For 15 seasons and counting, the societal outcasts of FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have committed some truly unconscionable acts, including frequent assaults on the English language. According to some new data, what the bar proprietors lack in comprehension they might make up for in sheer volume.
Puzzle game help site WordFinderX recently looked at the spoken-words-per-minute ratio of several popular television series to find out which might be the most verbose. As The Wrap reports, the site gathered English language subtitles for the most recent season of several series, then divided their totals by the typical episode length. That formula put Sunny at 176.2 words per minute (wpm) and well ahead of “talky” sitcoms like Friends (112 wpm) or Seinfeld (111.6 wpm), though it’s not far off from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s 174.6 wpm.
Interestingly, sci-fi and fantasy series seem to be more muted, with few shows cracking more than 90 wpm. Even the gabby kids of Stranger Things manage just 83.4 wpm. The stoic Jedi of Obi-Wan Kenobi barely managed 50.5 wpm.
There is a point to all this beyond just trivia. The more words per minute, the harder it might be for those following along with subtitles. As WordFinderX points out, the National Disability Authority recommends shows not exceed 140 wpm for ease of reading. The NDA also suggests subtitles be kept to blocks, not shown one word at a time. (It takes just as long to consume one word onscreen as several.)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is currently shooting its 16th and presumably verbally overwhelming season, with a release date to be announced.
[h/t The Wrap]