In fictional groups like those on TV shows and in books, groups of half a dozen usually follow a pattern of personalities: the Hero, the Love Interest, the Reggie, the Big Guy, the Child and the Pet.
The Hero is usually the captain or the leader of the team. He inspires the team to perform under pressure, and comes up with the rogue element that antagonists fail to predict and therefore succumb to. They’re the main character, and is always at loggerheads with the Reggie and may try to woo the Love Intrest.
The Love Interest
The Love Interest is the dominant female personality of the team, and acts as an advisor or right-hand to the Hero. She is a mother figure to the Child and the Pet, balances out the negative influence of the Reggie and might shut him up. She usually becomes attracted for the Hero at some point, but may briefly fall for the Reggie.
The Reggie acts as the voice of doubt and devil’s advocate in the team, pointing out flaws in plans the Hero produces. Their personality is often egotistic and/or logical, contrasting with the selfless, emotional personality of the Hero. The Reggie may have feelings for the Love Interest, but these are usually unreturned. The name ‘Reggie’ comes from the most famous example of this character, Reggie of Archie Comics.
The Big Guy
The Big Guy is the muscle of the team, the one who performs the Worf Effect or saves the above triangle from danger. He is usually black and muscled, the ‘big African guy’ stereotype being most appropriate for this character. They could easily be swayed by the antagonist, but always switches back through the power of love and friendship by the end, usually when he’s most needed.
The Child is the innocent, child-like character who is there to take care of cute things, introduce a pure viewpoint and provide a reason for explaining something to the audience when it is widely understood by the characters. They usually care for the Pet and go to the Love Interest for advice and comfort.
The pet is the animal-like mascot of the team, designed to appeal to children and be ‘lovable’. They can simply be an actual creature, or a person with animal-like characteristics. The Pet often plays an important role in maintaining the ship in sci-fi. They enjoy the Child’s affection and the Love Interest’s to a lesser extent.
Examples of the 6-part dynamic:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- The Space Between (webcomic)
- Lord Of The Rings
Note that multiple instances of the same character or a mixture of two different ones may be present. The 6-part dynamic does not translate to all groups.