why I love Shawn Spencer (but not Peter Quill)

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“Um…Eva?” you might say after reading the title of this blog post.  “What exactly do these two characters have in common?”

Well, they’re both snarky, wisecracking problem solvers who’ve lost their mother (one to divorce, the other to death) and have an affinity for all things 80’s.  Additionally, both Shawn Spencer (from the TV show, Psych) and Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord from the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy…and other films) are ENTPs.  I, on the other hand, am an ISTJ – which means I have a lot of trouble getting along with (or even tolerating) ENTPs.  

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After watching Infinity War, I told one of my friends (and all you readers, I think?) that I didn’t like Peter Quill.  Not at all.  I thought/hoped that Guardians of the Galaxy might change my mind, but it only confirmed what I’d already known: Peter Quill and I would never be friends IRL.

But yeah, cool, whatever.  I accepted that and moved on.  However, I recently got an urge to rewatch a bunch of Psych episodes that I love.  And as I did so, I realized two things: Shawn and Peter are [almost] the same character and…I really, really, really like Shawn.  How could this be???  To answer that question, I set out to write a blog post documenting the whys and hows and wherefores. So join me as I try to figure it out!

*dramatic music plays*

As I said above, the differences between Shawn and Peter aren’t so wide at first.  They each walk a fine line with being troubled by their past, restless in their present, and unconcerned with their future. (Relatively speaking.)  And they each annoy me, in similar ways.  As an ISTJ, it drives me crazy when people constantly make jokes (especially during serious moments or about serious things).  Shawn and Peter both do that.

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Still, there’s something of a difference.  Shawn is capable of being calm, level-headed, and utterly serious when the situation demands it.  And, unlike Peter, it doesn’t have to be the most dramatic, life-or-death situation ever.  Shawn tones it down when he senses that people need a different side of him to lean on, to vent to…anything.  Peter, on the other hand, uses humor to distance himself from practically anything that could cause him emotional stress, strain, or even just an awkward conversation. (Which is kinda selfish at times, IMO.)

I do get Peter’s point of view.  So often, I try to escape or avoid emotional situations or moments (though not with humor, because that’s just not me).  But when someone really needs you, you’ve got to give a little.  When your girlfriend (who apparently you love more than anything) is having a SERIOUS CONVERSATION with you about YOU HAVING TO KILL HER (maybe) you don’t need to BE SILLY. *is greatly annoyed*

Shawn, however, allows himself to be vulnerable with the people he loves, with the people who need him.  He’s a funny guy, sure, but he always comes through when people need him to.  And I know that Peter does the same…kinda?  I’m not really angry with him for trying to beat up Thanos and ‘ruining everything’ (because it was obviously part of the one, winning future Doctor Strange saw).  It’s more that I see Peter as being really selfish in most situations? (Except the absolutely most dire ones.)  Idk how to explain it?

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He wants to save himself from having to deal with anything – like helping Thor or being straight-up with Gamora – and so he deflects with humor all. the. time.  It annoys me because um, yeah, I do see myself in that kind of coping mechanism (except I go the whole ‘ignore everyone’ route instead of the jokes thing).  But it also annoys me because, well, it’s annoying!  Imagine being Gamora and having all your attempts at a serious conversation shot down.  Uggggh.

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So I guess this whole thing is about Shawn being kinder and softer and somewhat less selfish than Peter.  Shawn’s jokes aren’t always on point (and, trust me, I’ve been irritated by him more than once).  But overall, I can accept/like/love him as a character far more easily than I can do the same for Peter Quill.

Do you like Shawn and/or Peter?  I’d love to chat about them with you in the comments!

Eva

18 thoughts on “why I love Shawn Spencer (but not Peter Quill)

  1. I keep thinking about that moment in Infinity War that annoyed you so much. I’m trying to remember how I felt about it when I saw it in the theater . . . it’s been a long time. And I don’t have a great memory. Ugh. 😛

    I don’t remember seeing what Peter said in that scene as a joke. In fact, I see a lot of his remarks as not-jokes. For me, he’s not so much joking (which I associate with teasing) as being WHIMSICAL. If that makes sense. His mind makes all these weird connections between completely unrelated things, and he sorta can’t help blurting them out. Whimsy. (ie, high Ne, which ENTPs have, which INFPs have to a lesser degree 😉 )

    Shawn, on the other hand. I don’t like him very much. I’m not sure why, except his lying annoys me [and, in a larger sense, the fact that he GETS AWAY WITH IT annoys me??? Come on, people, how do you not SEE that the man is a total fraud?????]

    Ahem.

    😉

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    1. I think the psychic part of Psych was weird, seemed weird that only Juliet never figured it out? Everyone else knew all along or figured it out. I think the fact that it was SO blatant and if everyone, knew, would make it “okay” to me. I’m not, to put it mildly, found of liars, but I tend to exaggerate, so I have to acknowledge that is not perfectly honest (although the intent is not to deceive, but usually to express how frustrated I am or how much something is, you know, like a bajillion), so I think my main issue is when the intent is to deceive and how well the deception is performed. Like half-truths, and charismatic manipulative people and situations are what I CAN’T stand. And if I was with Shawn in the story, I think he’d bother me more, but again, I don’t see him as a fundamentally deceitful and dishonest person, he’s ultimately trying to do good, he just likes aggravating stick in the mud people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @livie – Right??? I *just* watched the whole ‘Juliet finds out Shawn isn’t psychic’ arc last night and it seemed so forced. And a great disservice to Juliet because how could she NOT know that Shawn wasn’t really psychic? They did it to add drama and it just felt lame. *sigh* But YES to what you said about Shawn being a basically good person trying to do good. Totally hear you there. ❤

        @Katie – They totally did it just for the drama. I feel like they really dumbed down Juliet's character in that plot arc and Shawn was uncharacteristically jerky about the whole thing. Just felt off. *eye roll*

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      2. About Juliet on Psych:

        Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons I got tired watching the show and quit? Because every time Shawn did something ‘psychic,’ the chief and Lassiter would look at him like “eh we know you’re a fake but at least you solved the case,” while Juliet would stare at him with these huge puppy-dog eyes like “OMW YOU’RE SO SMART I AM IN LOVE,” and Shawn just ate it up and it felt really dishonest & manipulative. Like how is Juliet so much less perceptive than Lassiter?? Not cool, writers. Not cool.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m not sure where people are getting the idea that Vick categorically knew. One day she gives open ended dialogue suggesting this, other days she wants shawn to get a psychic reading off a sawed off foot.

