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ANDY BERNARD
By Herman Singh

Biography
Andy Bernard is introduced as salesman at the Stamford branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. It is first shown here that Andy is easily irritable when his calculator is put in Jello by Jim Halpert. Andy kicks the trash can and demands that the person owns up to it. Andy always boasts about having attended the ivy league school of Cornell where he majored in history. He is very passionate about his school and feels as though nobody in the office is good enough to attend it as he said when Dwight admits he is applying. It comes across as if all he did was party and socialize in Cornell as well as be a part of Acapella and a Fraternity. After the manager of the Stamford branch resigns, Andy is transferred to the Scranton branch in Pennsylvania. Within a short amount of time Andy’s anger resurfaces due to another Jim Halpert prank and he punches a whole in the wall. Andy starts attended anger management and resurfaces as a character who is completely changed with a brand new outlook on life. He is seen as more helpful, thoughtful, cheerful and “has a new way to deal with the grumpies”. Whether he is singing “The lion sleeps tonight” or “The cats and the cradle” Andy brings a sort of positive energy to the office with his excessive cheer and enthusiasm. In the current season Andy pursues his passion for music by being the lead singer in a band involving Kevin and Darryl. He still retains his goal-oriented drive to seek a higher position by always kissing up to the current boss or applying for a higher position. These two examples can be seen when he sets his desktop background as soccer for Charles and when he applies to be Dwight’s number two in command. Andy finally achieves a higher status in the office when he is promoted to regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. While in this position Andy defends his co-workers from scrutiny by their new CEO and he is appreciated by his co-workers.

Perspective 1: The Big Five Personality Traits
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Gordon Allport’s Big Five personality traits are used to determine characteristic behavior and thought. The five traits which describe a person are Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness.
The first trait would be extraversion. Andy would have a high score for extraversion because of his high excitability, sociability, talkativeness and assertiveness. Leaders typically show high levels of extraversion and therefore due to the current season Andy has achieved that level of extroversion. In the current season Andy is the new regional manager of Dunder Mifflin with Robert California as the new CEO. He is able to have the office achieve goals as shown by the episode where they increase their sales if in exchange Andy gets a tattoo on his hip. Though Andy may not take the traditional route of commanding people he is able to get the job done by other means. His high level of excitability is shown whenever someone starts singing and he immediately follows such as when singing “Staying Alive” or “The Cats and the Cradle”. Andy is describes himself as wanting to join several groups in the office such as the finer things club, the party planning committee and Kevin’s band. This shows Andy’s sociability with the rest of the co-workers and how he is constantly trying to be a part of whatever is going on such as when Jim and Karen are trying to find a certain brand of chips and Andy pipes in “What’s going on, what’s the game? I want in.”
The second trait would be agreeableness. In this personality dimension Andy would score high because he displays trust, kindness and affection in high degrees. Andy shows a very high amount of kindness when he and Dwight get into a favor contest. Each one keeps doing favors for each other in an attempt to have the other owe them a favor. Andy however says that he is quick in returning favors and will either quickly give an RSVP to an invite or give a thank you card. Andy also shows affection when he is in relationships with both Angela and Erin, though Angela doesn’t reciprocate. Andy displays a great amount of trust in his relationship with Angela even though she and Dwight are seen many times leaving together. She acts coldly towards him and has multiple affairs with Dwight. Andy, being the trusting person that he is, never suspects a thing even though the whole office knows of this “secret”. In the end it is Michael who breaks the news to Andy.
The third trait would be conscientiousness. For this dimension Andy also has a high degree due to his goal directed behaviors and later on good impulse control. During the first season that Andy is introduced he is always shown as a brown-noser towards the regional manager and is always looking for a promotion or higher level up in the office. When Dwight is made as the new manager, Andy is the only one who signs up to be his number two in command. During the beach games, Andy is very enthusiastic about the games and for a chance to show his sportsmanship. He even goes as far as eating 14 hot dogs on the food eating contest that is held during beach day. Though Andy starts out in Dunder Mifflin with low impulse control, (as shown by punching a whole in the wall) he is able to control his emotions with anger management training.
The fourth trait would be neuroticism. For this trait Andy can either have a high score or a low one. In the initial season with Andy he is very irritable, moody and has emotional instability. In the episode where Jim plays a prank on Andy and hides his cell phone Andy gets very upset quickly and begins to blame other co-workers in the office such as Phyllis. When Andy’s phone rings while he is talking to Michael he completely loses it and punches a whole into the wall. However there is a complete character change after he returns from anger management. Andy becomes this stable person who is very likeable and funny. He becomes this jovial, singing, enthusiastic character which everyone seems to like. This sudden change in character of Andy shows that a person can start out neurotic and better themselves with therapy. Opposite examples include Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears as shown in class.
The fifth trait would be openness. In this dimension Andy would score highly because he has a great imagination and a broad range of interests. Andy Bernard’s interest include the banjo, guitar, singing, dancing, golfing, Frisbee, and acting in plays. He tries to woo Pam by singing to her and playing the banjo. He plays the guitar while singing in his newly formed band with Kevin and Darryl. He has a dance off against Kelly and gets injured. He said he invented the Frisbee-Golf club at Cornell and he played golf with a customer in order to get the sale. Andy also has a wild imagination. When trying to figure out whether the rumor of him being a homosexual are true Andy tells Oscar that if he were on a beach and Brad Pitt approached and tried to kiss him he may resist only slightly. Would he continue to resist if Brad Pitt was aggressive or would he be curious about how it felt. All these wild ideas are floating around in Andy’s head while thinking about his sexual orientation dilemma.




