The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Oh My Ghostess – Season 1, Episode 16

The finale of Oh My Ghostess was relatively sedate as it tied up any and all of its loose ends. In the episode, Soon-Ae’s father experienced health problems but he rallied back and recovered his health; Soon-Ae bid her farewells and went on into the afterlife; Bong-Sun entered a cooking competition and went overseas for culinary training; the shaman experienced immense success and became a famous spiritualist; Sung-Jae survived his jump but had amnesia; and Sun-Woo opened a new restaurant and Gyeong-Mo worked for him as a trainee.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 16 passed the Bechdel and race test but did not pass the Russo test.

Soon-Ae tells her father that it’s not his time to die and that he must go back and live.

Named women talked to each other several times in episode 16 and there were three occasions where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Soon-Ae and the shaman said goodbye to each other, the shaman and Professor Lee made plans to drink together and Professor Lee asked her daughter if she wanted some company) so the episode passed the Bechdel test. Episode 16 also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the entire cast was Asian (so only non-White actors ever talked) and White people were never mentioned by any of the characters (so every conversation that occurred in the episode passed the race test).

In a not so surprising twist, the finale did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 16 (nor were there ever any LGBTI characters in the series).

*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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