The Wilsons, pt. 1: A Survey of Typology

When I moved to Atlanta, I was immediately assigned a personality and social role by the friend group into which I assimilated–the Wilson. At first I balked at this, as it is chiefly a supporting role, and I have ever considered myself a leading lady in the unique story that is me. But, as I became familiar with the Wilson role, I grew to understand and appreciate the ways in which the definition was apt. I explain myself and my social function in terms of this paradigm, and thus reaffirm to myself that it is a worthy and well-fitting role. As you are likely unfamiliar with the Wilsons, I thought I would begin with a survey of its most famous examples.

Wilsons are, essentially, a type of sidekick. The title of Wilson is drawn from the TV show House, in which the apathetic and disinterested Dr. House can be said to have one friend–the caring and engaged Dr. Wilson. Wilson provides a more human grounding to House’s worldview, in which a person is the sum of its parts, humanity the sum of the persons. It is worth noting that the people who mapped this relationship for my social group have something of an interest in Myers-Briggs personality tests. I accept their assessment, that House is an ENTJ, while Wilson is likely an ISFJ. Thus the title of “Wilson” came to be associated strongly with that same type (although with some room for movement, to be discussed later).

Wilsons are generally intelligent, compassionate, fastidious,…and loyal. Loyalty is the key trait, as it pushes them to attach themselves to a leader, a House–a protagonist, if you will. But the Wilson’s storyline is not a function of the House’s–rather, the Wilson finds a comfortable grounding in supporting a main character. The House’s storyline is home base.

The first Wilson I would point to is also my favorite: Samwise Gamgee. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo is obvious. What makes him a Wilson, however, is the manifestation of his intense followship. Despite the world-saving nature of the hobbits’ quest, Sam’s first concern is always for Frodo’s well-being. He takes care of Frodo in the wild, as he did in the Shire. He is eager to stand up for Frodo to those who would create problems for them. And, although he cannot truly bear the burden of the ring, he carries his friend in the final moments of their journey. Wilson!

The next Wilson is the ever-harried Dr. Watson. For our purposes, the most exemplary incarnation of Watson appears in the BBC TV series Sherlock. One function of the Wilson role is that he will take whatever crap his person dishes, and no one dishes quite like Sherlock. Time and again, Sherlock tests Watson’s loyalty, putting him through untenable emotional trials. But Watson always comes out on the side of Sherlock, proving his Wilson through-and-through. Wilson!

Female Wilsons are more rare in pop culture (something to do, I think, with the popularity of the modern bromance), but there is one to whom I would like to point: Meg, from The Phantom of the Opera [WATCH THIS ONE ONLY, on Netflix]. I first began to see her as a Wilson because my best friend is a singer who loves the show. Carmen’s dream, is, of course, to be Christine, and it is not unwarranted. As a less able vocalist, I love Meg’s lines–much power, little tone. But Meg has other classic Wilson personality traits as well. Although her primary role is to support and laud Christine, she takes almost more readily to her secondary role of inciting panic. Meg cannot keep calm. Neither can most ISFJs. In crisis, Wilsons lose their minds. Go, Meg. Wilson!

I said Wilsons are sidekicks, and I stand by that (despite debate in certain academic circles). However, the Protagonist Wilson is not unheard of in cultural memes. A good example of this is a Wilson who begins in a supporting role and transitions to main character: Samwell Tarly, from A Song of Ice and Fire. I am not current on Game of Thrones (the show), but I am fairly certain that I am continuing without spoilers. In the books, Sam begins as a loyal acolyte of Jon Snow, who protects him from the harshness of The Night’s Watch. However, as the books progress (and main characters die off), he gains an independent storyline, including his own chapters. He retains his Wilson status, however, in personality, temperament, and decision-making process.

The Wilson is not a simple type. One size does not fit all. Not all Wilsons are even the same personality type. But the role does exist, and it is easy to spot once you are familiar with the paradigm.

