The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Zombie Bro” – Season 2, Episode 2

A frat boy was murdered on iZombie, “Zombie Bro,” and when Liv ate his brains, she experienced the unfortunate side effect of becoming a bro-dude and offending pretty much everyone she ran into except other bro-dudes.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Zombie Bro” passed the Bechdel test but did not pass the Russo or race test.

Major and Ravi do some “research” for the zombie cure by taking drugs.

There were a couple of named women in “Zombie Bro,” and while there were only a few instances where some of these named women talked to each other, the episode did pass the Bechdel test because there were two occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Gilda and Liv talked to each other on two separate occasions about Liv’s work). The episode did not, however, pass either the Russo or race test, and “Zombie Bro” did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode and because the one or two times that non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were mentioned.

*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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