The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Awkward., “Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Season 5, Episode 6

On Awkward., “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Jenna came to terms with the fact that she is and she has always been in love with Matty and Tamara drove to Adam’s base to apologize to him.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” passed the Bechdel but did not pass the Russo or race test.

There were several named women in “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and there were many times where these named women talked to each other. Of the many conversations that named women had with each other, there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., Tamara asked Gabby why she [Gabby] was in her car) so the episode passed the Bechdel test.

While “Don’t Dream It’s Over” passed the Bechdel test, it did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test despite the fact that Tamara (who is LGBTI) was in the episode and she was part of one the main storylines in “Don’t Dream It’s Over” because Tamara was solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., her entire storyline in the episode was about how she was going to get Adam back).

As to the race test, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” failed this test because while there were two non-White people in the episode and they talked to each other, they talked about White people in their conversation (e.g., Gabby talked to a Black soldier about Tamara and Adam).

*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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