We developed a mathematical method of scoring queer shows that generates a numeric score from 0 to 100 for all TV shows in the LezWatchTV database. This is intended to help people identify shows that are ‘better’ for queer audiences than others.
A Brief History
In June of 2017, Mika developed the first ‘formula’ that would later become show scoring while waiting in line for a taping of One Day at a Time. The system was soft-released in August, and by October 2017 the first iteration of the scoring system was made public. The formulas were tweaked and adjusted, in order to give more weight to important aspects of shows (and less to others), until March 2018, when the second (and current) release was made. Since then, the calculations have been tweaked here and there to continue to reward positive representation on television.
Scoring System Last Updated: 13 June 2018
Every show page has a section in the sidebar for “Is It Worth Watching?” In that section is a mention of each show’s score:
This score enumerates the contextual value of a show. The higher the score value, the better the show is for a queer audience.
How Scores Are Generated
Any time a show is updated (either by itself or by adding new characters to a show), the score is regenerated. The score takes into account four major aspects of any show:
- Show Ratings
- Character Survival Rate
- Clichés of characters
- Tropes of Shows
The scores all total 100 each. They are added together and divided by 4 to generate the overall show score.
In addition, shows receive bonuses for having positive intersectional representation.
On every show, we rate the following qualities from 1 to 5 (more info) on these ratings:
- Realness – how realistic are the queers (contextually)
- Quality – how good is the show for queer people
- Screentime – how much screen time do the queer characters get
Those scores are added together and multiplied by 3 for a max of 30.
Next we add in points based on the Thumb Score (more info) on worth it ratings
- Thumbs up +10
- Thumbs ‘meh’ +5
- Thumbs down -10
Then we factor in star ratings (more info) on star ratings:
- Gold Star +20
- Silver Star +10
- Bronze Star +5
- Anti-Star -15 (note: no show has this yet)
An negative adjustment is made for Trigger Warnings:
- Low -5
- Medium -10
- High -15
Finally if it’s a “Show We Love” (more info) on Shows We Love” it gets a bonus +40 points.
Character Survival Rate
This is simply a percentage of characters who are alive. If a show has 10 characters and 9 are alive, then it gets a 90. If 9 are dead, then it’s The Walking Dead and gets a 10. If they’re all dead, they get a 0.
Clichés of Characters
For this, we take the percentage of characters who either have no clichés or only the ‘Queer In Real Life’ one. For example, in Take My Wife, the two characters are played by openly queer actors. That gives them the lauded score of 100. Most shows have a much lower score.
Tropes of Shows
The types of tropes a show has also factors into this. There are six types of tropes:
- No Tropes: ‘No Tropes’
- Good Tropes: ‘Happy Ending’ and ‘Everyone’s Queer’
- Maybe Tropes: ‘Coming Out,’ ‘Big Queer Wedding,’ and ‘Subtext Only’
- Ploy Tropes: ‘Erased Queerness’, ‘Happiness then Tragedy,’ ‘Queer For Ratings,‘ ‘Queer for Laughs,‘ and ‘Queerbaiting’
- Bad Tropes: ‘The Big Bad Queers,’ ‘In Prison’ and ‘Queerbashing’
- Regular Tropes: Everything else
In certain situations, a ‘Maybe’ Trope is a bad one. For example, ‘Big Queer Wedding’ when combined with ‘Queer for Ratings’ usually means the wedding was a one-off character we never saw again. On the other hand, if you combine it with ‘Everyone’s Queer’ then we have a very happy day indeed. Ploy Tropes are those we’ve deemed beneficial to a show for ratings more than positive representation, whereas Bad Tropes are just harmful all around.
Based on a combination of the tropes, we calculate the score using some pre-defined values:
- No Tropes: 100
- Only Good Tropes: 95
- Only Good Tropes and Maybe Good Tropes: 85
- More Bad or Ploy Tropes than Good Tropes: 40
- Only Bad or Ploy Tropes: 25
For any show that is a ‘mixture’ of tropes, we take the percentage of Good and Maybe Good Tropes (minus bad tropes) to the Tropes total for a show. To that, if there are no Ploy Tropes, we add 50. The maximum for this calculation is limited to 75, so a show that’s ‘average’ can’t get above that.
Additionally, if a show has the ‘Bury Your Queers’ trope, it automatically loses 1/3rd of the trope score.
- ‘Everyone’s Queer’: 95
- ‘Bury Your Queers’ and ‘Everyone’s Queer’: 62.7
- ‘Coming Out’ and ‘In Love With a Str8 Person’: 75
- ‘Bisexual Love Triangle’, ‘Coming Out’, ‘Erased Queerness’, ‘Freakout Hetero Sex’ and ‘Queerbashing’: 40
- ‘Coming Out,’ ‘Happiness then Tragedy,’ and ‘Queers in Law Enforcement’: 33.33
- ‘Bury Your Queers,’ ‘Happiness then Tragedy,’ and ‘Queerbashing’: 26.4
As you can see, killing your queers hurts a show a lot.
We award bonuses for positive intersectionality. If a show has been flagged for positive intersectional representation (such as showing interracial relationships, people of color, or people with disabilities), it gets a +3 bonus for each one, up to a maximum of 15. This rewards shows for featuring diversity of the world, beyond LGBT+, in a positive light.
By combining these factors, we’re able to assign a quantitative value to the quality of a show.