The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Liar Game (Korean), “Smuggling Game I” – Season 1, Episode 9

On Liar Game, “Smuggling Game I,” two teams were formed for round 5 with Woo-Jin, Jaime, Da-Jung and Dal-Goo on one team and Do-Young, Bulldog, Sung-Joon and In-Gi on another team.

The goal of round 5 was that the two teams had to successfully smuggle money from each other in order to win the game, but Da-Jung’s team kept inexplicably failing. It wasn’t until the end of the episode that Da-Jung exactly why they were failing – Dal-Goo had betrayed them.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Smuggling Game I” passed the race test but did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

The entire cast of “Smuggling Game I” was Asian and there was only one instance where a White person was mentioned (B.F. Skinner was brought up again) so there were plenty of occasions where non-White characters talked to each other without mentioning White people. “Smuggling Game I” thus passed the race test. The same, however, cannot be said in reference to the Bechdel and Russo test.

Three named women appeared in “Smuggling Game I” – Da-Jung, Jaime and Yoon-Joo. Da-Jung and Jaime talked to each other once or twice, but because men were always in their conversations, “Smuggling Game I” did not pass the Bechdel test.

As to why “Smuggling Game I” did not pass the Russo test, 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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