Got it? Good. You are ready for next week’s post.

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Pop Culture Christmas List

Like many of the shows I watch, I took a ridiculously long hiatus for Thanksgiving, and I will take another for Christmas.  But, before I go, I wanted to share my Christmas wish list for pop culture.


TV:

I wish that Hannibal will continue.  Somehow.  Even if it is only in my dreams.  Yes, I would be entirely comfortable dreaming a new episode every night for several seasons.  Do you hear that, Santa?  Do you hear me, God?  I am dead freaking serious.hannibal

I wish that there will be a Community movie.  #andamoviecommunity

I wish that Mozart in the Jungle will have an amazing sophomore season.  You can do it!mozart in the jungle

I wish that the last three seasons of The Vampire Diaries will turn out to be a collective nightmare had by all of the Stelena fans.tvd

I wish that Jamie and Claire will have sex again, and that it will not be as awful as every moment of the season finale.outlander

I wish that Daryl will have more screen time in the second half of The Walking Dead.  And that Carol will be redeemed.  I worked out an amazing death for her character.  I hope it comes true.twd

I wish that Sneaky Pete will catch on.  That pilot was aces.  (Apologies to Giovanni Ribisi for the gif.  It really was the best option.)sneaky pete


Movies:

I wish that The Force Awakens will reignite my Star Wars fever well into 2016.  I want to have rewatched the whole saga several times by June.force awakens

I wish that Leo will be the rock upon which the credibility of the Academy Awards will be shipwrecked.leo

I wish that Tom Hardy and Carey Mulligan will make a movie together.  Please.

I wish that Lindsey Morgan will star in the forthcoming adaptation of Wool.  Her spark and determination on The 100 have already made her my Juliette.

raven


Streaming:

I wish that all cords will be cut and that the streaming services will be more comprehensive.  I need the entire Star Wars saga, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Great Gatsby, all of the major Hitchcock films, Miller’s CrossingThe New WorldAn Education, and The Devil’s Backbone to be available.  Most of all, I need network television to get better or go away.

I wish that Netflix and Hulu will add forward buttons and IMDb integration.  Amazon Prime is winning.


And thank you to everyone in the industry whose hard work has brought television into a shining new era.  Thank you, too, to the people who are still making great movies.

short term 12

Short Term 12.  Watch on Netflix.

And, as ever, I wish that Jack Dawson would go around the other side and get on that door.  I am sure he will still die before fifty, but his cause of death will be something other than stupidity.titanic

Have a Merry Christmas everybody!  And watch any of these shows (or movies).  😉

FISH TANK.

The poster for Fish Tank

The poster for Fish Tank

Wow.  I committed to myself that I would stay away from blogging too much about movies.  But…

Me on Fb:

FISH TANK IS ON THE LIST FOR THE PARAMOUNT 2013 SUMMER FILM SERIES OMFG I’M SO EXCITED OMFG HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL WALK OUT OMFG I’M SO EXCITED OMFG.

And:

Seriously. I’m going to watch one showing, then stand at the back of the theater and count people as they walk out during the second showing. OMG I’M GOING TO STAGE AN EXIT POLL IN THE LOBBY. Wow, I’m excited.

For those who don’t know, Fish Tank is my favorite of Michael Fassbender’s films (X-Men: First Class obviously doesn’t count, despite the fact that Carmen and I saw a morning show and a late night show on the same day, and we laughed every time MFass was on screen and I gave myself a headache with pure excitement at the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trailer).  It has deeply inspired my writing by exploring the theme captured here: “If good people do bad things, are they bad people?”  It is a masterpiece, and I love it, and I hope it shocks so many unsuspecting fools (although it is presented by Women in Cinema, so some people will probably be prepared…).

Loved The Great Gatsby: the visual explosion of

Loved The Great Gatsby: the visual explosion of old and new captured the timelessness of the story, while the use of direct quotation underscoring the actors’ masterful incarnations captured its tragedy. Brava!!