The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” – Season 2, Episode 14

On the newest episode of iZombie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind,” several important events occurred. Namely, it was revealed that Drake is an undercover operative that is working on behalf of the Seattle PD; Ravi’s new attempt at creating a zombie cure backfired, majorly; Liv learned that Major had had a love affair with her roommate, Gilda; and Mr. Boss realized that Blaine was leaking information about him (Mr. Boss) to the DA.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Ravi and Major witness the latest results of Ravi’s zombie cure.

There were several named women in “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind,” and because there were instances in the episode where some of these women not only talked to each other but they talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” did not, however, pass any other diversity test.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” did not pass the race test because while there a couple of non-White individuals in the episode and there were some instances where non-White individuals talked to one another, White people were always referenced whenever non-White individuals conversed with one another.

*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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