The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

Bechdel Week: Tuesday

Tuesday is one of my more crowded television line-ups, so tonight includes analysis of Hart of Dixie, Ben and Kate, New Girl, Happy Endings, The New Normal, The Mindy Project, Parenthood, and Underemployed.

Reminder of the requirements for the Bechdel test. At some point in the episode, do two women have a conversation with each other about something other than a man?

HART OF DIXIE
“I Walk the Line”
Written by Donald Todd
Summary: Lemon gets creative as she tries to swing votes in the mayoral election, which polls paint as a very tight race between Lavon and Ruby.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? This pretty much fits the definition of a failing grade on the Bechdel test.

We do see women talk to each other in many scenes in the episode. At one point, Magnolia (Claudia Lee) tells Zoe (Rachel Bilson) that Zoe needs to figure out what is wrong with Brick (Tim Matheson). We see Lemon (Jaime King) and Annabeth (Kaitlyn Black) talk about whether Lavon (Cress Williams) likes Ruby (Golden Brooks). Later, Lemon and Annabeth talk about how Ruby needs to leave town because both of them like Lavon.

There is almost a scene that passes when Lemon and Annabeth are talking about how to get more votes for Lavon’s mayoral campaign. However, they are technically talking about a man’s political campaign and there is also a guy included in their conversation. Then, Zoe comes in and they just about get through a conversation without mentioning a guy, until Lemon notices Zoe is wearing Wade’s (Wilson Bethel) shirt and comments on that.

I had really high hopes for the scene in which Zoe teaches Magnolia to drive, but they made it about 30 seconds before Zoe connected Magnolia’s need to text and drive with a boy.

BEN AND KATE
“Career Day”
Written by Lorene Scafaria
Summary: Ben scrambles to find a job so he can participate in Maddie’s Career Day at school. Elsewhere, Kate is drawn to an attractive neighbor; and BJ deals with jealousy at work after she gets a raise.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Nope.

We see a couple brief conversations between Kate (Dakota Johnson) and BJ (Lucy Punch). However, they only talk about how long it has been since Kate has had sex and how BJ got a raise at work because she is having sex with her male boss.

There is almost a scene that passes between BJ and Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). They have a conversation about how BJ feels bad because a guy at work doesn’t like her. So, Maddie says she got a boy at school to stop being mean to her by threatening him. It had real potential, but ultimately failed.

NEW GIRL
“Menzies”
Written by Kim Rosenstock
Summary: Jess’ search for a new job gets intense. Meanwhile, her time of the month affects the guys; Schmidt starts a relationship with his boss; and Nick acquires insight from a silent source.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s positive.

We do see Jess (Zooey Deschanel) being interviewed for a job by another woman. However, a central point of Jess’ story in this episode is that she is on her period and it turns her into the stereotypical PMS-ridden emotional train wreck. So, when the woman interviewing Jess shows her a picture of her dog, Jess immediately bursts into tears and loses any semblance of normalcy.

HAPPY ENDINGS
“Boys II Menorah”
Written by Lon Zimmet & Dan Rubin
Summary: Max has become a hit on the Bar Mitzvah circuit as an energetic emcee and allows Brad to partner up with him, but not everything turns out kosher.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Nope.

We only see two women interact without any men present on a couple brief occasions. At one point, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) talk about how to keep the romance alive in their relationships. Then we see Penny (Casey Wilson) and Jane discuss why Penny is so attractive to teenage Jewish boys.

THE NEW NORMAL
“Unplugged”
Written by Aaron Lee
Summary: Technology gets the best of the gang, so they decide to unplug all electronic devices for one day. Elsewhere, Rocky teaches Jane how to use Twitter, but Jane then posts a very private video featuring Bryan.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Overwhelmingly so

Basically every interaction between Shania (Bebe Wood) and Goldie (Georgia King) passes the Bechdel test. In the opening scene, we see Goldie asking Shania about her day at school and then they have a dance party to try to wake themselves up. We also see Rocky (NeNe Leakes) and Jane (Ellen Barkin) having lunch together where they talk about racism, their life goals, and how to navigate the Internet.

It’s really refreshing to see that basically all of the scenes involving women in this episode do pass the Bechdel test.

THE MINDY PROJECT
“Danny Castellano Is My Gynecologist”
Written by Mindy Kaling
Summary: Mindy asks Danny to be her new gynecologist, though neither one of them can admit their unwillingness to go through with an exam. Meanwhile, Jeremy has to retrieve something from Mindy’s apartment, but needs Morgan and Betsy’s help to break in to get it.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Technically yes.

Since Mindy (Mindy Kaling) plays a gynecologist, we see her having a conversation with her patient about the sex of the patient’s baby. We also see Mindy having a conversation with Betsy (Zoe Jarman) about scheduling a gynecological appointment. These two instances constitute about thirty seconds of screen time, but they technically fulfill the requirements for the Bechdel test.

I was super hopeful during a conversation between Gwen (Anna Camp) and Mindy. They started by talking about when it’s too late to have children, how awesome Tina Fey is, and why we should stop referring to crushes on other women as “girl crushes.” Then they started talking about guys, so there went that.

PARENTHOOD
“Together”
Written by Eric Guggenheim
Summary: Camille and Crosby help Kristina and Adam find balance while Kristina undergoes treatment; Sarah and Zeek worry about Amber’s relationship with Ryan; Julia continues making efforts to connect with Victor; and Drew reaches out to Amy.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have a conversation about Kristina’s cancer and her upcoming chemotherapy. There are multiple scenes like this with Camille helping to take care of Kristina. There is also a really heartfelt scene between Camille and Kristina about Kristina’s relationship with her mother. At the end of the episode, there’s an even more heartfelt scene between them about their relationship and how much Camille loves Kristina.

UNDEREMPLOYED
“The Trivial Pursuit”
Written by Taii Austin
Summary: Lou and Raviva are given the go-ahead for post-baby intercourse; the gang competes in a trivia night; Miles and Daphne fend off drunken advances; Sophia tries for a promotion.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Sophia (Michelle Ang) and Daphne (Sarah Habel) have a conversation about Sophia’s request for a promotion at work and if it will allow her more time to write her novel. Shortly thereafter, Sophia has a conversation with her boss about why she deserves the promotion and how the brand of the donut store comes across, as well as the value of a vintage Destiny’s Child t-shirt. Basically, every scene with Sophia and her manager passed the Bechdel test.

So, we end the night with three of the eight shows passing with flying colors. Two of the shows barely pass and three of them fail horribly. Overall, not a great night for my shows.

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