The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “Bizarro” – Season 1, Episode 12

A Supergirl doppelganger came after Kara on Supergirl, “Bizarro.”

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“Bizarro,” Kara’s doppelganger.

Kara did her best to subdue her doppelganger, but when her kind words and actions just didn’t cut it, the DEO stepped in and they took care of the doppelganger – i.e., they shot her up with a whole bunch of kryptonite. However, instead of crippling her as they expected, the kryptonite only made the doppelganger even stronger. Kara and the DEO thus suddenly found themselves facing an even more dangerous threat – an angry Supergirl on steroids.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Kara goes out on a date with Adam in her spare time.

Named women talked to each other several times in “Bizzaro,” and out of the many instances that named women talked with each other, there were a couple of occasions where men weren’t mentioned so the episode passed the Bechdel test. As to the other diversity tests, “Bizarro” failed to pass both the Russo and race test.

“Bizarro” 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 few non-White individuals in the episode (e.g., Hank and James), there was never an instance where anyone non-White 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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