The Enneagram Types of The L Word
Embracing the Enneagram is similar to embracing Co-Star: it's alluring, accurate, and a little savage. This mystical chart of dynamic numbers allows us to see ourselves and our relationship with the world with a clearer lens. A personality tool in its own right, the Enneagram can be used for good, evil, and pure entertainment.
Amongst the numerous Enneagram meme Instagram accounts I follow, most TV-show type casting is done for our lovely straight-centric TV shows. In the height of Jane the Virgin I enjoyed too many bath tub hours thinking through what type Jane could possibly be as a means of predicting who she may end up with (for the record, I predicted correctly #TeamRaf). While I am sad to report that I still can't quite figure her number out, I do think it is time that we establish a foundational typing of our beloved lesbian show, The L Word.
Bette Porter, future mayoress, is most certainly an 8 (The Challenger). Her angry outburst, pretentious insults, and boss lady attitude make her on obvious candidate for the gut, or "doing" center (8, 9, or 1). In this center, anger is the emotion deeply set within their bones. But Bette's anger doesn't always go unjustified. Sometimes she does what she thinks is best for the community out of protection. And what Bette says is best, right? What sets her distinctly apart as an 8 is her fear of losing control (of her life, of her job, of herself, of Tina). Nevertheless, we love her combative brilliance.
Tina Kennard, dear queers, would probably teeter and totter her way to identifying with 2 (The Helper). On a superficial level, one might be quick to place her in this nurturing number because of her motherly role on the show. However, her two-ness shines through her people pleasing and coping mechanisms of needing other people to need her. When twos become unhealthy (so, most of her relationship with Bette), they can be directly confrontational and aggressive. Above anything else, Tina wants to give back to the community, which is obvious when she gets involved with The Center of Social Justice. While any type can be humanitarian, Tina's gentle nature comes from her genuine concern for her friends the dynamics of the group.
Queer Icon Shane McCuctheon is a tough cookie to place. She has the loyalty of a 6, the 5-like desire for isolation, and the advice-giving capabilities of a 1. After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that she is probably a 9 (The Peacemaker) but ultimately wouldn't identify herself on the Enneagram if asked to. Despite common misconception, the peacemaking tendencies of the nine spawn from a desire to ease tension. Typical 9s possess a little bit of every number, but at the end of the day their biggest attribute is their ability to "go with the flow." At their worst, they ignore their problems, run, and isolate themselves (A perfect example: leaving Carmen at the altar!). When nines are healthy, they feel spirituality connected to their people and to the world. We certainly get glimpses of this Shane in her intimate friendships, especially with Jenny. However, the unhealthy nine in Shane desires to become numb to combat a fear of loss. Nines make excellent and loyal friends, but sometimes need a little push in the self-growth area.
Lovely Jenny Schecter is probably the most unique and flamboyant 4 (The Individualist) to grace us on 00's television. She is emotional. She is dramatic. She is self-absorbed. She is extremely susceptible to depression (I am a 4 and I, too, struggle with all of these things). But she also sees beauty and life in the people around her. Determined to find herself, she creates and re-creates the world around her to try and harness any goodness the world may offer her. Jenny may be more susceptible to being cast as a 4 because of her underlying L Word plot: finding herself and coming out. However, 4s integrate into 1, meaning when they do utilize their artistic potential, it can be perspective-altering and possibly life-changing. While Jenny's circus stories or Lez Girls directing isn't anything to call your girlfriend about, her confrontational nature and perfectionistic traits towards her work allow us to see a 4 at their best: when they shine as The Reformer.
Alice Pieszecki of KCRW is The Enthusiast (7). Sometimes 7s are compared to a child waking up to find out its a snow day, only they act like this every day. Alice isn't always cheery (as we see post-Dana breakup), but she stays busy, distracted, and scattered, kinda like the crazy hyperactive queer auntie you've learned to embrace. Sevens are mostly hot, but when cold, they do everything in their power to stay involved in as many things as they possibly can until their body shuts down on them or they ultimately succumb to their emotions. To directly quote The Enneagram Institute, they "can be impulsive and infantile" and "do not know when to stop." When she isn't overcoming loss and heartbreak, she's a spunky optimist at heart. Her seven-ness shines through her work, her friendships, and her never-ending gossip.
