The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream, “Hello, Emma” – Season 1, Episode 2

In the newest episode of Scream, “Hello, Emma,” Rachel was killed and her murder was disguised as a suicide, so as far as the town knew, Rachel had hung herself. Two of the individuals who were most affected by her death was Audrey and Emma. To be more specific, Audrey was upset because her girlfriend had died, and Emma was upset because she believed that the video she had let her friends post had played a hand in Rachel’s apparent suicide.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Hello, Emma” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

The serial killer posts a GIF of Nina’s death.

Named women talked to each other on several occasions in “Hello, Emma,” and there were three instances in the episode where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Emma talked to her mom, to Audrey and to Riley and Brooke about Rachel on three separate occasions) so the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Hello, Emma” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because Rachel (who is gay) was in the episode; because Rachel was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also known as a Catholic student who had issues with cutting and depression); and because Rachel was so important to the plot that it would have been impossible to have taken her completely out of the episode without changing a major plot point in “Hello, Emma.”*****

In regards to the race test, there were a few non-White characters in “Hello, Emma,” but because none of the non-White characters in the episode ever talked to each other, “Hello, Emma” did not pass the race test.

*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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