxurious retirement as well as a luxurious time while in the workforce are met on a daily basis. She attracts the men she wants, and she saves up for the Seattle condo she wants.

Donna is all about experience, freedom, and luxury. She does her job because it gets her money to do the things she wants to do. She lives for the "treat yo'self" days with Tom and other such amenities of life.

The times that she does care, though, she will bring down quite the wrath upon anyone who poses a threat to something or someone she cares about. If you damage her Mercedes, she'll run you over. If you're one of the jerks berating and under-appreciating Leslie, even though she thinks Leslie's annoying half the time, she'll berate you on social media. 

Gary 'Jerry' 'Larry Gergich - ISFJ 'The Defender'

GIF from NBC's Parks and Recreation

Most commonly known as Jerry, I believe this kind gentleman to be an ISFJ: the Defender. Jerry is incredibly supportive and selfless for anyone who needs him. 

Incessantly abused by his coworkers, Jerry maintains a positive attitude and accepts it as the way things are. At home, he is praised and beloved by his wife and daughters, so he isn't clumsy at all. He's clumsy and babbles at work all the time, probably due to anxiety from the behavior of his coworkers, but it doesn't really matter to him whether he looks cool or humiliates himself. He is a humble soul, as an ISFJ often is.

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Though he is friendly in social situations, he doesn't seem to seek them out. Jerry is kind but shy, and he shrinks under a spotlight. That is why I would label him an introvert. 

Jerry is stable and reliable, which are common traits of an SJ. His affinity for the routine and the tedious work of filing or folding up and putting papers in envelopes indicates his primary function: Si (Introverted Sensing). It makes sense to him.

Finally, Jerry is a feeling type. His actions are fueled by his emotions, and he makes decisions based on his feelings toward an individual. "Anything to help Leslie," he'll say. And he means it!

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein - ESFP 'The Entertainer'

GIF From NBC's Parks and Recreation

Given his limited attention span, I'll make this quick. Jean-Ralphio: extrovert? Undeniably. SP? Very much! Feeling type? He's excitable, does what he feels like doing all the time, and yet proves a tiny bit loyal to Tom because he feels happier when he gets to party with his ESTP best friend. The ESTP and ESFP make a great dynamic duo, and Jean-Ralphio recognizes that, bringing his own flair and positivity to the table while Tom brings everything else. Obviously, he shouldn't have to do too much of the work! And finished!


Thanks so much for reading!

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