In Awkward., “Jenna in Wonderland,” Jenna and Matty experienced a role reversal with Jenna becoming popular and Matty becoming unpopular, and the two both quickly realized that their new social castes weren’t everything that they had thought they would be. Namely, Jenna learned that what she had always conceptualized as being “popular” wasn’t really all that it was chalked up to be, and Matty realized that his drop in popularity wasn’t a complete loss as it forced him to branch out and make new friends and try new experiences.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Jenna in Wonderland” passed the Bechdel test, but it did not pass the Russo or race test.
Named women talked to each other many times in “Jenna in Wonderland” and there were several occasions where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men so the episode easily passed the Bechdel test. The same can’t be said of “Jenna in Wonderland” in regards to the Russo and race test as the episode failed to pass either of these diversity tests.
“Jenna in Wonderland” did not pass the Russo because while there was one LGBTI character in the episode (Tamara) who was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also a friend and a student), she was not important to the plot of episode and she could have easily have been removed from “Jenna in Wonderland” without causing too much of a change to occur to the plot of the episode. As to why the episode did not pass the race test, well, that was because there was only non-White actor in “Jenna in Wonderland.”
*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.