The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: American Horror Story: Hotel, “She Gets Revenge” – Season 5, Episode 10

On American Horror Story: Hotel, “She Gets Revenge,” Drake came back as a ghost and he thwarted the Countess’ plans; John broke up with Sally and he assisted Alex with her child problem; and Liz and Iris made a suicide pact.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“She Gets Revenge” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Sally threatens John.

“She Gets Revenge” did not pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because there was only one non-White individual (i.e., Ramona) in the episode. However, while “She Gets Revenge” did not pass the race test, it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

“She Gets Revenge” passed the Bechdel test because of the couple of times that named women talked to each other in the episode there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., Iris and Liz walked down one of the hotel’s corridors while discussing suicide). The episode passed the Russo test because there were three LGBTI characters in “She Gets Revenge,” Liz, the Countess and Drake, who were not solely defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (e.g., Liz was also defined as being a parent, the Countess was defined as being a wife and Drake was defined as being a ghost) and whose removal from the episode would have also significantly affected the plot of “She Gets Revenge” as their roles all tied into the main storylines in “She Gets Revenge.”*****

*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.

*****Ramona was also in the episode and while she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a vampire), her removal from the episode would not have significantly affected the plot of “She Gets Revenge” as she was only briefly in “She Gets Revenge” and her appearance could have been eradicated by a simple explanation (e.g., someone could have told someone else that Ramona killed all of the vampire children instead of having Ramona pop up for 30 seconds and say one line in “She Gets Revenge”).

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