Veteran TV sitcom "30 Rock" is flagging in the ratings, compared to upstart "S#*! My Dad Says." However, according to some serious quantitative research, "30 Rock" is still a better show.
Erik Voss of the website Splitsider had long thought that "30 Rock" was far superior to "S#*! My Dad Says," but he realized that this opinion was completely subjective. So he set out to prove scientifically that the Tina Fey-Alec Baldwin sitcom was better than the Twitter-inspired show. He did so by watching two episodes of each show and counting the jokes in all four episodes. He split the jokes up into five different categories: verbal jokes, visual gags, callbacks, reveals, and cultural references. He defined callbacks as jokes referring to a previous joke in the show, and reveals as points where the story took a surprising and humorous turn. If a joke fit into more than one category, he counted it twice. Even if he didn't personally find a joke funny, he still counted it.
In the end, "30 Rock" came out ahead, with 204 total jokes in the episode that aired Nov 4, while "SMDS" lagged behind with 95 in its episode the same day. However, "30 Rock" only received 5.3 million viewers, and "SMDS" got 10.9 million viewers.
Why, then, do more people watch a less funny show? Determining the answer to that question would probably require another scientific experiment.