The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Remember – Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of Remember, a K-drama about a young man whose father is falsely accused of rape and murder, a young woman is murdered and her neighbor Jae-Hyuk, who has a failing memory, is arrested and convicted for the crime. Years later, Jae-Hyuk’s son Jin-Woo becomes his (Jae-Hyuk’s) lawyer and Jin-Woo does his best to prepare to appeal his father’s case.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

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Jin-Woo doesn’t understand how his father could have been arrested for rape and murder.

The entire cast of episode 1 of Remember was Asian and White people were never mentioned by any of the characters, so consequently, every conversation that occurred in episode 1 passed the race test. However, while episode 1 passed the race test, it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

Women talked to each other a couple of times in episode 1, but because there was never even an instance where two or more named women talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. The episode did not pass the Russo test because there were no known LGBTI characters in episode 1.

*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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