The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “Ex-Posed” – Season 3, Episode 9

Amy and Sabrina began dating on Faking It, “Ex-Posed,” and everything was sunshine and unicorns. Until it wasn’t.

Unbeknownst to Amy, Sabrina had a long distance boyfriend and when he unexpectedly showed up to a party that she and Sabrina were attending, Amy was faced with a hard reality – that she had been betrayed by her friend/5-second girlfriend.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Ex-Posed” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

There were a couple of non-White individuals in “Ex-Posed,” but the episode did not pass the race test and “Ex-Posed” did not pass this test because none of the non-White individuals that were in the episode ever talked to each other. The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

“Ex-Posed” passed the Bechdel test because there were named women in the episode and there were a couple of instances where some of these named women not only talked to each other but they did so without mentioning men. The episode passed the Russo test because there were five LGBTI characters in “Ex-Posed,” Amy, Lauren, Shane, Sabrina and Noah, and none of them were solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy, Lauren, Shane, Sabrina and Noah were also defined as being students) and all of their removals from the episode would have significantly affected the plot (e.g., their removal would have significantly affected the plot because “Ex-Posed” was an ensemble episode and Amy, Lauren, Shane, Sabrina and Noah were part of the main 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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