The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “A Walk On the Wild Side” – Season 3, Episode 4

Marcel and Elijah were both invited to attend a ball hosted by The Strix on The Originals, “A Walk On the Wild Side,” and for Marcel, things quickly took a dire turn as his daylight ring was stolen at the party and he was forced to not only discover who stole his ring, but to steal it back.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“A Walk On the Wild Side” passed the race test but did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

Elijah and Hayley arrive at the ball.

In “A Walk On the Wild Side,” there were a couple of non-White individuals who occasionally spoke to each other. White people were almost always (directly or indirectly) referenced when White individuals spoke to each other, but because there was a single instance where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people (e.g., Aya introduced Marcel to Mohinder), the episode passed the race test. As to the Bechdel and Russo test, “A Walk On the Wild Side” did not pass either of these tests.

“A Walk On the Wild Side” did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test tests because the one time that named women talked to each other, men were mentioned (e.g., Freya and Alexis talked to each other about the Mikaelsons and Klaus) and because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode.

*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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