The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream Queens, “Pumpkin Patch” – Season 1, Episode 5

SCREAM QUEENS: Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 in the "Pumpkin Patch" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 13 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patti Perret/FOX.

On the newest episode of Scream Queens, “Pumpkin Patch,” Dean Munsch placed a curfew on Halloween night; Chanel was arrested; Grace and Pete searched for Zayday; and plans for a pumpkin patch party were executed.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Pumpkin Patch” passed the Bechdel and race test but did not pass the Russo test.

The Kappa sisters look on as Chanel is arrested.

There were many named women in “Pumpkin Patch” who talked to each other and because there were several instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Pumpkin Patch” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the one time that non-White people did talk to each other, White people were not mentioned (e.g., Sam exclaimed to Zayday that she was still alive).

In regards to the Russo test, there was one LGBTI character, Sam, in “Pumpkin Patch.”

​Sam wasn’t solely defined by her sexual orientation in “Pumpkin Patch” (e.g., she was also defined as being a sorority sister), but because she didn’t do much in the episode (e.g., she only spoke three times and she was mostly just a backdrop character), her removal from the episode would not have affected the plot so the episode did not pass the Russo test.

*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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