Make This Sitcom Map More Informative

This map from Dan Meth displays popular sitcoms by where they took place. It’s a comic and totally amusing, so there’s no need to pick it apart, but let’s imagine for a second that it’s an infographic. What could we do to make this graphic more informative? How do we turn this comic into a more useful map? Discuss amongst yourselves.

[Thanks, Eric]


  • Meaning behind colours of the States are not clear, legend would be helpful. State names should be included on the map for international readers. Sitcom names could be grouped around the edges of the map, and connected to the State using linework. Would be interesting to see a time-series version of this information, identifying trends such as States popular as sitcom settings during particular television ‘eras’ e.g. 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s etc

  • Brad Bryant April 2, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Start by integrating it with Google Maps (less headache!). Then, as an icon representing each house, use a mini-photo of each residence pinpointed on the actual neighborhood in which the sitcom family lived.

    As info balloons (which would appear when clicking each icon), the info about the show itself, along with a wiki link could be very helpful.

    This would only take about 12-14 hours to do, instead of making your own interactive map from scratch, which would take about 3 weeks.

  • Take off the shows that aren’t sitcoms. (Hawaii 5-0? Wha-?)

  • Use color spectrum to indicate concentration for any particular state.

  • The labels have a disorganized look because they are quite large and there are so many. Lot’s of these types of graphics end up being interactive where you would only see the label for the state if you mouse over that state. If that was done, a search box could be included for sitcoms that would highlight the state a’la “The Ebb and Flow of Movies” graphic.

  • Benson took place in Connecticut (at the Governor’s mansion) not an NYC Suburb. Wikipedia says that the state is never mentioned (though I’d swear there was a map of CT in the background somewhere), but it was a spin off from Soap which definitely takes place in CT. Speaking of which, Soap is missing from the map.

    As for NYC, where’s Taxi, Barney Miller, Fish, The Jeffersons and All In The Family?

  • You should try a frappr map at which is interactive and allows people to add to it.

  • 227 took place in Washington, not Chicago. Oh, and where’s the Cosby Show for heaven’s sake?

  • This graphic is rather cluttered and disorganized, so I don’t think the answer is adding more information (state names, etc). But it’s really only showing one piece of information, so I don’t think there’s any reason all the information can’t be shown at once (so don’t force a mouseover to see anything.)

    My initial reaction is to declutter it. Make it larger, put the names of shows in lists off to the side, with lines going to the location they took place. This would make it easier to read, and provide more information since the line could go to the EXACT location instead of just general area.

    After that there’s all sorts of interesting things you could do (I’m thinking show some relation to when the shows aired, to see any trends over time), but the first order of business should be making it as useable as possible.

  • To clarify my comment, if this graphic were to be made interactive, the mouseover event would show sitcoms per state, not state labels. For example, mousing over Alaska would show “Northern Exposure.”

  • I’d clear out the state colors, but then add different colored fonts for the different decades. Or, if there was interactive rollover, the outer edge of the pic/icon would be the decade specific color.

  • @Mike I already contacted the map-maker regarding 227. It’s one of the few sitcoms DCers have!

    I would say interactivity would make this map a lot of fun. Like little markers that popped up with video content. You could really push the fictitious element and create a custom map of the US where State/City sizes directly related to the amount of sitcoms take place there. That way it could be a great commentary on how the TV industry has mediated the US over the past 40 years.

  • How about using transparent circles to indicate sitcom population density per city/state/region over a timeline animation….or give each show an icon and make the size of that icon proportionate to neilson ratings over an animated timeline….really all I’d want to see is a massive Fonz looming over a late 70’s dystopic upper-midwest. With Laverne eventually rising-up to defend Milwaukee.

  • Eric Daniels April 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I think the map should be retitled “Where America is Funniest,” and each sitcom should be represented by a semi-transparent reddish blotch, so the darkest red areas are clearly the funniest.

    And I think there should be a time slider along the bottom, so we can see where the humor has shifted to over the years.

    Also, I think there should be one marker in each state for “The Simpsons.”

  • Here’s one idea: Clear the map so that it only shows state lines (no dots, blurbs, icons, words) and as you move a mouse over each state you hear the theme song(s) of the shows.

    For places like LA the songs could literally play on top of one another indicating that I need to double click to zoom in for more granularity.

  • One Day at a Time = Indianapolis

  • Hawaii 5-0 and Lou Grant are not sitcoms. Now, for Final Jeaprody, where was LEAVE IT TO BEAVER located?

  • Uhhh, where are The Simpsons?

  • Seinfeld wasn’t popular?