The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” – Season 2, Episode 12

Liv was dragged into a bizarre triple homicide case on iZombie, “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie.”

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Three decapitated men are found on a beach.

Three men, for unknown reasons, had all been murdered, dragged onto a beach and decapitated on iZombie, “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie,” their heads nowhere to be found. When Liv was thus inevitably brought in to consult on this case, Liv had to sleuth the good ole’ fashioned way – through visionless conjecture.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

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Liv and Clive work on the triple homicide case and they gain some ground on the investigation.

Women talked to each other on two separate occasions in “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” (e.g., Liv and Peyton discussed crime suspects and Liv exclaimed her surprise to Gilda over her sudden appearance at home) and while the women in both of these instances had names, the episode failed to pass the Bechdel test because men were mentioned in both of these conversations. “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.

“Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode failed to pass the race test as well because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in the episode and there were some instances in “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always referenced whenever 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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