How does your favorite Gang of Four map? (i.e., Star Trek, Seinfeld, The Beatles...)

I had no idea how to search this on the SDMB, so if threads already exist, I do apologize.

I remember being taught in a college English class there there is a classic character breakout:

  1. Hero, conflicted - typically the true protagonist of the situation/story
  2. Hero, not conflicted - typically more of a pure “hero ideal”
  3. Contrarian or emotionally more complex
  4. Comedy relief

I am sure there is an “official” description of what I am referencing, but again, I wasn’t sure how to find it.

Running through a few Gangs of Four - not including the Communist rebels or the post-punk UK band, I tried to see how they fit:

  1. John Lennon, Jerry Seinfeld, Spock, Pete Townshend
  2. Paul MacCartney, Elaine Benes, Kirk, Roger Daltrey
  3. George Harrison, George Costanza, Dr. McCoy, John Entwhistle
  4. Ringo Starr, Cosmo Kramer, Scotty (or Chekov later), Keith Moon

I thought about this for Pride and Prejudice, but am not sure it works

  1. Eliza Bennet
  2. Jane Bennet
  3. Mrs. Bennet
  4. Lucy and Mary Bennet (the one sister who tags along doesn’t really figure in, and I don’t know what to do with Mr. Bennet)

Or the 3 (+1) Musketeers (if I can remember which is which)

  1. D’Artagnon
  2. Aramis
  3. Athos
  4. Porthos

What do you think - does this classification approach work? Are there relationships between these character types? I find it interesting that it seems to work a bit in a rock band context - it seems to illustrate how much mythologizing takes place with rock stars…

Did I just spell “McCartney” incorrectly? :smack:

Carry on…

Slight nitpick. The Star Trek TOS gang was mostly the Holy Three of Kirk, Spock, and Bones. They regularly alternated (via the writers, of course) among the four positions you give. So, the TOS gang isn’t really four.

(Just thought you enjoy a very obsesed Trekker chiming in.) :dubious:

How about:

  1. Groucho
  2. Zeppo
  3. Chico
  4. Harpo


  1. Velma
  2. Daphne
  3. Fred
  4. Inseparable gestalt of Shaggy & Scooby


  1. Willow
  2. Buffy
  3. Giles
  4. Xander

But these positions could switch at any given time.

Where do Fry, Leela, Bender, and Zoidberg fit into this? As far as I can tell, they’re each all of the categories outlined in the OP…

ST:TNG has a fairly good fit! (inho, ymmv)

  1. Picard
  2. Riker
  3. Troi/Doctor Crusher/Worf/La Forge/Guinan/Q/nonrecurring character (depending on the needs of the show*)
  4. Data/Q/Worf (see #3)
  • or the one
  1. Adolph Hitler
  2. Adolph Hitler
  3. Adolph Hitler
  4. Mel Brooks
    Coming soon.

1/2 Kyle/Stan (They alternate)
3) Cartman
4) Kenny

  1. Charlie Brown
  2. Lucy
  3. Snoopy
  4. Linus

Would it work for Red Dward?

1.) Lister; lazy, feckless, unhygenic, but basically a good guy.
2.) Kryten; as an android, programmed to be an absolute good guy.
3.) Rimmer; contrarian (i.e. cowardly) more interested in self-preservation.
4.) Kat; The comedy relief, when did fashion form an important plot point?

I’d like to switch Lister and Kryten. Lister is seldom conflicted. He knows what he wants out of life and he’ll slob around as much as it takes to get him there. Kryten is constantly conflicted between his programming and habits on one side, and the breaking of his programming on the other.

Since it is a comedy, it’s hard to pinpoint the comedy relief. They all fill that role at several points each episode.

  1. House
  2. Wilson
  3. Forman
  4. Cuddy

(with a couple left over)

Another show:

  1. Adrian Monk
  2. Captain Stottlemeyer
  3. Sharona/Natalie
  4. Randy

I’d do CSI but I don’t know all the names and I’m too lazy to look them up. So instead. . .

how about this bunch:

  1. Daffy Duck
  2. Bugs Bunny
  3. Marvin Martian
  4. Elmer Fudd
  1. Magilla Gorilla: the innocent, unsure of his role and where he really belongs.
  2. Mr. Peebles: the idealist, the man with an aim (to unload Magilla).
  3. Ogee: the heart of the show, the symbol of pure love.

There is no comic relief, because Magilla Gorilla is a tragedy.

Hmm. I’d say House and Wilson switch places regularly. Also, Chase and Cameron share the #3 spot with Foreman, while occasionally showing up in #4. But #4 is usually occupied by House’s clinic patients.

I think LotR does this too:

  1. Samwise
  2. Frodo (and Boromir, while he’s around)
  3. Aragorn, Legolas, Elrond, Gandalf, buncha others
  4. Merry and Pippin

I’d say…

  1. Fry
  2. Leela
  3. Bender
  4. Zoidberg

Exactly as you lined them up, now that I notice it.

Hey - waitaminnit. Does this work?

  1. Han
  2. Luke
  3. Leia
  4. 3PO and R2


And can anybody comment on the archetypes I offered up? It’s not from Joseph Campbell (“Hero of a Thousand Faces”) but do think there might be something scholarly about it…

That would be

  1. Luke

  2. Leia

  3. Han

  4. C3PO
    You can think of it this way:

  5. archetype: hero

  6. archetype: heroine

  7. sidekick

  8. comic relief

I’m sorry, perhaps I am misunderstanding your post here - does that mean, according to my OP, that Paul McCartney is an archetypal heroine?

I see where your list makes sense for some stories, but the basic premise I am trying to look into is different, I think. I can’t find it now, but I remember reading in English class how some well-known groupings are meant to represent different aspects of a single human - so each character is more of a pure manifestation of one part of us…

Hello everyone, long time lurker, first time poster. I don’t know what it says about me that this was the thread that finally got my $15…


Book of Exodus: