The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Come Back, Mister – Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of Come Back, Mister, two very different men died. Death, however, wasn’t the end for these particular two. Instead, it was only the mark of a new beginning as they were both determined to return to the living world so that they could right their, and others’, wrongs.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

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Gi-Tak and Young-Soo die and they return to the living world in the bodies of Hae-Joon and Hong-Nan.

Episode 1 passed the race test, and the episode easily passed this test because the entire cast was Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned White people so there were countless instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people. As to the Bechdel and Russo test, episode 1 did not pass either of these diversity tests.

Episode 1 did not pass the Bechdel test because while there were two or so named women in episode 1, none of these named women ever talked to each other. The episode did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 1.

*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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