The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Liar Game (Korean) – Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of the Korean adaption of the hit manga Liar Game, the audience is introduced to Da-Jung, a young woman who is struggling to pay off her father’s debts and who is unwittingly wrangled into a reality game that depends on deception, a skill that Da-Jung does not have. Nonetheless, Da-Jung is determined to play this game for if she wins, she will earn a boatload of money and be able to pay off her dad’s debts.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

There are two named women in episode 1 and these two women speak to each other twice without mentioning men (e.g., when Da-Jung calls Sung-Ja and Sung-Ja talks to Da-Jung at the café) so the episode passes the Bechdel test. Episode 1 also passes the race test and the episode passes this test because the entire cast is Asian, and White people are never mentioned in any of the casts’ conversations.

As to the Russo test, episode 1 does not pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in the episode.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The show contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a show passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the show.