succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A little experiment

I watch waaaay to much television. Nevertheless, here's a little test of how my regular shows stack up on the Bechdel Test.

Brothers and Sisters - Pass. Despite its soapy story telling, with nearly 50% of the cast female, they frequently discuss topics other than men (examples include careers, money, and kids, though I suppose this last could technically also include discussing men).

House - mostly fail. Occasionally two of the three female characters will discuss a case, but they so rarely speak to each other that this one has to fall in the fail category.
The Closer - ditto.
Trust Me - ditto.

Fringe - mostly fail. Again, occasionally the two female characters will speak to each other, and then, almost always, it's about a case (and even better, often about cool computer or math geekery), but nevertheless, the two rarely speak, and it's only the two of them! Ok, there's also the creepy woman from Massive Dynamics, but she hardly even qualifies as a series regular.
Leverage - Pass. There are still only two main females, but they often discuss the case and/or acting (and never men).

Lost - Mostly fail. A predominantly male show, the ensemble cast still includes quite a few powerful women but when they speak to each other the topic is still most often men.
Life - Fail. Only one interesting female character, and she is rarely if ever given the opportunity to speak to another female character.
Damages - Pass. The two most interesting leads are females and they frequently speak to each other about a variety of topics. Granted, they are also frequently out to get one another, but still, conversation often centers around non-male subjects.

Bones - Pass. The cast is about 50% female with many opportunities for women to speak to other women about cool science topics.
Grey's Anatomy - Equal parts pass and fail. The predominantly female cast does have many opportunities to discuss medical cases with each other, but they spend nearly the same amount of time agonizing over men.
Burn Notice - Fail. Only two interesting, strong female characters (though there has been the addition of the occasional third) and they only ever speak to each other about men.

Flashpoint - Fail. Only one main female character.
Numb3rs - Pass. Despite a predominantly male cast, the three primary females often discuss cases and careers with each other.
Psych - equal parts pass and fail. Really only one main female character, but the chief of police is female as well, and occasionally she and the female detective discuss cases (and they never discuss men, which is nice).

Recent movies
Milk - Fail. Only one female character.
Frost/Nixon - Fail. Token female.
Rendition - Fail. Strong female characters, but rarely spoke to each other. Also, plot of movie revolves around husband, hence conversations center around him.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Fail. Two female leads, but entire plot revolves around relationship with men.


Blogger Sudhir said...

Not bona fide on Lost. When do you ever see Sun and Kate gabbing about men?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

True, but how often do Sun and Kate talk to each other? Sure, there's that recent episode back in LA, but as a percentage of conversations on that show, any Sun-Kate dialogue barely counts.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Sudhir said...

Okay, but you said that the female-female conversations on the show are mostly about men? Who is that true of? Kate and Juliet? Perhaps somewhat, but that's pretty justified since they aren't just chit chatting about boys but in a tug of war over the same man. And the same situation exists on the male side for Sawyer and Jack.

I could talk about Lost all day.

4:55 PM  

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