The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Awkward., “The Friend Connection” – Season 5, Episode 15

On Awkward., “The Friend Connection” Jenna spiraled out of control, overanalyzing her non-relationship with Luke; Matty encountered various problems due to his girlfriend’s actions; and Tamara threw a huge birthday bash for Sadie.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Friend Connection” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Sully ruins Sadie’s birthday party.

A couple of non-White individuals were in “The Friend Connection,” but the episode did not pass the race test, and “The Friend Connection” did not pass this test because the non-White individuals that were in the episode never talked to each other. As to the Bechdel and Russo test, “The Friend Connection” did pass these diversity tests.

There were many named women in “The Friend Connection,” and the episode passed the Bechdel test because there were a couple of instances where some of the named women that were in the episode talked to each other without mentioning men. “The Friend Connection” passed the Russo test because there was one LGBTI character in the episode, Tamara, and this character was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a friend) and her removal from “The Friend Connection” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Tamara’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because most of the episode revolved around how she was throwing a part for Sadie).

*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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