The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Madame Antoine – Season 1, Episode 2

Hye-Rim began working for Soo-Hyun on Madame Antoine, episode 2, and she quickly learned that her new job would not be an easy one. On her first day on the job, for example, Hye-Rim, met her first client, Ma-Ri, and when Soo-Hyun discussed Ma-Ri’s case with Hye-Rim and Ji-Ho, Hye-Rim couldn’t understand a word of the psychobabble that Soo-Hyun used to describe Ma-Ri’s case. Hye-Rim did her best to educate herself on psychology and how to best assist Ma-Ri, but Hye-Rim quickly realized that she might not be so qualified to treat clients seeking psychological treatment.

Soo-Hyun, in the meanwhile, secretly (yet not so secretly) inducted Hye-Rim as a participant in his research study. For him, using Hye-Rim as a participant was purely revenge and he just couldn’t wait to get one over Hye-Rim.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 2 did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Ma-Ri is attacked by anti-fans and placed under psychological distress due to a TV appearance with an idol.

Episode 2 did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 2. Episode 2 did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

Women talked to each other on several occasions in episode 2 and because there were two instances out of those many occasions where both of the women who talked to each other had names and they did not mention men while talking to each other (e.g., on two separate occasions, Hye-Rim talked to Yoo-Rim and she asked Yoo-Rim where she was going and she informed Yoo-Rim that she was going to do some acting), the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the race test, there were a few White individuals in the almost completely Asian cast of episode 2 and there were some instances where the cast talked about White people, but the episode passed the race test because there were, nonetheless, many instances where non-White individuals talked to each other and they did so without mentioning 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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