The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Wayward Pines, “Don’t Discuss Your Life Before” – Season 1, Episode 2

On Wayward Pines, “Don’t Discuss Your Life Before,” Ethan learned that Wayward Pines was walled in and that everyone was being watched by a mysterious “they.” This new information made Ethan want to escape Wayward Pines even more, so with the help of Beverly, Ethan made an escape plan.

Ethan’s wife Theresa, in the meanwhile, decided she would find Ethan herself so she setoff for Idaho.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Don’t Discuss Your Life Before” failed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.

There were several named women in “Don’t Discuss Your Life Before” and there were a couple of occasions where named women talked to each other, but because men were always mentioned in their conversations (e.g., Beverly, Nurse Pam and Arlene talked about the past and Ethan) the episode did not pass the Bechdel test.

“Don’t Discuss Your Life Before” also failed to pass the Russo and race test, and the episode did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI characters and because the two non-White characters in the episode never talked to each other.

*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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