The very final finale of Awkward., “Happy Campers, Happier Trails,” aired last night, and in the finale Jenna was faced with a dilemma. Her dilemma? Either transfer to a program that she had thought she had always wanted to be in or remain in her current program where she had finally found a place that she fit in.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Happy Campers, Happier Trails” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but it did not pass the race test.
There were many named women in “Happy Campers, Happier Trails” and because there were a couple of instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Happy Campers, Happier Trails” also passed the Russo test.
“Happy Campers, Happier Trails” passed the Russo test because there was one LGBTI character in the episode, Tamara, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., Tamara was also defined as being a student) and her removal from “Happy Campers, Happier Trails” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Tamara’s removal would have affected the episode because “Happy Campers, Happier Trails” was an ensemble episode and Tamara was part of the main ensemble).
As to the race test, there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Happy Campers, Happier Trails” but the episode did not pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this diversity test because there was never an instance where two or more non-White individuals talked to each other let alone talked to each other without mentioning White people.
*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.