The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Teen Wolf, “Ouroboros” – Season 5, Episode 8

On Teen Wolf, “Ouroboros,” Kira was arrested for murder and Scott and the rest of the Wolfpack searched for Hayden and Liam.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Ouroboros” passed the Russo and race test but did not pass the Bechdel test.

“Ouroboros” passed the Russo test because Corey (who is gay) was in the episode; because Corey was not defined by his sexual orientation (his sexual orientation was never even brought up); and because Corey was pivotal to the episode’s plot (e.g., because of Corey, Scott found a clue to Hayden and Liam’s whereabouts). Mason, another LGBTI character, was also in “Ouroboros,” but the episode would not have passed the Russo test based solely on his appearance because while Mason is gay, he was in the episode and he was not defined by his sexual orientation, he was not important to the plot of the episode and he could have been easily have been removed without causing a radical change to occur to the plot of the episode.

“Ouroboros” also passed this test, and the episode passed this test because there were a couple of occasions where non-White characters talked to each other without mentioning White people (e.g., Dr. Deaton and the Desert Wolf talked to each other on two separate occasions about the Desert Wolf’s identity and about her daughter; Clarke told Kira to get in her car; and Kira told Scott that she was leaving).

In regards to the Bechdel test, “Ouroboros” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of occasions where named women talked to each other, there was never an instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men.

*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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