Archive for the ‘the amazing race’ Tag

Minority Report Card: Last Man Standing, Malibu Country.   Leave a comment

“You want to pick on immigrants? Then pick on Willie!”-Groundskeeper Willie

“Willie, please, the children want to pick on someone their own size.”-Principal Skinner

For every major network premiere this season I will be looking at whether it passes the Bechdel test, a test that asks whether the premiere has two female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. I will also see whether it passes the same test modified to apply to people of color (the “Troy and Abed test”) and then modified to apply to queer people (the “Will and Jack test”). This week we had the very last trickle of network premieres, with Last Man Standing and Malibu Country.

Last Man Standing (ABC)

Tim Allen’s sitcom returns for a second season.

Bechdel: Pass

Troy and Abed: Fail

Will and Jack: Fail

Notes: What’s interesting about this show is that the main premise and protagonist have scared off a lot of people who would probably actually enjoy it. The title and the fact that Tim Allen is the star suggest the story of a man trying to deal with a woman’s world and his values being questioned– an icky premise for people in search of progressive shows. However, the female characters are far from being the embodiment of ideas for Tim Allen to refute with old-fashioned morals. Instead they are fleshed out, intelligent, independent human beings who it’s easy to sympathize with. To give you an idea of how far this show is from being the outdated man’s man sitcom it appears to be from the ad campaign, the opening scene is the four female characters all discussing politics. As someone who’s been monitoring how often female characters are allowed to talk, on their own, about things other than boys, this scene was music to my ears. While the development, intelligence and prominence of the four female characters is very surprising and refreshing, the show is pretty lacking in representation of queer people and people of color. Hector Elizondo’s Ed isn’t given much to do besides be a sounding board for the Tim Allen character. A lesbian character was featured in an episode last season, but even though she was established as a neighbor and became friends with the protagonist, it seemed clear she was a one-off character. While more progressive than you might expect, this show still lacks the diversity of most other ABC sitcoms.

Malibu Country (ABC)

Reba McEntire’s new sitcom centers on a recently divorced mother who moves from Nashville to Malibu.

Bechdel: Pass

Troy and Abed: Fail

Will and Jack: Fail

Notes: Jai Rodriguez provides the only non-white character, in a role that seems very one-dimensional. His character is most likely gay, since this does not seem like the kind of show that would give a character stereotypically flamboyant mannerisms and then make him anything other than homosexual. There’s another male character I’m somewhat intrigued by who claims to be gay, but is later revealed to regularly kiss girls. This doesn’t seem like the kind of show that would handle bisexuality or pansexuality well, but I might keep tuning in to find out where they’re going with this kid.

Well, premiere season is over! Here is a list of the premieres that passed every test:

 

Glee (Fox)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Modern Family (ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

The Amazing Race (ABC)

The Good Wife (CBS)

Congratulations to ABC for being the clear winner here.

With premiere season over, my monitoring schedule will be much less clear cut. I’ll continue tracking American Dad! until it manages to pass one of the tests. Other than that, I’ll be watching whatever grabs my interest or seems popular enough to warrant taking a look at. If there’s a show you’d like me to look at, I’m completely open to suggestions (keeping in mind that I don’t have premium channels).

Minority Report Card: Supernatural, Once Upon a Time and More.   Leave a comment

“Pita? Well, I don’t know about food from the Middle East. Isn’t that whole area a little iffy?”-Helen Lovejoy

“Hey, I’m no geographer. You and I, why don’t we call it ‘pocket bread’, huh?”-Fleeta-a-Pita Saleswoman

For every major network premiere this season I will be looking at whether it passes the Bechdel test, a test that asks whether the premiere has two female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. I will also see whether it passes the same test modified to apply to people of color (the “Troy and Abed test”) and then modified to apply to queer people (the “Will and Jack test”).

Not only am I watching every premiere, but when a premiere fails every test, I’ll continue to watch it until it passes at least one of them. Here are the results for episode two of each of the shows whose premieres failed every test:

Vegas (CBS)

Bechdel test: Fail

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: Yup, I’m stuck watching this show for another week.

