The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham, “Pinewood” – Season 2, Episode 18

On Gotham, “Pinewood,” Bruce discovered a young woman that his father had protected and hidden away, and Barbara paid Gordon an unexpected visit.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Pinewood” passed the Russo test but it did not pass the Bechdel or race test.

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Gordon interrogates leads to The Lady.

“Pinewood” passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this diversity test because there were two LGBTI characters in “Pinewood,” Barbara and Tabitha, and one of these characters (Barbara) was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., Barbara was also defined by her criminal past) and her removal from “Pinewood” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Barbara’s removal would have affected the episdoe’s plot because she played a large part in the Pinewood” storyline).*****

As to the Bechdel test, while there were a couple of named women in “Pinewood” and there were instances some these named women talked to each other, “Pinewood” did not pass the Bechdel test and the episode did not pass this test because whenever named women talked to each other, they mentioned men. “Pinewood” 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 instances where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always mentioned when two or more 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.

*****”Pinewood” would not have passed the Russo test if Tabitha had been the only LGBTI character in the episode because while she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a friend), her removal from “Pinewood” would not have significantly affected the episode’s plot.

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