The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “Jagged Little Heart” – Season 3, Episode 4

Amy and Karma did their best to move on from each other on Faking It, “Jagged Little Heart.” Their strategies? Well, Karma participated in a song contest and Amy made a documentary.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Jagged Little Heart” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

fakingit4.5
Karma copes with her Amy-free life through song writing.

There were a couple of non-White individuals in “Jagged Little Heart,” but the episode, nonetheless, did not pass the race test and “Jagged Little Heart” did not pass this test because non-White individuals never talked to each other. As to the Bechdel and Russo test, “Jagged Little Heart” did pass these diversity tests.

Named women (of which there were several in “Jagged Little Heart”) talked to each other many times in “Jagged Little Heart,” and because there were many instances on those occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode easily passed the Bechdel test.

“Jagged Little Heart” passed the Russo test because there were several LGBTI characters in the episode and they met all of the Russo test’s requirements. Amy, Lauren and Shane, for example, were in the episode; they were not solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy and Shane were defined as being a friend and Lauren was defined as being a business woman); and their removal from “Jagged Little Heart” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot as the episode’s main plots revolved around them.

*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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