The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Twenty Again – Season 1, Episode 1

Twenty Again is a brand new K-drama that is a bit different from the standard, run-of-the-mill K-drama. For example, instead of focusing on the lives of 20 somethings, the show focuses on a 38 year old housewife who is in the midst of a secret divorce, whose son is entering college and who has been told that she only has six months to live. Obviously, this is the kind of K-drama that, while full of some ridiculous scenarios, actually has real drama and problems and it will be interesting to see what kind of direction that Twenty Again will go in.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 passed the Bechdel and race test but did not pass the Russo test.

No-Ra attends her first day of college.

There were four named women in episode 1 and there were several occasions where these named women talked to each other. Of the many occasions that these named women talked to each other, there was one instance where some of the named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., No-Ra talked to Woon-Hae, her grandmother, about moving to Seoul) so the episode passed the Bechdel test. Episode 1 also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the entire cast was Asian (which means that only non-White ever talked) and because the characters never mentioned White people (which means that every conversation that occurred passed the race test).

As to the Russo test, the first episode did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode (huge surprise there).

*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.