The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” – Season 2, Episode 16

On the newest episode of iZombie, “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie,” Blaine was cured, but at the cost of his memory; Ravi discovered that Major was the Chaos Killer; and Liv helped solved the murder of a stripper, and in the process, she discovered that Drake was an undercover cop.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Peyton waits for Liv to have a vision.

Named women (of which there were several in “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie”) talked to each other many times in “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie,” and while men were usually mentioned in those instances, the episode nonetheless passed the Bechdel test and the episode passed this test because there were a few occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men.

As to the Russo test, there were no LGBTI characters in “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” so the episode did not pass this diversity test. “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” also failed to pass the race test, and in the case of this test, the episode did not pass it because while there were non-White individuals in “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” and there were a couple of instances 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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