Ah, the Golden Age of Television. There’s so much to binge, dissect, and absorb these days, and so many angles to examine. For example, have you ever watched an episode of The Walking Dead and wondered how many zombies are killed in each episode? Or maybe you are more into lighthearted shows like The Office, and you’ve thought to yourself, “Gee, Michael talks a lot. Like, quantifiably so.” Or maybe you were marveling with your friends at the increasing number of gay characters on TV that didn’t die this year.
Maybe you’re none of those people, and you just watch television for the sake of relaxing and having a laugh (or a good scare!). Either way, wouldn’t it be nice if someone could document those random thoughts and ponderings you had about your favorite television shows, in a way that is just as compelling and interesting as the shows themselves?
We think so, and fortunately, we’re not alone.
There are lots of data driven individuals on the interwebs who have taken TV viewers’ ponderings to heart. In return, they’ve developed colorful and engaging graphics that answer some of the most pressing questions we’ve had about our favorite television shows – as well as those questions we didn’t know we had (until now).
As you know, we love a good data viz roundup here at iDashboards, but this has to be one of our most favorite to date. Dive right in and explore these awesome TV pop culture visualizations below.
‘The Office Dialogue’ in Five Charts
The Office primarily takes place in, well, an office. The setting was never all that interesting, but the character driven dialogue, dry wit, and hilarious hijinks solidified both the UK and US versions into the canon of modern comedy. The Pudding has blessed us with a breakdown of how every character contributed to the show via five infographics.
The first is a horizontal bar graph that breaks down how many lines per episode each character spoke on average over the course of the entire series. Not surprisingly, Michael takes the cake, with approximately 65 lines per episode and over 9,000 in the whole series. They helpfully include a pivot chart, so you can compare Michael’s loquaciousness with his coworkers in average by episode, or over the length of the series.
They then use area charts to break down the dialogue contribution by character over the course of each season. Michael’s share naturally plummets towards season 8, as he left the show at the end of season 7. Interestingly, Andy’s grows in season 7 and remains high, perhaps due to actor Ed Helms’ rising star after the release of The Hangover in 2009.
Chart three gives us a view the sentiment of each character’s dialogue. Not surprisingly, Angela makes the top of the list as the most negative. While the chart does show her positivity increasing as the series progresses, she is still more negative at the end of season 8 than Andy ever was…even when Angela broke his heart by getting back together with Dwight.
Then there are charts four and five—hands down our favorite. The Office is known for its ongoing “That’s what she said” jokes, so if you’ve ever been curious how many TWSS jokes the team told, just have a look. (That’s what she said). It was only fitting that Michael had the last laugh in season 9, and on Dwight’s wedding day no less.
Finally, there are Dwight’s tweets. In season 8, Dwight said that he wanted to set up a Tweeter account. Because he never got a chance to do so, The Pudding decided to create one for him, using the Markov model. Click refresh to get a new tweet and a good laugh.
Who is the baddest knuckle-cracker on The Walking Dead? If we were in the business of making anecdotal analysis, it is and will always be Daryl Dixon. However charts don’t lie, and this chart says that it’s Rick Grimes. Well, at least in the pilot season. So take it with a grain of salt.
According to this infographic by visually, 87 zombies were put to rest in the five short episodes of season one, with 50.6 percent of killings done by Rick. The remaining 49.4 percent were performed by a scattering of characters, including Morgan, Shane (remember him?), Glenn, Dale, Daryl, and even meek (at the time) Carol. 35 of Rick’s 44 slayings were done at close range, making him the one person everyone wants by their side during a zombie attack.
Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Representation in 2017 Television
It has been a long, uphill battle for gays, lesbian, bisexuals, transgender and persons of non-heterosexual orientation everywhere to reach the level of representation we see today. In 1994, Ikea dared to be different and used a gay couple in their advertising (to quite an uproar). That same year, Ellen DeGeneres graced the cover of Time Magazine with the words “Yep, I’m Gay” as her headline. A few weeks later, she made the announcement on her hit television show, Ellen. Her show was cancelled the next year.
These are but two examples form a long history of companies receiving public backlash because of their *GASP* audacity to feature gay folks in their advertising or television shows. Fortunately, this data visualization from Autostraddle shows that maybe, just maybe, we’re making progress away from homophobia and towards inclusive representation. While there is undoubtedly work to be done, particularly in amplifying intersectional stories (i.e. not just white cisgendered women), 2017 was a strong showing for LGBT women on TV.
According to a report by GLADD, there were only 53 LGBT characters on scripted cable shows in 2010/11, and only 34% were women. In 2017/18, that number more than tripled, with 173 LGBT characters (49 percent of which were women), plus an additional 70 more on streaming networks (66 percent of which were women). Even more amazing was the fact that many of the characters were recurring or regulars, and that they were not being created just to be killed, as so many LGBT characters in the past were.
— LGBT Fans (@LGBTFans) May 20, 2016
Here’s a bonus viz to set the scene, or rather how the television scene has been for queer female characters. One of the enduring tropes has been for LGBT characters to suffer, die, or simply be erased from the narrative. The pattern is so recognizable that it spawned its own hashtag (#BuryYourGays) and inspired a campaign urging Hollywood to stop killing off so many of these characters. It seems to have worked – in 2015, 23 queer women were buried on TV, but in 2017, that number was cut by more than half to just 11.
Beyond the Tip: A Data Driven Exploration of Archer
Elijah Meeks and Mara Averick really hit a home run with this Archer-centric deep dive. Their data visualization website features interactive charts, hand-picked GIFs from every episode, comprehensive bee swarm plots, and much more. If you’re an Archer fan, you will definitely appreciate the episode-by-episode, script-by-script, and character-by-character analyses. There is detailed info in here for all 8 seasons, so make sure you’re prepared to waste a good amount of time on here.
Our favorite chart type? This custom line chart, where you can view how and why characters are related, when certain characters enter, exit, and reenter scenes. Runner up? Tracking every instance when characters used the term “Phrasing,” the show’s version of Michael Scott’s “That’s what she said.” Plus accompanying GIFs. Truly, this visual is way too comprehensive and cool for words to do it justice, so you should probably check it out for yourself.
Good, Evil, Ugly, Beautiful: A ‘Game of Thrones Chart’
And finally, one for all you GOT fans out there… this incredible interactive chart that you can help build. TheUpshot uses crowd-sourced responses to determine the relationship between Game of Throne characters’ overall goodness and their external beauty. For instance, we all know that Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, has an undeniable external beauty, but how does everyone feel about her internal beauty? Many fans of the show didn’t rank her as ‘good’ as one might have thought, though they didn’t rank her as ‘evil’ either. Since “evilness” and “beauty” are such subjective term, this interactive crowd-sourcing of data was an interesting way to attempt a consensus.
The scatterplot idea is all thanks to Toph Tucker and Anitra Sprauten, two GOT fans who developed this formulation last summer during some downtime. They posted an image of their own rankings on Instagram, where it gained traction and turned into this. The goal of the chart, they say, is to show how characters “are conventionally perceived within the world of the books and show, not our own perceptions of the actors and actresses.” For many, it is interesting to note how people perceive the nature of goodness, and how some (read: many) tend to conflate moral and physical goodness.
There you have it: a roundup of five of our favorite TV data visualizations on the web. Any that we missed? What TV shows do you want to see visualized? Let us know in the comments or on social media @iDashboards!
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