The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Teen Wolf, “A Novel Approach” – Season 5, Episode 5

Corey attacked Stiles in Teen Wolf, “A Novel Approach,” and in self-defense, Stiles killed Corey. Stiles, however, told no one about how Corey had attacked him nor that he (Stiles) had killed Corey, and he (Stiles) pretended like everything was normal as he, Lydia, Scott and Kira went to Eichen House to discover the new villains’ identities.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“A Novel Approach” passed the Bechdel and race test but did not pass the Russo test.

“A Novel Approach” just barely passed the Bechdel test. There were only three named women in the episode and these women barely spoke to each other, but because there was one instance where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Lydia and Mila discussed The Dread Doctors book), the episode passed the Bechdel test. The episode also passed the race test, and “A Novel Approach” passed this test because there were three instances where non-White characters talked to each other without mentioning White people (e.g., Scott and Kira talked to each other on three separate occasions, and they, respectively, talk about  Kira’s appearance, about Eichen House and about how they loved each other).

As to the Russo test, “A Novel Approach” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because 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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