The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Astroburger” – Season 1, Episode 11

In iZombie, “Astroburger,” Major’s friend was murdered, and Major became convinced that zombies were real (Major also wanted to kill the zombies); Ravi had a date with Peyton; Liv was hallucinating, and she found a video of zombies; Blaine learned that Liv had dated Lowell; and the zombie rat was cured.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Astroburger” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

There were several named women in “Astroburger” and there were a couple of occasions where the named women talked to each other, but because the named women always mentioned men in their conversations, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. “Astroburger” also failed to pass the race test for very similar reasons. For example, there were several non-White characters in “Astroburger” and there were several occasions where non-White characters talked to each other, but because White people were always mentioned when non-White characters talked to each other, the episode did not pass the race test.

As to the Russo test, “Astroburger” did not pass this test because there were 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.

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