The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “The Revengers: Age of the Monocle” – Season 2, Episode 12

Faking It, “The Revengers: Age of the Monocle” was an episode that was all about revenge, and in the episode, Lauren sought revenge (with the help of Amy and Shane) against Theo by outing Theo as a narc; Karma sought revenge against Liam by having Reagan spike his drink; and Reagan sought revenge against her ex by having Karma give her ex non-vegan food.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Revengers: Age of the Monocle” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

Reagan runs into her ex.

“The Revengers: Age of the Monocle” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because of the multiple times that named women talked to each other there were four instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Amy and Reagan talked to each other about work; Amy, Reagan and Karma talked about Karma working as a caterer; Reagan gave Karma the lowdown on how to do her new job; and Karma offered Raegan’s ex some food). The episode also (obviously) passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there were four LGBTI characters in the episode who were not solely defined by their sexual orientation or intersex status and who were important to the plot of the episode. For example, Amy, Lauren, Reagan and Reagan’s ex (who are all LGBTI) were in the episode; Amy was a sister and a friend, Lauren was a scorned woman out for revenge, Reagan was a caterer and Reagan’s ex was a bartender; and Amy, Lauren, Reagan and Reagen’s ex were all important characters in this episode and none of them could have been taken out of “The Revengers: Age of the Monocle”  without causing the plot of the episode to completely change since this episode was all about Lauren, Amy and Reagan seeking revenge (and in the case of Reagan’s ex, she was important because she was the one that Reagan was seeking revenge against).*****

As to the race test, “The Revengers: Age of the Monocle” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because the two non-White actors in the episode (Yvette Monreal and Keith Powers) never talked to each other let alone talked to each other without mentioning White people.

*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.

*****While Shane was in the episode and he is gay and he was not solely defined by his sexual orientation (e.g., he was also a friend, a revenger and a plotter), he didn’t really add anything to the episode and he could have been taken out of the episode without causing too much of a change to occur to the plot of the episode so he did not pass the Russo test.

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