Once Upon a Bechdel Test

16 Oct

Sometimes feminism amuses me. Don’t get me wrong- I’m ENTIRELY about fighting the man and breaking glass ceilings and stuff but sometimes it just gets silly. I recently just discovered a little thing called the Bechdel Test.

The “test” is simple: take a piece of media, such as a movie or television show, and in order for it to pass it must have the following three requirements:

1) It has to have two women characters in it.

2) Both of the women characters have to talk to each other.

3) And the women must talk about something besides a man.

 It sounds ridiculously easy to pass… but it’s hilariously not. Take for example, female-championing Joss Whedon and his recent foray into big action movies, The Avengers…. The answer is no; they had more than two female characters, but they never talked to each other. Sadface. And yet… how many times did Tony bro out with Bruce? (This isn’t to say Whedon can’t pass this test- I’m sure he did a billion times in Buffy…)

So the other day I was talking to my friend about our mutual guilty television obsession: Once Upon A Time. It’s pretty much a soap opera with fairy tales. It’s by no means good or amongst the ranks of Breaking Bad or Mad Men, but it’s wildly entertaining and one of the few shows I look forward to every week. That being said… I honestly wanted to see if this show, which is essentially made for women, is at all a champion of the Bechdel Test.

Lucky for you- season two just started!  There’s no way this can remain spoiler-free, but I’ll keep my descriptions brief. If you don’t want to be spoiled by anything… scroll to the bottom for the results of this little experiment…

Once Upon A Time: “We Are Both”

First Lady Scene: Red and Blue (lol) are talking about dispensing need and suddenly the C bomb is dropped (Prince Charming.) Somehow I think this will be a trend.

Scene: Evil Queenlet Regina and Old Evil Queen Mom Cora talk about getting married to Ol’ King Whatshisname.

Scene: Regina and Baby Snow White talk about Daniel (who?) and …. yeah. More boy talk.

Scene: Granny and Red talk about Granny’s crossbow because there isn’t a sheriff in town. Technically they don’t mention any men but… this “conversation” is only four words and a segway into another scene. I don’t think this counts as a conversation- but we’re close!

Scene: Queenlet Regina and Queen Mum Cora talk about the King being old and how Regina needs to be a gold digger. No points, but at least they’re showing gold digging as a bad trait. (Unlike last week’s episode where we featured Belle’s munchausen syndrome with Rumpelstiltskin as romantic intention, but I’ll leave that argument for later.)

Scene: Mulan have taken Snow and Emma prisoner and… they don’t mention Prince Charming! I think we have a winner! The scene progresses into town… no dialog really but this still counts! Finally in a prison there is the big reveal of another female character (See! Not spoiling kinda!) and…. I’m actually impressed. It took until the last freakin’ scene, but y’all did it!!

So did it pass? Well I’ll be damned. Yes. It took until the very last scene but yes- this episode did in fact pass the Bechdel Test. Well done, OUAT. But- not that I’m giving you an excuse- this episode was written by the legendary Jane Epenson, so really I gotta give this credit to her. On the other hand…. both scenes (let’s include the Granny/Red scene for shits and giggles) had sentences made of about less than four words. So when I say passing grade, it’s still like a C-. But hey, you can graduate with a C-!

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