        At best you could say she had suspicions but never decided 1 way or another.

        As far as jules believing it. Gus is a smart person but let himself believe the devil possessed a girl just because he admired his catholic reverends beliefs.

        So why is juliet having blindspots partly due to her love & admiration for shawn unbelievable especially in a world where the fbi shows up with their own psychic?
        Plenty of smart people have blindspots.

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    2. Yeahhhhh…that’s where watching stuff only once can become a problem. 😉 (Though I know that’s just How You Roll, so I get it.)

      Okay, maybe he’s being whimsical but it still irks me. In fact, I can think of several book/movie/TV show characters who have speech and thought patterns exactly like the kind you just described and they all annoy me. 😀 It’s just a thing with me, I guess. ‘Cause I prefer straightforward, plain, informational conversations, lol.

      I keep forgetting that you’ve seen Psych! I don’t see him as really getting away with lying – I think everyone knows he isn’t a psychic and just accepts the sham because he gets results. (Except for the whole Juliet thing which I will get to in another comment.)

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      1. Eh. I don’t care enough about remembering the details to re-watch the things 😉 😉 In fact, I think that’s one reason why I DON’T rewatch stuff; I really only want the big picture, and that tends to stick in my head regardless?

        Yep! It makes sense to me that you would find that annoying, since it clashes with your overall personality. It’s not necessarily a “bad” thing that these characters do (the whimsical-ness), but you don’t LIKE it. And I relate, because I dislike a lot of things about fictional characters that aren’t necessarily bad.
        Like the ones who are charming and suave. *cough* Flynn Rider *cough*

        *goes to the other comment*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Shawn, I find Peter awkward, well, I don’t like Guardians overall. I don’t think Peter and Shawn are all that similar though. I think Chris Pratt (I’ve seen him in Parks and Rec) is not my favorite, just his voice, acting, etc. I enjoy Andy in Parks and Rec but I don’t love him. I think that is the first layer. But then Peter Quill’s like an exaggeration of things I don’t like in Andy, and that I kind of think is maybe a Christ Pratt thing? The scatological humor. Can’t stand it. And Quill is insecure and whiny, genuinely so, and I don’t think that is funny or done in a funny way.

    Shawn can come across that way, but I think he’s playing it up on purpose, he’s intentionally being ridiculous (well, until the later seasons, which is one of the reasons why I stop before finishing the entire seasons) for humor, and like you said, he genuinely a better person than he can come across. I think its more than the character though, the script’s comedic timing and James Roday’s acting and Shawn’s relationships with the other characters, it all comes together.

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    1. Yeah…someone said they liked the idea of Chris Pratt more than Chris himself and I can definitely see that. I do think he does an adorable/hilarious job of voicing Emmett in The LEGO Movie though! But yeah…Peter Quill just rubs me the wrong way. 😛 (Agree with you about the rude/crude humor. Ugh.)

      YES about Shawn. Inside, he has a really good heart. I think the actor is part of that – he’s actually quite introverted so, in Shawn’s quieter moments, he can come across as vulnerable and a little shy. It’s kind of adorable. ❤ Completely agree with you about him.

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  3. I love Peter Quill an embarassing amount, alas. (I’ve never seen Psych but I gather it’s a bit, more, uh, down to earth than GotG is?) I didn’t really connect with him, or anyone apart from Gamora and Nebula, during the first Guardians flick. In fact I kinda disliked him a little. But then the second one happened and I think I can pinpoint the moment I started loving him – it’s when Yondu pushes the last spacesuit onto him, and Peter instantly starts trying to take it off and give it back, even though that would mean certain death for *him*. Especially since he has every reason to outright hate Yondu, given his childhood. So that really got to me.

    I dislike Infinity War so much I’ve never even watched it past my cinema viewing, though. Meep. So I can’t remember a lot of details about him from that flick but I do remember all the tiring posturing with Thor and I hated that. I hated most of his bits in Endgame too, gah! But I blame the writers, because they weren’t really good with any of the Guardians in those two movies? Not Peter, not Mantis, not Drax, not anybody!

    *nervously awaits Guardians of the Galaxy 3*

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    1. Psych is definitely more down to earth. No aliens. 😀

      I haven’t seen GOTG2 and um, yeah, I think that scene you described would make me like Peter a little more. There were a couple scenes in the first film that made me genuinely feel for him. Just not overall. 😛 I thought his attitude toward Thor made for some hilarious scenes/lines but he also came across as obnoxious (Peter, not Thor). So there’s that.

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      1. Ah shoot, I hope I didn’t ruin it for you! It’s definitely worth a watch if you like any of the characters even a little. But Infinity War… oh man, sometimes I just pretend it doesn’t exist.

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      2. Oh, no, that’s fine! I don’t care about spoilers these days *except* for Rise of Skywalker. No one had better spoil that for me when it hits theaters…

        Liked by 1 person

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