The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: W – Two Worlds – Season 1, Episode 16

W – Two Worlds came to an end tonight with episode 16. What happened? Chul-Ho shot Chul; Yeon-Joo was sent back to her world believing that Chul had died; Chul survived his gunshot wound and served a two year prison sentence; Sung-Moo forced Chul-Ho to commit suicide, and as a result of his actions, he (Sung-Moo) disappeared; and Chul and Yeon-Joo eventually reunited and lived happily ever after. The end , that’s a wrap, fin.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 16 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

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Chul asks Yeon-Joo how she wants W to end.

The cast of episode 16 was entirely Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned anyone White. There were thus many instances in episode 16 where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White individuals so the episode easily passed the race test. However, while episode 16 passed this one diversity test, it did not pass others like the Bechdel or Russo.

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Chul confronts Chul-Ho and tells him what’s up.

Three named women, Yeon-Joo, So-Hee and Soo-Sun, appeared in episode 16. There was one occasion where two of these women, Yeon-Joo and Soo-Sun, talked to each other (e.g., Yeon-Joo and Soo-sun talked about Sung-Moo), but because they mentioned a man in their conversation, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test.

As to why episode 16 did not pass the Russo test, there were no LGBTI characters in the episode.

*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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