Elementary (CBS)

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: I’m glad this show passed the first two tests in its second episode because failing at them when you have the most famous Asian woman in America as one of your leads is pretty embarrassing. Hopefully they’ll get some queer representation in there at some point.

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: This episode managed to pass thanks to a scene where Waldon’s ex-girlfriend talks to her daughter.

Person of Interest (CBS)

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: Amy Acker makes one badass villain and, while she’s clearly third banana, Taraji P. Henson’s character still has a pretty good part.

Last Resort (ABC)

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: Last week I mentioned that it’s surprising that this show’s first episode failed every test since it has some very prominent women and people of color. So, it makes sense that the second episode passed the first two tests easily. They just gotta get more queer characters up in here.

CSI: NY (CBS)

Bechdel test: Fail

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: I hope this show’s representation gets better so that I can stop watching it every week.

Now that those shows are out of the way, let’s move on to this week’s premieres!

The Simpsons (Fox)

The least favorite show of this blog’s founder is back for yet another season!

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: The abysmal representation on this show is made worse by the fact that most of the prominent people of color are voiced by Hank Azaria.

Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

This animated family sitcom is back for a third season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: I wish this show had better representation of people of color and queer people because it has fantastic female characters, does a great job portraying a working class family living within their means and is generally awesome.

Family Guy (Fox)

Seth MacFarlane’s first show returns for another season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: Jokes where the punch line is “look how sexist we can be” or “look how racist we can be” are to be expected.

American Dad! (Fox)

Seth Macarlane’s second show returns for another season.

Bechdel test: Fail

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: It’s unfortunate that possibly the most prominent male bisexual character on television is a cartoon alien, but at least they don’t shy away from sexualizing him and giving him romantic plot lines, rather than making his bisexuality solely a throwaway joke. Since the premiere failed all three tests, I’ll be watching it again next week.

666 Park Avenue (ABC)

This show has John Locke playing the devil.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: It’s cool that this show features a prominent woman of color over 40. Hopefully they’ll add some queer characters soon.

Revenge (ABC)

This popular guilty pleasure returns for a second season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: This show has a prominent male bisexual who isn’t a cartoon alien, so that’s nice.

The Amazing Race (CBS)

This popular reality show returns for yet another season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Pass

Notes: The premiere easily passed every test before the first commercial break.

Once Upon a Time (ABC)

This show about fairy tale characters in a modern setting returns for a second season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: This has been complained about on a lot of other sites, but I’ll just point out that they decided to make Mulan in love with Lancealot instead of a Chinese man.

The Good Wife (CBS)

This legal procedural crossed with a family drama returns.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Pass

Notes: I’m not 100% sure that the woman Kalinda talked to is also gay, but it definitely seemed like that was what we were supposed to gather from their conversation.

Supernatural (The CW)

This fantasy show returns for an eighth season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: This has never been a progressive show, so I was pleasantly surprised when it passed the first two tests. Adding Kevin Tran as a prominent character was definitely a good choice. I feel weird saying it failed the third test since this is subtextually the gayest show on television and the jury is out on most of the male characters, but I have to go ahead and only count overtly queer characters for these purposes.

30 Rock (NBC)

Tina Fey’s series returns for its final season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: There’s a lot of discussion of whether this show is actually good for women, minorities and the queer community. A quick Google search for “30 Rock representation” comes up with articles from Genders.org, Huffington Post, Out Magazine and Fringe Magazine on the first page and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Personally, I think it started off strong and then turned into a show about how rich white people are awesome, but obviously there’s a wide array of different opinions out there.

The Mentalist (CBS)

Detective procedural!

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: They just need some queer characters.

Hart of Dixie (The CW)

This show about a pretty young doctor in a small southern town returns for its second season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: This is an excellent show for women and has fairly good representation of African Americans (though I didn’t notice any people from other racial minorities). A queer character would be nice.

Raising Hope (Fox)

This family sitcom returns for a third season.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: The scene in the premiere that focused on the three female characters was a fantastic example of women being hilarious and frankly discussing sex and relationships. This show also does a good job portraying a working class family. I wish they had more prominent people of color– I suggest making Virginia’s Latina coworkers a bigger part of the show. Last season had a fantastic episode about a trans woman (“The Men of New Natesville”).