The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Cheese in the Trap – Season 1, Episode 5

Seol and Jung had a fight on episode 5 of Cheese in the Trap, but when Bo-Ra’s dad was suddenly hospitalized, Seol and Jung came together for Bo-Ra and resolved their issues. However, Seol and Jung’s resolution didn’t last for very long for when Seol learned new information about Jung via Yoon-Seob, Seol and Jung wound up fighting all over again.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 5 passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.

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Seol and Jung talk over the phone.

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in episode 5, and because there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned when named women talked to each other (e.g., In-Ha told Seol to buy her food), the episode passed the Bechdel test. Episode 5 also passed the Russo and race test.

There were two LGBTI characters, Joo-Yong and Yoon-Seob, in episode 5, and they both passed the Russo test (and this thus enabled the episode to pass the Russo test). These two characters passed the Russo test because they were LGBTI and they were in episode 5; because they weren’t solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Joo-Yong was also defined as being a law student and Yoon-Seob was defined as being a teaching assistant); and because their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot of episode 5 as a good portion of the episode’s plot revolved around them and their involvement in Seol and Jung’s lives.

As to the race test, episode 5 passed this test because the entire cast was Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned White people.

*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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