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

SCREAM QUEENS: L-R: Keke Palmer and Lucien Laviscount in the "Ghost Stories" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Nov. 17 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patti Perret/FOX.

Hester was determined to make Chad hers on Scream Queens, “Ghost Stories,” so she spun a little tale and told everyone that she was pregnant. Chanel, of course, freaked out when she learned of Hester’s pregnancy and she (Chanel) subsequently plotted on how to kill her.

Boone, in the meanwhile, was trying to woo Zayday and win her over, and this to say the least, was surprising since Boone was not only supposed to be dead but gay as well.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Ghost Stories” passed the Russo and race test but did not pass the Bechdel test.

Boone hits on Zayday.

“Ghost Stories” passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there was one LGBTI character, Chanel #3, in the episode and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a sorority sister) and her removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as she was one who told everyone about ghost Boone and this revelation is what instigated the ghost stories in “Ghost Stories.”

“Ghost Stories” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the one time that non-White individuals did talk to each other in the episode, White people were not mentioned (e.g., Earl and Zayday talked about flights and sex).

As to the Bechdel test, there were many instances in “Ghost Stories” where women talked to each other, but the episode didn’t pass the Bechdel test because whenever women talked to each other, a woman either didn’t have a name or men 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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