This brings us to tennis extraordinaire Dana Fairbanks, a classic 6 (The Loyalist). While she isn't as loyal as Shane, she is extremely driven by the need for consistency and safety. This is mostly exposed through her relationship to her parents and family members. One could make the argument that she is forced to live in a six-like routine way because of her career, and that is totally valid. However--allow me quote The Enneagram Institute directly once more--"They will 'go down with the ship' and hang on to relationships of all kinds far longer than most other types." Cough cough Tanya, and honestly, Alice, too. Dana's general anxiety is calmed by her safety net of tennis. Let's not forget that she brought a beard to a social event; She relies on what she knows when the going gets tough, even if that means not being true to herself.
Our resident computer wiz, Max Sweeney, might struggle with typing himself, just like I did. This is, in part, because we catch him in the middle of culture shock and body transition, so we rarely get to see him feeling his best. However, once he gets hired by a large tech company and starts working on projects he loves, we get to see flourish as a 5 (The Investigator). He wants to be useful, comfortable, and contributive. He has a perceptive eye (especially in new situations, like being an LA outsider) and enjoys knowing all of the facts about anything he is remotely interested in. When fives experience growth and wellness, they integrate into an 8, meaning they will challenge ideas they don't agree with. We often see Max do this with his community as a way of establishing his identity and moral compass. A brainiac and ethical guru, he offers the ladies of The L Word new information and more grounded conceptions of the world.
Cool and collected Carmen de la Pica Morales is a bit of a mystery. She is outgoing and loving, generous and a little butch, but her deepest desires and fears aren't exactly apparent. This being said, I'm going to softly suggest she is an 8 with a hard 7 wing ("The Maverick"). Like Bette, she is protective of her loved ones and jumps all-in to people, causes, or things she believes in. Her outgoing and bubbly personality is reflective of a 7, which allows her to more gently advise friends and loved ones. Both tops in their own right, Bette and Carmen are two great examples of the range of 8s that exist in the world. Carmen is a healthy 8. Bette is not.
And finally, dear Helena Peabody is an extravagant and glamorous 3 (The Achiever). Driven, ambitious, and cut-throat, she does whatever needs to be done to get what she wants. She is smart and alluring and knows it, so she can easily manipulate others to get what she feels deserves. However, I believe she is more complicated than your typical three. Her eye for beauty, art, and style leads me to think that she has a hard 4 wing. Her knack for choosing chic houses and producing quality films blossoms from her natural ability to see the beauty and possibilities each person or project offers the world, even if she doesn't always communicate these affections in a humane way.
The not-so-queer Kit Porter brings in a trusting and feisty 6 (The Loyalist). Although she comes with her own baggage and drama, she ALWAYS has your back. While she may struggle with their own self-critic, her strength and energy comes from her family and her crew. We see a mostly healthy six in Kit: she's sober, trustworthy, and desires to build community. The darker side of a six comes out when their panic and paranoia lead them to believe the world cannot be trusted. She demonstrates this specifically when she considers using a gun on The Planet competitors. All stress aside, Kit comes for the chill vibes but stays for the squad: a true six in all her spunk.
So there you go! I originally wrote these types before the premiere of Generation Q so I could best assess the emotional well-being of our three leading ladies. However, I think it's safe to say that Bette still feels the need to micromanage, Shane is slowly becoming more emotionally communicative, and Alice still feels the need to gossip and stir the pot. As we come to a close on the first season of Gen Q, I'll be watching closely to see how these original assessments hold up. Moreover, you better believe that I will be starting my characterizations of the new crew. Happy final episode!