The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Faking It, “Up in Flames” – Season 3, Episode 10

On the finale of Faking It, “Up in Flames,” New Year’s day arrived and Amy was determined to get over Sabrina and move on with Felix. This, however, proved to be not so easy as while Amy kept insisting that she was over Sabrina, she wasn’t and Karma felt that it was not fair for Amy to use Felix to get over Sabrina. When all three of these individuals (i.e., Amy, Karma and Felix) thus attended a New Year’s party together, all kinds of antics, for better or worse, ensued.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Up in Flames” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Karma tries to talk to Amy at a New Year’s party.

“Up in Flames” did not pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Up in Flames,” there was never an instance where two or more non-White individuals talked to each other.

As to the Bechdel test, there were several named women in “Up in Flames” and because there were instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test.

“Up in Flames” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there were many LGBTI characters in “Up in Flames” and out of those characters, at least five of them (e.g., Amy, Sabrina, Lauren, Shane and Noah) were not solely defined as being LGBTI (e.g., Amy, Sabrina, Lauren, Shane and Noah were also defined as being students) and their removals from  “Up in Flames” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Amy, Lauren, Sabrina, Shane and Noah’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because “Up in Flames” was an ensemble episode and Amy and co. were all 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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