The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “The Whopper” – Season 2, Episode 13

Startling discoveries and events occurred on iZombie, “The Whopper.” To be more specific, on “The Whopper,” Liv realized that Drake worked for Boss; Blaine discovered that Major is The Chaos Killer and he offered him a deal; Ravi’s test subject New Hope died; and Liv, Major and Ravi recovered the last known batch of tainted Utopium.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Whopper” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

blaine-bags-a-major-izombie-s2e13
Blaine abducts Major; Liv questions Drake; and Ravi and Liv examine a murder victim.

Women talked to each other two times in “The Whopper” (e.g., Liv, Clive and Bozzio discussed the lottery and Liv questioned a named woman about her son), and while in both of these instances the women who talked to each other had names, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test because men were always either mentioned or participated in their conversations. “The Whopper” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.

“The Whopper” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. “The Whopper” did not pass the race test because while there were a couple of instances in the episode where the handful of non-White individuals in “The Whopper” talked to each other, White people were always referenced.

*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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