The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Method Head” – Season 2, Episode 10

An actor from Liv’s favorite TV show was killed on iZombie, “Method Head,” and because of her knowledge about the show and set, Clive set aside his decision to keep their work lives separate and he asked for her assistance on the case.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Method Head” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Liv acts out a scene at the bequest of an actor.

Women rarely talked to each other in “Method Head,” and when they did speak to each other, they almost always mentioned men or one of the women didn’t have a name. However, because there was one instance in “Method Head” where two named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Dale told Liv not to let her scare her off), the episode passed the Bechdel test. As to the Russo and race test, “Method Head” did not pass either of these diversity tests.

“Method Head” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode did not pass the race test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Method Head” and there were some instances where some of the non-White individuals in the episode talked to each other, White people were always mentioned whenever two or more non-White individuals talked 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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