The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “Third Wheels” – Season 3, Episode 5

On Faking It, “Third Wheels,” Amy and Karma became friends once again; Liam and Shane were mistaken as a couple by Liam’s rabbi; and Amy and Lauren plotted to hook their parents backup.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Amy, Lauren and Karma converge to discuss their parents.

“Third Wheels” did not pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no non-White individuals in “Third Wheels.” The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

“Third Wheels” passed the Bechdel test because there were a couple of instances where named women (of which there were a couple in the episode) talked to each other without mentioning men. The episode passed the Russo test (and easily so) because there were several LGBTI characters in the episode and most of these characters (if not all) were not solely defined as being LGBTI and their removals from “Third Wheels” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot.

*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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