On the newest episode of Faking It, “Saturday Fight Live,” total drama went down. Namely, Lauren and Amy found out that one of their parents was cheating on the other, Karma broke up with Liam, and Shane accidentally told Duke that he was the one who outed him.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Saturday Fight Live” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.
There were several named women in “Saturday Fight Live” who talked to each other 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. “Saturday Fight Live” also easily passed the Russo test as there were four LGBTI characters (Amy, Lauren, Shane and Duke) in the episode who met all of the requirements of the Russo test. For example, Amy, Lauren, Shane and Duke weren’t solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy and Lauren were also sisters, Shane was a high schooler and Duke was an athlete); and none of them could have been taken out of the episode without completely changing the plot of “Saturday Fight Live” as the entire episode was about these four characters.
As to race test, “Saturday Fight Live” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White people in the episode who spoke, they never talked to each other.
*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.