When I was at ClexaCon London, I was chatting with someone and they asked me what the deadliest month was, to be a queer lady on TV. I didn’t know, but guessed it was October.
Once I got home, I sat down with a spreadsheet and rounded up the numbers for the last 11 years. Why 11? Prior to 2008, the overall numbers of death were pretty low. 2000-7 deaths were 1/3 the numbers of 2008-18. I also left December 2018 at 0, since at the time of this post, there were no deaths in December. Yet.
Okay, that’s a nice chunk of data. What does it mean?
Unpacking the Data
The top two worst months ever were April 2016 and October 2017, with 8 deaths. Following that is October 2018 (6 deaths) and June and October 2016 (5 deaths each). So far my theory of ‘October sucks’ is looking pretty good.
But it’s hard to visualize things just from raw numbers, so I shifted to combining the data. This means I adds up the deaths per month from each year. In that way, we can count the total deaths for all the Octobers
Now you can easily see that with 35 deaths over 11 years, October is indeed the deadliest month. For those of you who are visual leaners, here’s a breakdown that may help:
October jumps out into the clear lead, with March, April and May tying it up.
Surprisingly, there’s no correlation with sweeps. Per the Nielsens, sweeps are in November, February, May and July. February is actually the safest month overall. Of all of sweeps, May is the most dangerous, which makes sense as it’s the traditional end of a TV season.
Why are non-sweeps months more dangerous? Because the point of sweeps is to hook us and keep us coming back. If you kill off all your characters before then, we don’t keep watching. However, having spring be a large chunk of the data is logical. The end of a season is more likely to have big stakes and high costs. Since most queers aren’t main characters, they’re expendable.
The most amusing stat in all this is that Sara Lance died twice in October.
Above all, we know that October is the deadliest month.