The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream Queens, “Black Friday” – Season 1, Episode 10

SCREAM QUEENS: L-R: Jamie Lee Curtis, Skyler Samuels and Emma Roberts in the "Black Friday" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Dec. 1 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patti Perret/FOX.
Chanel was determined to accomplish two tasks on Scream Queens, “Black Friday” – shop on Black Friday and murder Dean Munsch – and she failed at both.

In the case of the Black Friday shopping, Chanel rounded up the other Chanels, and while they were shopping at the mall, the Red Devil confronted them and shot Chanel with an arrow. Chanel’s shopping expedition was thus a total failure, and when it came to Chanel’s attempts on Dean Munsch’s life, well, that didn’t go so great either. Case in point, Chanel, with the help of Grace, tried to poison Dean Munsch with pufferfish venom, but her attempt didn’t work so Chanel then tried to freeze Munsch in a cryo chamber, and when that also didn’t work, she (Chanel) tried to drown Munsch, but alas, that attempt was also unsuccessful. So the lesson of this week’s episode? Don’t mess with Dean Munsch. She’s a cockroach that cannot be killed. Also, murder is bad.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Black Friday” only passed one diversity test – the Bechdel test.

“Black Friday” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because there were several occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men. The episode did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because the one LGBTI character in the episode, Chanel #3, while not defined by her sexual orientation, did not impact the plot of “Black Friday.” That is, if Chanel #3 had been removed from the episode the plot would not have been significantly affected as while she had dialogue in the episode, she didn’t do anything especially noteworthy that impacted the plot.

As to the race test, there were several non-White individuals in “Black Friday,” but the episode did not pass the race test because none of the non-White individuals ever talked to 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.