The 100, Diversity, and Death: Second Edition

With the conclusion of The 100‘s fourth season I figured I ought to update my post on the show’s demographics and how those demographics intersect with character death. The previous post can be found here.

the-100-season-4-poster

This season four promo image is very thematically appropriate.

What’s New

The most notable difference between this and the first edition is that there are seven new characters counted from season four, and those, as well as new character deaths, have affected the numbers.

Additionally, whereas in the first edition I compared the show’s numbers to the GLAAD “Where We Are on TV” report for the 2015-2016 season, in this post I compare the show’s numbers to the average of what GLAAD reported for all seasons the show has been on air. I think this is pretty clearly a more fair comparison.

Methods

I used IMDB’s page listing actors who have appeared in The 100 and counted named characters who have appeared in four or more episodes for my analysis. I chose to make four episodes a minimum to ensure that characters on the list had significant screentime (as it would be unfair to compare a character who appeared in a single scene to a character who appeared in dozens of episodes). Also note that I used seasons one through four for my analysis.

Once I had gathered my list, I categorized the 53 characters on the following attributes: male/female; white/black/Latinx/Asian; and straight/gay or bisexual. I then determined the percentages of each demographic in the categories of: total; regular; recurring; dead; and alive. (This post focuses on total and dead characters, as in my opinion the other categories are not as significant.)

There were some characters whose actors appeared racially ambiguous and for whom I couldn’t find concrete information on how they identified; in these cases, I used my judgment to make a subjective determination that may have been incorrect. These characters, along with a few exceptions and other notable categorizations, are listed at the end of this post.

Findings

Total Characters

Total Characters Gender

60% of The 100‘s characters are male and 40% are female.

According to GLAAD’s “Where We Are on TV,” the average gender makeup of series regulars on network TV since the season The 100 began airing in is 57% male and 43% female. This means that The 100 is slightly below average in representing women compared to other TV shows, and is notably off from real-world statistics in which women make up approximately 50% of the population.

Since the GLAAD numbers are for regular characters specifically, it’s worth noting that 69% of The 100‘s regular characters are male and 31% are female. Counting only regular characters who are alive,* the split is 56/44 in favor of male characters.

*This is worth doing, I think, as starting in season two the show has consistently each season killed one or two of its male regular characters and added a new one as if in replacement. It’s disappointing that the show hasn’t added female characters to fix the gender imbalance, but it does mean that in any given season the gender disparity is not as large as it is overall.

The rest of this post can be found under the read more.

Total Characters Race

57% of The 100‘s characters are white, 19% are black, 6% are Latinx, and 19% are Asian. (These percentages add up to 101% due to rounding.)

According to the average of GLAAD’s reporting since the season The 100 began airing in, 72% of series regulars on network TV were white, 15% were black, 7% were Latinx, and 6% were Asian. This means that The 100 is notably more racially diverse than the rest of network television, and is somewhat more diverse than the United States’ demography (although it appears to underrepresent Latinx people).

Looking at series regulars on The 100, the split is 54% white, 15% black, 15% Latinx, and 15% Asian (adding up to 99% due to rounding); counting only characters who are alive, the split is 44% white, 11% black, 22% Latinx, and 22% Asian (adding up to 99% due to rounding).

Total Characters Sexual Orientation

89% of The 100‘s characters are straight and 11% are gay or bisexual.

According to GLAAD, 96% of characters were straight and 4% were LGBT+. This means that The 100 is notably more diverse in this area compared to the rest of TV, and is at the high end of real-life estimates in the United States. However, while GLAAD has counted a handful of trans characters, The 100 has had none.

Looking at series regulars on The 100, 92% are straight and 8% are gay or bisexual; counting only characters who are alive, the split is 89/11 in favor of straight characters.

Dead Characters

Dead Characters Gender

70% of The 100‘s dead characters are male and 30% are female.

72% of male characters die on the show and 52% of female characters die; the overall death rate of the show is 62%, meaning that male characters are more likely to die and female characters are less likely to die.

Dead Characters Race

67% of The 100‘s dead characters are white, 15% are black, 0% are Latinx, and 18% are Asian.

73% of white characters die on the show, 50% of black characters die, 0% of Latinx characters die, and 60% of Asian characters die. With an overall death rate of 62%, this means that white characters are more likely to die and characters of color are less likely to die (although not by much for Asian characters).

Dead Characters Sexual Orientation

97% of dead characters in The 100 are straight and 3% are gay or bisexual.

68% of straight characters die on the show and 17% of gay or bisexual characters die; the overall death rate of 62% means that straight characters are somewhat more likely to die and gay or bisexual characters are significantly less likely to die.

Looking at wlw (women-loving women) characters specifically,* 33% have died and 50% of female characters who are implicitly gay (as sexuality is not explicitly discussed on the show) have died.

*I do this because recent discussion of the “bury your gays” trope has largely focused on wlw characters, who have appeared to be disproportionately affected by it.

Comments

While I think this information is important to consider, I want to stress that it doesn’t tell the whole story. My methods do not quantify prominence of characters, nor do they consider the quality of representation for various demographics, meaning that my findings are not a full measure of how The 100 handles diversity.

So, while The 100 has a comparatively large quantity of characters of color and kills characters of color at a lower rate than white characters, this does not mean that the show’s presentation of characters of color treats them with proper respect or gives them due prominence and importance.

Additionally, the sample size of 53 characters is simply not that large in the scheme of things. A 33% death rate for wlw characters compared to an overall rate of 62% might not seem so bad, but that 33% represents one out of three characters dying, which is still a significant loss of representation.

Notes

I made two lists to create this post. The first listed each character and noted their demographics, and can be found here. The second listed overall demographics for different categories, and can be found here. I welcome any corrections or questions about these lists.

Some notes on exceptions or notable categorizations:

New in Second Edition

  • I reclassified Kane to Latinx because I learned that the actor’s mother is Peruvian.
  • Though IMDB counts the character of Bree as appearing in four episodes (three in season four), since she was a very minor character whose name I don’t believe was ever given in the show, I chose not to count her.
  • On the other hand, I added the character of Costa to the list even though I don’t recall his name being given on the show because he’s credited with 18 episodes and I thus think he’s a major enough presence to deserve being counted.
  • I counted Jackson as gay/bisexual because I think he was pretty clearly flirting with Miller in season four, episode nine.
  • I counted Echo as Latinx because the actor’s father is Brazilian.
  • I counted Ilian as Asian because IMDB indicates that the actor is Thai-Australian.

Notes from First Edition

  • I counted Bellamy as Asian because the actor’s mother is Filipino.
  • I counted Sinclair as Asian because the actor’s mother is Asian (I believe Chinese).
  • I counted Alie as a character. Whether or not she truly counts as such is arguable, as the show indicated that she did not have sentience, but since she was given a human appearance and played a major role I decided to count her.
  • Though Wells is counted as a regular character on Wikipedia, I decided not to count him as such because he only appeared as a series regular in three episodes; his fourth appearance was as a guest star, where his character was a hallucination.
  • Callie “Cece” Cartwig is also counted as a regular character on Wikipedia, but only appeared in the pilot so I decided not to count her at all.
  • I counted Emori as Asian because Wikipedia lists the actress’s background as partially south Asian.
  • I counted Ontari as dead, as she was braindead in her final appearance in season three and does not appear to have been kept on life support in season four.
  • The character Jones is listed on IMDB as appearing in four episodes, but as the fourth appearance was as a minor character in a flashback and his character was minor in his previous appearances, I chose not to count him.
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