The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Wayward Pines, “The Friendliest Place on Earth” – Season 1, Episode 8

WAYWARD PINES: Pam (Melissa Leo, R) reassures Ethan (Matt Dillon, L) that his son will be fine in the "The Friendliest Place on Earth" episode of WAYWARD PINES airing Thursday, July 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX

Dr. Jenkins became incensed over the bombings on Wayward Pines, “The Friendliest Place on Earth” and was convinced that someone within the surveillance team (the people who monitor Wayward Pines) was helping the insurgents. He thus had Nurse Pam interview all of the employees on the surveillance team, and what Dr. Jenkins discovered, he did not like.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Friendliest Place on Earth” passed the Bechdel test but did not pass the Russo or race test.

Several named women were in “The Friendliest Place on Earth” and of the couple occasions where these named women talked to each other there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned in their conversation – when Pam talked to Theresa at the hospital and told her to buzz her if she (Theresa) needed anything. “The Friendliest Place on Earth” thus passed the Bechdel test, but the episode did not pass the Russo or race test as there were no LGBTI characters in the episode (and LGBTI characters have yet to be introduced in the series) and because the handful of non-White characters in the episode never spoke 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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