Perspective 2: The Psychoanalytic Approach of Personality

The founder of the Psychoanalytic Approach of Personality is Sigmund Freud. This psychological approach focuses three aspects of the mind known as the id, ego and superego. The first element is the Id which is driven by the pleasure principle and strives for immediate gratification of desires and needs. It is very unconscious and primitive. The second element is the ego which ensures that the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable to society. The ego takes the id’s desires and satisfies them in more realistic and socially appropriate ways. The last element is the superego and holds all of our morals and ideals that we acquire throughout our life. In essence, it is our sense of right and wrong.
In the beginning of the show Andy’s id is stronger than the other two components because he gets easily irritated and upset. When he is losing in Call of Duty and it is found that Jim is a novice, he gets angry and threatens Jim that the game is over and he will kill him in real life. When Jim first pulls a prank on Andy, he flips out and kicks a trash can over while yelling. The second time Jim pulls a prank on Andy, he punches a whole through a wall. This shows that Andy could perhaps be fixated at the oral stage where Freud would argue that is the reason for his aggression. However after anger management training Andy comes back with a completely different outlook on life. The change is so large that even when Andy finds out about Dwight sleeping with Angela who is his fiancé at the time, he calmly tells Dwight to stop seeing her. Though they later have a “duel” for her, the way that Andy approached the matter in a socially acceptable way shows that his ego and superego were larger than his id. As the show progresses Andy’s ego and superego become more normal and he begins to function in a more socially acceptable way. He becomes the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin and many of the co-workers show that they care for him and enjoy his company. In this part of the series one can argue that Andy could be fixated in the latent period and Freud would say that is what is contributing to his development of social and communication skills and self confidence.

Discussion

Andy is an interesting character in the show The Office because he is introduced as this negative, aggressive angry person but then is reformed and modified into this likeable and sociable friend who everyone enjoys watching. He is basically two characters in one. He starts out with a strong id and as the show goes on is able to have his ego and superego control those desires and impulsivity so that he can function in society. Andy scores high on all five of the Big Traits and then his scores change as the show goes on especially in the case of neuroticism. With Andy being the cheerful, singing office character a sort of positive energy is brought into the awkward yet funny scene created by Michael Scott. And now with Michael gone and Andy carrying the torch as new regional manager there will be many new experiences and good times ahead.

References

Gervais, R. (Creator) Daniels, G. (Executive Producer) (2005 – Present). The Office. NBC.