The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Blaine’s World” – Season 1, Episode 13

iZombie -- "Blaine's World" -- Image Number: ZMB113A_0245 -- Pictured (L-R): David Anders as Blaine DeBeers and Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The themes of tonight’s finale of iZombie were life-altering decisions and fatal mistakes. To be more specific, Ravi believed that he had created a zombie cure, and Liv had to decide whether or not she wanted to take the cure and risk possibly dying (for reals this time); Liv discovered that Blaine had Major, and she tried to rescue Major but she failed; Major killed all of Blaine’s minions and he (Major) was then killed by Blaine; Liv turned Major into a zombie (which he hated) and she then gave Major and Blaine the zombie cure (she cured Blaine in order to exact revenge against him); Suzuki killed himself so that he could cover-up all of the dead zombies; Max Ragger’s secret was revealed to the public; Liv’s brother was severely injured, and he needed a blood transfusion; and Liv was unable to donate her blood to her brother because she was a zombie, and she couldn’t cure herself and then give him her blood because she had already used up the zombie cure on Major and Blaine.

So, yeah, BAM. The end to season 1 of iZombie ladies and gentlemen (and, yes, a lot did happen in the finale).

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Blaine’s World” did not pass any of the diversity tests.

“Blaine’s World” did not pass the Bechdel test because while there was one occasion where named women talked to each other (this, by the way, was also the only occasion women, named or unnamed, talked to each other), men were mentioned in their conversation (e.g., Liv’s mom told Liv to go with the male doctor and Liv refused). The finale also failed to pass the race test for similar reasons. For example, there were a couple of non-White characters in the episode and they did talk to each other, but because White people were always mentioned in their conversations, the episode failed to pass all of the race test’s requirements and thus failed to pass the race test.

As to why the finale 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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