Tag Archives: musicals

Trina from Falsettos (2016) is a Clear 6w7

Falsettos is a 1992 musical about an unorthodox family living through the AIDs epidemic while exploring themes of gender roles, sexuality, and Jewish identity in New York City around the 1970’s/80s. The original musical was remastered for a Broadway run starting in 2016, which is the version I intend to talk about today (with spoilers, of course).

There is a primary cast of 5 characters (plus 2 which are introduced in the second act), but I wish to deal with the often underappreciated character of Trina. Trina is Marvin’s ex-wife, Jason’s mother, Mendel’s partner, but she is also a complex person in her own right.

When discussing Trina’s enneagram type, many people instinctively declare her as a 2. I’d like to make a case for Trina being a type 6w7, specifically the self preservation subtype. I’ll go over some core aspects of the two types to explain my reasoning, and then analyze each of her solo songs in more detail. 

Twos and self-preservation sixes are commonly mistyped because of their outwardly warm disposition and devotion to others, but the key difference lies in motivation. From what we can tell in Trina’s lyrics, she cares for and attends to the needs of the people in her life in order to gain a sense of security for herself.

There is something to be said about the particular role that Trina is cast into as a housewife in the late 1970s, though I believe that to be ultimately unrelated to this analysis. The character of Whizzer is similarly burdened with unfair gender roles forced onto him, but he is clearly shown to be handling that like a typical 7.

The first of three solo songs performed by Trina is “I’m Breaking Down”, a satirized version of a cooking program with plenty of innuendos and thinly-veiled metaphors. It is a tragic first glimpse into Trina’s inner world, filled with nods to her unfulfilling life before the musical takes place. Trina’s desperate motives line up with a typical 6, showing a deep sense of responsibility while also lacking confidence in her own judgement. This leads Trina to seek out someone, anyone, with whom she can satisfy her need for companionship and safety.

“I only want to love a man who can love me….
Or like me…
Or help me…”

Genius Lyrics from I’m Breaking Down

Trina’s emotional reactivity is on full display and her sense of self clearly hinges on the attachment to important people in her life (both traits of the harmonics and object relations group that 6 belongs to).

Trina’s song” (which is grouped together in the official recording) a few minutes later shifts the tone quite considerably, serving as a pained letter to the men in her life. At this point, Trina’s primary strategy for staying in control of her life is to lie low and take on her assumed role. Appeasing other people to assure a support system that won’t leave you is a defence mechanism commonly seen in self-preservation 6s. 

“That said, I’ll be his wife
I’ll wed and change my life”

Genius Lyrics from Trina’s Song

In the subsequent reprisal of this song, Trina demonstrates strong growth by denouncing her previous promise to keep things as they’ve always been. 

“I’ll commit, that’s agreed
And with wit and precision
I’ve made a decision
To get the things I need”

Genius Lyrics from Trina’s Song (Reprise)

The last song that Trina plays a primary part in is “Holding to the Ground”, which is perhaps the most obvious example of her true feelings. Trina grapples with her assumptions around how families are defined and the pressure placed on her since birth to live within the mainstream narrative. She also deals with themes of trying to find comfort in a world unlike anything she prepared for.

“Life is never what you planned
Life is moments you can’t understand
And that is life”

Genius Lyrics from Holding to the Ground

Trina discovers a certain clarity at the end of each of her songs, in which she attempts to solve every problem in her life with carefully planned actions (which never work). After this realization, Trina gains the insight necessary to cope with the reality that her world will be changed at every turn.

Trina’s character development is firmly rooted in breaking out of the expectations placed on her and learning to trust her own guidance and strength. She experiences immense progress from act 1 to 2, and ultimately is able to find solace in the found family she has cultivated, despite being so completely different from what Trina or her parents would have expected.

And she’s definitely a 6.

Trina is one of my favourite characters from Falsettos and I appreciate that she isn’t shoved aside by the writers for the sake of the main 4 men in the show. I had no idea what to expect from her on a first watch, but I found her character to be deeply relatable and immeasurably important to the story. 


Untangling Morality in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Character archetypes have a fairly predictable lifespan of solidifying themselves in pop culture, going through subversions, and subsequently creating new archetypes based on those subversions over the course of many years.

A musical by the name of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog presents one such subversion of the conventional villain. Once again I will be showing spoilers, as this is 15 years old, has been available on YouTube for free since 2012, and only lasts around 40 minutes.

Dr. Horrible (real name Billy) is the titular protagonist and atypical supervillain of this musical. At his core, Billy is an idealistic man who believes that society is deeply flawed and seeks to reform it. His self-focused yet strong morals clearly show the decision making abilities of an Fi user, an INFP to be more specific. It’s rare to see a villain character who uses Fi as they are usually cast into the role of quirky side characters or sensitive heroes. I’ll be analyzing how Billy’s idea of morality intersects with his position in the story and showcases a great example of a realistic INFP character.

Despite Billy being generally correct that society has plenty of problems, he doesn’t actually seem all that interested in the important work that people like Penny (his crush) undertake. His primary goal is much more ambitious than that, seeking to rule the world in order to dismantle the issues he sees in it. In reality, his methods to reconcile these values turn out to be ill-defined and naive (in line with the poor planning and indecisiveness of low Te)

Billy becomes the supervillain Dr. Horrible in order to infiltrate the Evil League of Evil and use their resources to govern (and therefore “fix”) the world. In order to get accepted by the leader, Bad Horse, Billy needs to commit increasingly cruel objectives which only starts to become a problem when he is forced to assassinate someone.

Captain Hammer (Dr. Horrible’s nemesis) also preoccupies much of his time, leading to an unfortunate mess of priorities which ultimately ends with Billy alone and unsatisfied after accidentally killing Penny. Despite having achieved the one thing he needed, Billy is left without any reason to still be working towards that goal.

Billy starts off with fairly good intentions and is endearing and personable, if a tad awkward at the beginning. I firmly believe that Penny would have been open to a relationship with him if his rivalry with Captain Hammer didn’t get in the way of everything else. That’s precisely what makes it hurt so much when Billy becomes obsessed with making it into the Evil League of Evil, as his ordinary life falls apart and it all culminates into a tragic but captivating character progression. 

Aside from Billy’s obvious lack of preparation, the Evil League of Evil is an organization which we can deduce would not allow someone so outwardly open about his plans to actually overthrow their governance. We can see how the league breaks people down with their absurd and cruel standards, and can presume that even if Billy could change anything, the person he’d committed his life to is already gone.

At this point, Billy is so hopeless that we can presume he has lost his original goal and any motivation to dismantle anything at all. We see hints of his sense of self being degraded in service of the Dr. Horrible persona throughout the musical, but I certainly rooted for him despite the clues suggesting it wouldn’t end on a positive note. What starts as a comedic musical with air-headed characters and obvious tropes shapes into a deeply tragic story with a surprisingly dark ending. 

One of the most emotionally jarring moments happens right before the credits roll. Dr. Horrible is seen chatting up the other villains in a triumphant montage at the league, seemingly having moved on from the previous events. He has a stylish new outfit and is finally being taken seriously in front of his peers, and the music swells before the doors slowly close.

We cut to Billy, sitting in front of his video camera with the desolate expression of a man who has lost everything, including himself.