‘Rick and Morty’: What Is the Bechdel Test?

Adult Swim

During Season 4 Episode 6 of Rick and Morty, some time is spent on the concept of the “Bechdel Test.” You might be surprised to learn that this was portrayed mostly accurately. Here’s more information on what the Bechdel Test is.

The Bechdel Test is basically a rule to gauge the representation of women in films and fiction as created by Alison Bechdel in 1985. To pass the test, a film (or work of fiction) must meet three requirements, IndieWire reported. These are that the work must have at least two women in speaking roles, they must have names, and they must talk to each other about anything other than a man.

Even Bechdel herself once said that the test has its limits, IndieWire shared. She once said: “I’m not a stickler about the Test — if I were, I wouldn’t see many movies.”

The test is basically meant to look at women’s roles in film and reveal that even if they’re actively present in the movie, it doesn’t mean that they would pass a test that’s even as simple as the Bechdel Test. When Bechdel wrote the test into a cartoon in the 1980s, she was basically showing how you could set the bar really low and many works of fiction still wouldn’t pass. (Bechdel said that she actually took the “rule” from a friend, Liz Wallace.) As this episode of Rick and Morty pointed out, the Bechdel Test is an easy bar to pass and still have an episode of television focus almost entirely on men.

In 2017, The Verge wrote an article positing that a better test than The Bechdel Test could be created. FiveThirtyEight asked a group of women in 2017 what they would suggest as an alternative to the Test or the “next version” of the Test and they came up with 12 options.

The Bechdel Test is sometimes referenced in other TV shows. For example, the test was the subject of an episode of Jane the Virgin, where Jane was writing a romantic fiction work and her advisor asked her to make sure her book could pass the Bechdel Test. This caused the show’s narrator to question whether even the show itself could pass the Bechdel Test.

While Rick and Morty referenced the test mostly in jest, it was still the first time many viewers had heard of it, so the term had a big surge in searches on Google.

Google Trends

Still, it was just a minor focus of the episode, resulting in one really funny scene involving Summer and her mom as they faced a group of female scorpions.

Here’s what we know so far about the rest of the episodes of Rick and Morty this season. There will be four more episodes, with the finale airing on May 31. Here are the titles and descriptions, though not necessarily in the right order.

  • Promortyus – Get off my face broh
  • Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri – Parenting is crazy broth. Stuff straight disappearing in this one. (This was referred to as being Season 4 Part 2, which doesn’t make a lot of sense given the episode numbers.)
  • Childrick of Mort – Miracle of life broth. Whole family in this one broh.
  • The vat of acid episode – The one with the acid vat, broth.

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