Why Are Air Conditioners Killing So Many TV Characters In 2017?

05.10.17 12 months ago 2 Comments


Pop quiz. Air conditioners are:

A) Life-saving providers of cool air during the sweltering summer months, without which you would surely melt into a blob on the floor of your house or apartment.
B) Instruments of death that wait until we least expect it loosen themselves from high-rise windows and tumble down to Earth at a startling speed so they can land on our bodies and crush our bones and organs.
C) Fine.
D) Well I was gonna say A until I read B, but now that I’m thinking about it…

The correct answer here is some combination of A and C, pun not intended, although I retroactively stand by it. Despite the fears of many a big city sidewalk-walker, deaths via falling air conditioner are statistically improbable, at best. Injuries? Okay, sure. Gawker compiled a list of recent AC-related incidents in New York City, which range in result from “head wound that required hospitalization” to “a few broken bones,” but the last full-on AC-related death in New York City took place almost 30 years ago, in 1988, when a maintenance worker loosened a unit for repairs and sent it falling seven stories and onto the head of a poor pedestrian. One in 30 years. Not too bad.

In fact, to put that in perspective, in the period between 1978 and 1995, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were “at least” 37 deaths caused by people tilting or rocking vending machines to retrieve snacks. That’s slightly over two people per year. While these two sets of data don’t line up perfectly (one takes into account only New York City, while the other looks at the entire country), I feel confident enough in my research — 10 minutes of Googling phrases like “people killed by falling air conditioners” — to state this conclusion: You will probably not die via falling air conditioner.

Unless… wait. Are you a character in critically-acclaimed television series? You are? Oh, well then please disregard everything I just said. You or someone you know will almost definitely die in some sort of AC-related incident. I say this because, as of today, just over 33 percent of the way through 2017, we have already seen three people on three different shows die this way. Three! That puts us on pace for nine this year, wildly outpacing even real world vending machine deaths. In the grand scheme of things, it’s practically an epidemic.

(Also of note: Kangaroos have been killed on two separate HBO dramas this year. On The Young Pope, protestors snuck into the Vatican gardens and murdered the kangaroo that Australia sent the pope as a gift. On The Leftovers, an Australian police chief hit one with his car and finished it off with a bullet. I don’t have figures on kangaroo homicide at my fingertips, but I’ve got to believe this is a statistical anomaly as well.)

Below, please find evidence and analysis of these three events, as well as suggestions for how you, a character on a critically-acclaimed television series, can avoid a similar fate. Although I guess the best advice is “be on a show that takes place before air conditioners were invented.” The rare situation where Game of Thrones is actually the safest show to be on. You might get killed by dragons or undead warriors or magical green fire or giants or poison or regular fire, but you will not be killed by a falling air conditioner. Take solace in that.

But for everyone else, please read closely. It’s good to be informed.

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