Learn how to make a Statistically Perfect Episode!

The Introduction

For the longest time, I was contemplating which topic to choose to use for my portfolio’s debut presentation. I wanted to present my ability to find data as well as produce it myself. I needed a project where I would be able to find data and bring in my own data at the same time. I also wanted it to be something I was passionate and interested in.

I was watching Rick and Morty, one of my favorite shows. I remembered a video I watched in which the Showrunners explained that they have a certain Format they use for every Episode. Then the idea hit me. I wondered if there was a way for the Showrunners to take it even further and figure out exactly how to make a Statistically Perfect Episode.

The Preparation

So… you want to make a Statistically Perfect Episode of Rick and Morty. You have come to the right place! I have already done all the research for You.

The first thing I needed to do is to find a list of all the Rick and Morty episodes along with their Rating. I was able to obtain a list of all Episodes with their Names online. Igor Bettio Published a list called “Rick and Morty Data” onto Kaggle.


Then I Cleaned the Data so I only had the Episode Numbers and Names.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a list with the Episode Ratings as well. I found the ratings of every episode on IMBD. Obviously, not everyone will agree with how every episode is rated on IMBD. However, it is a reliable way to measure the Rating of each Episode. Now, all I needed to do is plug the ratings into my sheet, and Voila!

I was not going to re-watch the whole show. I just needed to watch a few episodes. Using a few basic functions, I was able to figure out which episodes were the Top Two Rated Episodes, which episode was the Average Rated Episode and which were the Two Lowest Rated Episodes. I now had a Diverse Sample to work with.

Immediately, I was able to see how the Show's Ratings changed over time.

The crazy thing is that none of these episodes were actually bad. They were just rated lower than some of the better ones. In fact, the lowest rating goes to “S04E04 Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty”, with a rating of 7.4! That is not a bad rating by any means.

Now I needed to figure out what Variables to use as I re-watch the Five Episodes that I picked. Figuring out the right Variables was a little tricky. The Variables needed to be something that is undisputed. Therefore, I could NOT count how many jokes were in each episode, as jokes are opinion based. If I ever watch Rick and Morty with my wife, I am always cracking up and enjoying the show. She just rolls her eyes and does not think it is funny at all!

On the other hand, it IS possible to count the number of Characters. For example, if there is a clone of someone or another version of a Character from a different dimension, I counted them as separate Characters. I also counted the number of Settings per episode. I counted every time the Setting was changed, even if the Characters just walked into a new room. As long as it was different enough for me to consider a new Setting, I counted it as a new Setting.

I also counted the number of Fights as well as the number of Injuries and Deaths. Fights were counted any time Characters physically assaulted each other. No matter how many Characters were involved or how many Settings it took place over, every Fight counted as just one Fight. Each and every time a Character was Injured or Killed, counted as one Injury or Death. As a rule of thumb, all Deaths are Injuries, but not all Injuries are Deaths.

Another Variable that was really interesting to me was Cursing. I wondered if the amount of Curse Words per Episode would make a difference in the Episode Rating. After re-watching the Five Episodes, I was really blown away about how much you can really break down an Episode based on certain Variables.

Here is what the final tally looked like:

Then I put it into a new Spreadsheet. Viola!

Being able to see the Data finally coming together in front of me made my day!

The Findings

The next step was for me to Visualize the Data. Using Tableau, I was able to create some beautiful Charts that show how each Variable affects the Ratings.

Looking at the chart, you can clearly see the correlation between Settings and Ratings. The more Settings that are featured in an episode, the better the Rating is.

This is a little tricky. All but one of the points on the chart seem to indicate that the more Characters that are in an Episode, the better the Rating is. The only Episode that does not support this Hypothesis is the Second Lowest Rated Episode, Inter-Dimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate, which has 52 Characters. However, it still has nowhere close to 64, or even 75 like in the Top Two Rated Episodes. Therefore, we can deduce that the more Characters an Episode has, the better the Rating. Obviously, there are other factors that are involved in making an Episode good.

When I was watching the Five Episodes, after watching the first two Episodes, I thought it was interesting that both Episodes had exactly 8 Fights. Then I watched the third one, and thought it was a coincidence that there were 8 Fights in this Episode too. Once I finished all Five Episodes, I realized that it was no coincidence. It must be part of the Format that the Show-runners use already! This is still a Theory as I would have to re-watch the entire Show to confirm it.

* If anyone is willing to watch the entirety of Rick and Morty and tally up every fight, please call me at (602)585-3960 or email the findings to tegridyestate@gmail.com.

The number of Injuries and Deaths are clearly correlated. In most cases, Injuries resulted in Death.

To see if the amount of Injuries and Deaths really changes the ratings, I would have to watch a few more episodes. This is just not a big enough Sample for me to use.

On one hand, the Top Two Rated Episodes clearly have the most Injuries. On the other hand, the Lowest Rated Episode has a higher number of Injuries than the Second Lowest Rated Episode and the Average Rated Episode. It could also very well be that the amount of Injuries and Deaths have absolutely no correlation to the Ratings.

Now… For the Variable we have all been waiting for… Cursing! I had a few different theories on how Curse Words would affect the Ratings, but I was completely wrong. The only thing I can say from this data is that you SHOULDN'T use 50 Curse words in any Episode! When it comes to Cursing, 14 Curses seems like a sweet spot since the Top Two Rated Episodes both have exactly 14 Curse Words. Anything less than that, the Episode is not Edgy enough. Anything more than that, the Episode seems Crude and Tasteless.

The Conclusion

Congratulations! You now know what you need to do to make the Statistically Perfect Episode of Rick and Morty. On top of that, You learned so much more about Rick and Morty than anyone will ever need to know.

You would have to put as many Settings and Characters as you possibly can. I would recommend getting as close to 60 Settings as possible. For the most part, more Characters result in better Ratings.

When it comes to Fights, stick to 8. All the Episodes have 8 Fights, and the Lowest Rated Episode has a 7.4 Rating. If something isn't broken, don't fix it. Clearly 8 Fights per Episode really works for this Show. The Data from the Injuries and Deaths are still inconclusive. The last thing to do is to have exactly 14 Curse words.

That is how you make a Statistically Perfect Episode of Rick and Morty!

Ideas for Next Time...

I would love to go through the entire show from beginning to end and tally up every time anything happens in this Show in order to make these findings more precise, but that simply is not realistic. However, if I were to put more time into this, here are some ideas of what I should do:

  • Add a few more Episodes to the Sample

  • (Or) use every Episode in the Sample

  • Add a few more Variables(burps, fake names, sponsored content…)

  • Cross-Analyze different Variables with each other.

  • See if Standalone Episodes get better Ratings than Serialized Episodes.