In the returning episode of How to Get Away with Murder, “We’re Good People Now,” the Keating 5 struggled to pretend to be alright and to lead ordinary, lawful lives as they began a new semester.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“We’re Good People Now” did not pass the Bechdel test but it did pass the Russo and race test.
There were several named women in “We’re Good People Now,” and while there were a couple of instances where some of these women talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. Why? Because whenever named women talked to each other, they inevitably mentioned men.
As to the Russo test, there were two LGBTI characters, Connor and Oliver, in “We’re Good People Now.” Because neither of these men were solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Connor was also defined as being a law student and Oliver was defined as a job seeker) and their removals from “We’re Good People Now” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Connor and Oliver’s removal from “We’re Good People Now” would have significantly affected the plot because “We’re Good People Now” was an ensemble episode and these two were part of the episode’s main ensemble and overarching storyline), “We’re Good People Now” met all of the Russo test’s requirements and thus passed this diversity test.
“We’re Good People Now” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this diversity test because there were many non-White individuals in “We’re Good People Now” and there were a couple of instances where some of the non-White individuals in the episode talked to each other without mentioning anyone White.
*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.