The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “Karmygeddon” – Season 3, Episode 3

Amy betrayed Karma on Faking It, “Karmygeddon,” by releasing an embarrassing music video that Karma had made as a pre-teen. Karma’s response? Revenge via the public release of Amy’s private journal.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Karmygeddon” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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To make Karma’s day even worse, she discovers that her boyfriend has cheated on her.

There were several non-White individuals in “Karmygeddon,” but the episode, nonetheless, did not pass the race test, and “Karmygeddon” did not pass this diversity test because none of the non-White individuals that were in the episode ever talked to each other. “Karmygeddon” did, however, pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

There were several instances in “Karmygeddon” where named women (of which there were several in the episode) talked to each other and “Karmygeddon” passed the Bechdel test, because on some of those occasions, named women talked to each other without mentioning men.

“Karmygeddon” passed the Russo test because there were three LGBTI characters in the episode, Amy, Lauren and Shane, and all of these characters were not solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy and Shane were also defined as being a friend and Lauren was defined as being a sister) and their removals from “Karmygeddon” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., their removals from “Karmygeddon” would have significantly affected the episode because it was an ensemble episode and Amy, Lauren and Shane were 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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