The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Cape Town” – Season 2, Episode 9

iZombie -- "Cape Town" -- Image Number: ZMB209a_0082.jpg -- Pictured: Rose McIver as Liv -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

On iZombie, “Cape Town,” Liv ate the brains of a vigilante, and while “on” these brains, she turned a man into a zombie and she went after Mr. Boss and his secret shipment of guns.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Cape Town” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

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Clive and Liv run into Mr. Boss while investigating a new case.

Women talked to each other once in “Cape Town” (e.g., Mary told Liv that she had saved her), and while the women who talked to each other had names, they mentioned men in their conversations so the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. “Cape Town” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.

In the case of the Russo test, “Cape Town” did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. For the race test, “Cape Town” did not pass this test because while there were a couple of instances where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always 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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