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Typing Fictional Characters: The Paradise

Photo: BBC One
Photo: BBC One

Ah The Paradise, an enjoyable British costume drama canceled too soon. It is about a young girl Denise who begins working in the titular department store, the adventures she has there and the complicated people she meets. There are many things to enjoy in this show. The colors are vibrant and eye catching. The atmosphere is calm, the romance is a slow burn and the sexuality is subtle. It has powerful messages about British society, commitment, business, growing economic gaps, sexism and the roles of women.

The characters are distinct, multilayered and often subtly portrayed. Even the side characters are memorable and I was just as invested in their stories as I was with the main characters. I adore shows with well-developed characters and The Paradise satisfied this need greatly.

I am going to be using the Myers-Briggs personality types when discussing these characters. As usual, if you would like to read the description of the 16 different types in detail you can do so from the Myers-Briggs Foundation.

(To take the official professional test yourself, go to www.mbtionline.com.)

Denise Lovett: ENFP – The Champion

Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece
Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece

Denise is energetic, kind, warm, passionate and considerate. She is uncomfortable with challenging her coworkers and firing people. She has a strong sense of individuality that comes out whenever anyone tries to control her. She is assertive, knows what she wants and is free-thinking. Sometimes, she can be naive when dealing with other people but at the same time she has shown remarkable insight into their motivations. Like many other ENFPs, Denise has a plethora of imaginative and original ideas that she longs to bring into reality.

She knows how to solve problems and has the ability to walk into any room in the store and know how to improve it and use it to its full potential. She is an expressive communicator and often uses her wit, humor, and vast imagination to tell engaging stories and present products in an interesting way to customers so they may be persuaded to buy them. She is most at home when she is put in charge of a project and allowed to organize things to her satisfaction and match her vision with reality.

John Moray: INTJ – The Mastermind

Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece
Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece

Moray’s lifelong goal has always been The Paradise and making plenty of money out of it. He successfully worked to making it a reality with single-minded determination and uses his ideas to feed into The Paradise to make it the most extravagant and popular department store around. He is an analytical problem solver with innovative ideas and often sees possibilities for improvement. He usually thinks critically and clearly and has many ideas to improve efficiency. Similar to other INTJs, Moray is drawn to logical systems as opposed to unpredictable people and their emotions. As such, he has little difficulty handling the business end of the store such as managing the departments, making deals and decisions and hiring and firing people.

He is a perfectionist with high standards of performance that he expects from others and himself. He is confident in his ideas and when he arrives at a conclusion, he expects others to see the insight of it. He can be dismissive and calculating, but he refuses to cross his personal moral lines. His weakness for impulse nearly undoes him multiple times throughout the series.

Katherine Glendenning: ESFJ – The Provider

Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece
Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece

Katherine is highly attuned to her emotional environment and attentive to the feelings of others. She values tradition, loyalty and most of all what society thinks of her. She refuses to wear anything or behave in a way that would reflect poorly on her status and wealth. Katherine can be very cruel and bitter, knowing exactly what to say to target another person’s emotions and exploit them. Like other ESFJs, she has keen insight into other people and can figure out their weaknesses and desires. She is observant and knows when to act and when to wait. When it comes to her family and friends, she takes on their emotional problems as her own and is often eager to help them.

Though she is attentive in the present, she is often reflective of the past mostly because of sentimentality and habit. For instance, she holds on to her relationship with Moray purely out of habit. Though she can analyze people and use them to her advantage, she has difficulty being objective in regard to the people she cares most about as well as her failures in relationships.

Tom Weston: ESTJ – The Supervisor

Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece
Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece

Tom’s main goal with The Paradise is to make money and anything that does not help him achieve this goal; he has little interest in pursuing. He has a keen eye when it comes to improving the store’s financial success and he has little difficulty with taking charge and assigning and organizing others to make his ideas into reality. Like many ESTJs, Tom is hardworking, traditional, and orderly and likes to get things done in a systematic, methodical way. His memory for details is refined and he notices when others change their behavior around him. His authoritarian and overbearing nature seeps into his home life where he requires his daughter to be worldlier in her knowledge and is controlling with his wife.

Due to his traumatic experiences during his service in India and the emotional and mental scars he carries with him, Tom relives his trauma in the present and thus allows his negative experiences to taint his interactions with those around him now. Also like many ESTJs, Tom is intensely uneasy when it comes to emotions. As a result, he is cold and deeply out of touch with his own feelings of guilt, anger, and inadequacy. He is also emotionally immature, thinking he can use other people to distract him from his unhappiness as opposed to dealing with his issues himself.

Miss Audrey: ISFJ – The Protector

Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece
Photo: BBC Productions Masterpiece

Miss Audrey is practical, conventional, compassionate, and caring. Like many ISFJs, she is a loyal and committed worker with a deep sense of responsibility to others. She is used to having things done a certain way in her department and is not too thrilled when Denise shows up with new ideas. She is attentive when dealing with customers and keeping the sales girls in line. She has a knack for dealing with the most difficult customers with a calm and charming air about her. It is her job to keep customers happy and guide them to something in the store that flatters them without it being too expensive and Miss Audrey is devoted to her work.

She appreciates tradition and is loyal to established methods and values. Similar to other ISFJs, she is reserved around new people and only discloses her innermost feelings to those she trusts. When she is confronted with something new, her first instinct is to analyze its validity and if proves to be logical then she will embrace it…though not without some hesitation. Her fear of change, both in work and in her personal life, is due to fear of the unknown.

Do you agree with my assessment? Or do you disagree? How would you type the characters of The Paradise? Let me know in the comments below!

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By on August 30th, 2015

About Moriah Burbank

Moriah was born and raised in the state of Alabama, with its blistering summers and winters with no snow. In childhood, she had great difficulty learning how to read and write due to her learning disability. This developed into an eventual hatred of reading and writing that lasted for a few years. With the tireless and dedicated work of her mother, who was homeschooling her at the time, and the help of a tutoring center Moriah was eventually able to learn how to read and write and her enjoyment of the activities only grew with the discovery of audio books. It was with a great irony that by the time she grew into teenage hood and young adulthood she had developed a respect and love for reading and writing, now even reading and writing for her own enjoyment and relaxation. Moriah is currently studying at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, earning her Doctorate in Psychology.

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