The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream Queens, “Mommie Dearest” – Season 1, Episode 8

SCREAM QUEENS: L-R: Jamie Lee Curtis and the Red Devils in the "Mommie Dearest" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Nov. 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patti Perret/FOX.

The Red Devils and (fake) Justice Scalia came after Dean Munsch on Scream Queens, “Mommie Dearest,” but Dean Munsch wasn’t having any of their shit and she kicked their asses (which was amazing). The Red Devils and Justice Scalia ended up running away from Dean Munsch that night, but Dean Munsch was the one who was ultimately defeated as she was forced to close down the university due to the killers’ constant killing sprees.

Grace, in the meanwhile, discovered that Gigi was the hag who had lived down the street and who had taken care of the bathtub baby, and she also discovered (courtesy of Chanel) that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Mommie Dearest” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

Jennifer meets a brutal (yet oddly befitting) end courtesy of The Red Devil.

“Mommie Dearest” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because there were several instances where named women talked to each other without mentioning men. The episode also passed the Russo test, and “Mommie Dearest” passed this test because Chanel #3, a LGBTI character, was in the episode; because Chanel #3 was not defined by her sexual orientation (instead, she was defined as being a sorority sister and as Chanel’s minion); and because Chanel’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as she was the one who motivated Denise to become more actively involved in pursuing Grace and Zayday as suspects and this resulted in Denise becoming House Mother.

In regards to the race test, “Mommie Dearest” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were two non-White individuals (Zayday and Denise) in the episode, they never actually had a conversation with each other.

*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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