The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Grumpy Old Liv” – Season 2, Episode 1

iZombie -- "Grumpy Old Liv" -- Image Number: ZMB201a_0134.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux, Rahul Kohil as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti and Rose McIver as Olivia "Liv" Moore -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

In the return episode of iZombie, “Grumpy Old Liv,” Liv investigated the death of a neighborhood scrooge; Blaine ran a funeral home (amongst other things); Evan refused to have anything to do with Liv; and Major was blackmailed into killing zombies for Vaughn.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Grumpy Old Liv” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

Blaine at his new funeral home.

“Grumpy Old Liv” didn’t pass any of the diversity tests, and the episode didn’t pass any of these tests because whenever named women talked to each other, men were mentioned; because there were no LGBTI characters in “Grumpy Old Liv”; and because whenever non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always directly or indirectly referenced.

*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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