I did some math on The Walking Dead, since people have been complaining that it’s a show where everyone dies. And on the surface, yes, this is true.
I went to The Walking Dead Wikia and pulled out some numbers. These are clearly not perfect, but it’s what I have to work with.
- 794 characters have been ‘named’ on the show (seen on screen I presume)
- 252 characters have died to date
- 3 characters are lesbians
- 2 lesbians are dead (leaving 1 alive)
Ready for the math? Here we go.
- 0.3% of characters on the show are lesbians
- 66% of the lesbians on the show are dead
- 31.8% of the heterosexuals on the show are dead
I do need to make some corrections though. 2 characters are gay men. None are known to be bisexual yet. That changes the number to 31.6% of dead heterosexuals. Both the gay men are alive.
The numbers are practically opposite. The 0.3% of lesbian characters is interesting of itself. That’s not really representational, but I’ll accept that many characters simply haven’t had their sexuality come up yet. I’ll even accept that they can’t tell us about some of the gays because it would screw up the plots.
Beyond the numbers is the issue of representation. If you watch a TV show, you instinctively look for yourself. You look for people who make you feel represented. If you kill off 250 straight people, you have 539 left to look at and possibly connect with. If you kill off two lesbians, you have one left. And what if you don’t like that one? Now you have absolutely zero representation of yourself in the show.
And that’s why this matters.