The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: iZombie, “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” – Season 2, Episode 17

On iZombie, “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be,” Liv helped Clive investigate the murder of a type A college student; Gilda was abducted and held captive by her father; and Blaine struggled with not knowing or recognizing anyone.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Blaine has a consult with Ravi about his memory loss.

Named women (of which there were a few in “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be”) talked to each other a couple of times in “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be,” and while men were usually mentioned in their conversations, the episode passed the Bechdel test because there was a time or two where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Liv and Peyton talked about Liv’s personality change).

“Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be.” “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were non-White individuals in the episode and there were a couple of instances where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always mentioned 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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