The Enneagram describes nine basic personality types and their relationships to one another. Here is a description of the types as they show up in the show Parks and Recreation. *Note: Spoilers ahead!
1 — Leslie Knope. Ones tend to focus on being good and correcting error in themselves, others, and in the world. Leslie has built a career working diligently to reform the Parks and Rec department and thereby better the town of Pawnee. The perfectionism of the One leads to a harsh inner critic, a sense of rigidity, black and white thinking, and anger being expressed in a righteous manner. We see Leslie’s righteous anger in the various projects she gets involved in, such as introducing the soda tax in season 5. Leslie likely has a Two wing (wings refer to an adjacent type that colors your personality), which shows up in how attuned she is to everyone’s differing needs. Perhaps the best example of this is when she plans a birthday for Ron (against his wish), specifically tailored to his preferences.
2 — Ann Perkins. For Twos, the love of and connection to significant others is an absolute highest priority. As such, they often give, but with a hidden agenda to secure love in return. Ann has a pattern of merging with whoever she is in relationship with, and adopting their personality in substitute of her own. When she is dating Andy in the first season, he takes advantage of her giving nature until she finally hits a breaking point. Also, Twos often have jobs as helpers, which makes being a nurse a good fit for her character. Twos often find ways to have power behind the scenes, and make themselves indispensable. Ann is consistently there to support Leslie, and eventually becomes her campaign manager. Also, Ann is comfortable with her emotionality, as Two’s often are. Lastly, her tension with April might be seen as her not understanding the individualistic nature of the Four, her heart point. (Heart and Stress points, are where the types “go to” when they move along the lines in the Enneagram symbol.)
3 — Tom Haverford. Tom’s obsession with style and image is characteristic of the Three. While Tom’s attitude towards the Parks and Rec department is lackluster (and not Three-ish) he is constantly exploring side-hustles. The motto of the Three is “get to the top and look good doing it,” which, for Tom, isn’t going to come from his work as a government employee. Threes’ self esteem is often borne from achievement and accomplishment. We see this in Tom’s various business ventures, most notably Rent A Swag and Tom’s Bistro. Tom’s high energy is also a quality that Threes typically embody. Here’s a good Three quote from Tom: “I’ve been a baller since birth, son. Now I’m an athlete.”
4 — April Ludgate. April is hard to type, but I think I would place her at Four. I think she tries to hide her emotional depth and feelings by putting on a sarcastic and apathetic front. This shows up as disinterest/boredom in her internship. Fours typically have intense and expressive personalities, and struggle with feeling fatally flawed. In college April created her own major, “Halloween Studies”, which might represent the uniqueness that is central to the Four. Fours also lean towards feelings of melancholy. April’s attraction to Andy’s lightness and silliness may be in the way it balances her dark side. Her reserved nature would probably indicate a Five wing.
5 — Ron Swanson. Fives withdraw to their own private world, and take a detached, unaffected point of view. Fives feel drained by too much contact and commitment. Fives are often very intellectual (a “head type”), and seek safety in knowledge and information. Ron’s minimalism, independent nature, and expertise are definitively Five characteristics. The avarice of the Five can be seen in his collecting gold. As well, Ron clearly goes to Seven (stress point) and becomes compulsive when his ex-wives show up, and Eight (heart point) when the office is in desperate need of some authority. While I could say more about Ron’s hilarious character, this quote sums it up best: “The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.”
6 — Ben Wyatt. Ben comes on the show with a strong sense of duty (a Six quality) to his role as an auditor. For Sixes, the world is a dangerous place, making safety the primary concern. Thus Sixes are hypertense, hyperalert, suspicious, anxious, and fearful. This especially shows up in Ben’s nervousness/awkwardness with speaking engagements and T.V. appearances. Sixes are doubters and questioners by nature. They have a conflicting wish to both submit to and rebel with authority. This Ben quote represents the Sixes pattern with authority: “I’m not afraid of cops. I have no reason to be I never break any laws, ever, because I’m deathly afraid of cops.” Lastly, Ben’s character demonstrates the Six quality of loyalty, both in his relationship with Leslie, and to the town of Pawnee.
7 — Chris Traeger. Sevens seek to avoid fear and pain by escaping into pleasure, fun, and imagination. They often have trouble with commitment. Chris’ character is lit-rally the most positive character on the show and is constantly reframing things to give them an optimistic spin. He hates giving bad news and early in the show he would have Ben do it for him. Chris’ extreme health consciousness and fear of death might be explained with a heavy Six wing. Here is a Seven quote from Traeger: “If I keep my body moving, and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair.”
7 — Andy Dwyer. The show premiers with Andy falling into a pit, which could be seen as a metaphor for the Enneagram Seven — their levity is used as an escape from being trapped in pain and darkness. Sevens can have strong ‘fomo’, which we see Andy tackle in his effort to complete his bucket list in a day. Andy exemplifies the delightful, eternal-child quality of the Seven. We see this in his lively expression (i.e. Mouse Rat) and the way he connects with kids as Johnny Karate. Also there is something hilarious about Andy trying to be serious and intimidating in his alter-ego Burt Macklin. A classic Seven response where Andy misses the depth of the moment is when April tells him she loves him and he responds, “Awesome sauce.” Andy’s relationship with April helps bring out his discipline and hard work, allowing him to move more towards Five — his heart point.
8 — Donna Meagle. Eights have a high need for control, and typically find it unsafe to be weak or vulnerable. The motto of the Eight is, “My way or the highway.” Donna is the office manager. She isn’t shy about telling Jean-Ralphio off, or standing her ground. Eights also seek intensity, and struggle with lust, wanting to experience everything at 110%. This can be seen in Donna’s love of her car, her expensive taste, and her active dating life. She seems to have a Seven wing, which can be seen perfectly in the ‘treat yo self’ episode. Donna, in true Eight fashion, expects others in positions of power to be strong leaders. We see this in her distinction between #BossBitch and #BitchBoss. Here is an Eight quote for Donna: “Yes, I’m a hunter… And, it’s ‘You’ season.”
9 — Jerry Gergich. I’d say Jerry is a Nine. Not that Nines normally get picked on like Jerry does. In fact, Nines have a knack at blending in with others and going with the flow. What does seem Nine-ish about Jerry is his self-denying and conflict avoidant approach. In one episode we find out that his real name is ‘Gary,’ but that he never corrected his office mates because he didn’t want to seem rude. In season 4, he forgets to cast his vote for Leslie, which could be seen as the Nine losing sight that it is important to assert their opinion (not just empathize with others). Another Nine-like quality is Jerry’s clumsiness — he is constantly spilling coffee on himself or stumbling over things. Because the Nines strategy is to numb out of their experience (and therefore their body) they can be a bit klutzy. A final quality in Jerry that Nines have to work on is boundary setting. When Chris was dating Jerry’s daughter and clearly over sharing with Jerry about it, Jerry would just sort of squirm around instead of setting a clear boundary. In the episode “Jerry’s Retirement” we get to see Jerry in his heart point of Three, acting from a place of assuredness and self confidence.
My guess on Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa would be 3 and 4 respectively. Though I could see a case being made for 7!
Thank you for reading. If you would have typed a character differently, I’d be curious to hear…