The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Awkward., “WTF Happened Last Year?” – Season 5, Episode 15

On Awkward., “WTF Happened Last Year?,” the reason behind Jenna and Matty’s breakup and Jake, Tamara, Sadie and Lissa’s current situations were revealed.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“WTF Happened Last Year?” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Lissa informs her mother that she has dropped out of college.

There were a couple of non-White individuals in “WTF Happened Last Year?,” but the episode, nonetheless, did not pass the race test, and “WTF Happened Last Year?” did not pass this test because non-White individuals never talked to each other let alone talked to each other without mentioning White people.

As to the Bechdel test, “WTF Happened Last Year?” did pass this diversity test, and the episode passed this test because there were a couple of instances where some of the several named women who were in the episode talked to each other without mentioning men.

“WTF Happened Last Year?” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there was one LGBTI character in “WTF Happened Last Year?,” Tamara, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a student) and her removal from the episode would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Tamara’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because “WTF Happened Last Year?” was an ensemble episode and Tamara was part of the ensemble).

*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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