The Bechdel, Russo and Race Test: Faking It, “School’s Out” – Season 2, Episode 20

Principal Turner was on a rampage on the finale of Faking It, “School’s Out,” and he was determined to close Hester High. In an effort to stop him from closing down the high school, the students of Hester High banded together and attempted to sway the school’s board members in their favor. However, not all of the students were all that concerned about the potential closing of their school. Namely, Amy was too busy to care about fighting for her high school as she was trying to figure out what in the world was going on with her and Karma and what she should do about them.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“School’s Out” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

Karma tries to stop Amy from leaving Texas.

“School’s Out” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because of the several times that named women talked to each other, there were three occasions where men weren’t mentioned – e.g., Amy greeted both Reagan and Regan’s new girlfriend Heather, Amy talked to Regan about Karma and Karma talked to Amy’s mom about Amy. “School’s Out” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because three of the five LGBTI characters that were in the episode met all of the requirements of the Russo test.

The three LGBTI characters that passed the Russo test were Amy, Lauren and Shane, and they all passed the Russo test because they are LGBTI and they were in “School’s Out”; because they weren’t solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy, Lauren and Shane were also defined as being high school students); and because their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as they are all main cast members and they all played important parts in “School’s Out.” The other two LGBTI characters in “School’s Out,” Reagan and Heather, did not pass the Russo test because while it can be argued that their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot, they were both solely defined by their sexual orientation.

As to the race test, there were a couple of non-White individuals in “School’s Out,” but because none of the non-White individuals in the episode ever talked to each other, the episode did not pass the race 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.

Advertisements