The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream Queens, “Dorkus” – Season 1, Episode 12

All kinds of shit went down on Scream Queens, “Dorkus,” and one of the biggest events that occurred in “Dorkus” was a confession from Pete to Grace that he was one of the Red Devil killers.

Pete explained to Grace how he first got involved with the twins, who he murdered and why he murdered, but before he could reveal the identity of Boone’s twin, he (Pete) was murdered by a Red Devil. Determined to find out the identity of the last Red Devil, Grace concocted a plan with her father and she had him sleep with Dean Munsch so that she (Grace) could gain access to Munsch’s student files.

The second big event that occurred in “Dorkus?” Chanel’s public image was ruined.

Chanel’s heinous, hate-filled email that she had sent out to the Chanels was leaked to the public on “Dorkus,” and because of her email, the world grew to loath Chanel. In an attempt to salvage her public image, Chanel went on an “apology tour,” but her tour, suffice to say, didn’t exactly go as planned.

And while all of this was going on (i.e., while Chanel conducted her apology tour and Grace snuck into Dean Munsch’s records), The Red Devil struck once again at Kappa House.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

hester-with-a-shoe-in-her-eye-on-the-fox-show-scream-queens
Hester finds herself the victim of The Red Devil.

Scream Queens, like usual, was full of named women and because named women talked to each other several times without mentioning men in “Dorkus,” the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Dorkus” did not, however, pass the Russo or race test.

“Dorkus” did not pass the Russo test because while there was one LGBTI character, Chanel #3, in the episode and she was not solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., she was also defined as being a sorority sister), her removal from the episode would not have significantly affected the episode.

As to why “Dorkus” did not pass the race test, this is because the handful of non-White individuals in the episode never spoke 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.

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