The Simpsons themselves are obviously the most popular characters on the series in terms of spoken words–well, except for Maggie, of course. But who among Springfield’s ever growing cast of recurring characters comes in fifth? Where does the show spend most of its time when it comes to location? And how in the hell is “The Simpsons” still on the air after nearly 30 years? Surely next to no one is watching anymore.
Fortunately, the answers to all of these important questions lie with super geek Todd W. Schneider and his mad data mapping skills. You see, thanks to the immensely comprehensive Simpsons World app–some would say it’s the secret ingredient that releases the awesome power of apples in every handy, mouth-sized Powersauce bar–Schneider was able to design a code that could “parse the available episode scripts and attribute every word of dialogue to a character, then ranked the characters by number of words spoken in the history of the show.” Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
As we pointed out in the beginning of this article, The Simpsons themselves make up the brunt of the scripts during the show’s first 26 seasons, combining to a “47 percent share of the show’s dialogue.” Surprisingly, Marge speaks more than Bart by just a smidge. But once we isolate the core cast from the supporting characters, things get a bit more interesting.
While the top tier characters aren’t exactly surprising here, it is a little shocking that Mr. Burns is at the forefront. And how did Lenny nearly make the top 10? But we digress. Schneider made a point to also draw attention (through orange bars) to the female characters of the show. As you can see, the gender imbalance was not something that was lost on him, as he points out that “women account for less than 10 percent of the supporting cast’s dialogue.” This isn’t so hard to believe once you consider that “9 of the top 10 writers are male,” but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
As for locations, things are a lot more cut and dry. Clearly a show focused on a family will take place primarily in their home, followed by the school and other local establishments most folks visit on the reg. And as you can see, Homer is exactly the alcoholic he appears to be judging by which business is featured most prominently.
Last but not least, we come to the ratings of “The Simpsons,” which seem to have been on a steady decline from the beginning. However, it should be brought to your attention–and it is–that “TV ratings for individual shows have been broadly declining for over 60 years.” This is simply due to the influx of options out there.
These graphs are just small fractions of the data Schneider tirelessly collected. For even more, be sure to check out his complete analysis. And if that still doesn’t completely satisfy your quest for endless “The Simpsons” knowledge, just ask this scientician.
(h/t The A.V. Club)