The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham: Mad City, “Look Into My Eyes” – Season 3, Episode 3

Some new hypnotist dude arrived in Gotham on Gotham, “Look Into My Eyes.” The hypnotist’s first order of business upon arriving in Gotham? Hiring Gordon to find his (the hypnotist’s) missing and dangerous Indian Hill sister.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Look Into My Eyes” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

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Penguin breaks his friend Nygma out of Arkham.

There were named women, LGBTI characters and non-White individuals in “Look Into My Eyes,” yet the episode did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test. Why did the episode fail to pass all of these diversity tests? Because none of the named women in the episode ever talked to each other; because while the LGBTI characters that were in “Look Into My Eyes,” Barbara and Tabitha, were not solely defined by their sexual orientations (e.g., Barbara and Tabitha were also defined as being bar owners), their removals from “Look Into My Eyes” would not have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Barbara and Tabitha’s removal from “Look Into My Eyes” would not have affected the plot because they really had nothing to do with any of the various plotlines of “Look Into My Eyes”); and because none of the non-White individuals in the episode ever talked to each other.

*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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