The Bechdel Test and Denise Richards

I loved Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It was one of the best books I read in 2007. So I was pleased to learn of the Bechdel Test, which can be applied to TV and movies:

To pass it your movie [or TV show] must have the following:

1) there are at least two named female characters, who

2) talk to each other about

3) something other than a man.

Few movies or TV shows pass it, said Jennifer Kesler.

I came across this test after spending a pleasant morning analyzing data while listening to the first six episodes of Denise Richards: It’s Complicated which I found on YouTube. (Such as part 1 of Episode 1.) The show consisted mainly of two named female characters — Denise and sister, Denise and friend, Denise and daughter — talking to each other about something other than a man.

I was surprised how much I liked it. When Denise and her dad (who lives with her) interview people to be her assistant, it was amusing (Denise has about 20 pets; one applicant said she didn’t like pets); when she gets mad at an entertainment journalist, it was forgivable; when she enters her nephew’s room to find him and his friends looking at a Playboy with her on the cover, it was unforgettable. The entertainment journalist wants to know why she is doing the reality show. “My [recently dead] mom wanted me to do it,” Denise says. The journalist can barely keep from laughing. “A deathbed wish?” she says. Denise got upset, so let me answer: The better you know almost anyone, the more you like them.

How to avoid demonization.

More. Gillian Flynn, one of Entertainment Weekly‘s TV reviewers, hated the show — gave it a D. Could reviewers be overly negative because they are forced to watch?

2 Replies to “The Bechdel Test and Denise Richards”

  1. oh that’s interesting. i do the same thing when i’m editing (which i don’t like doing)–i listen to shows or podcasts. i was doing some editing while basically listening to episodes of dexter yesterday and it makes the editing so much easier.

    i’ve wondered if politicians could benefit from having their own reality shows. john mccain seems to get a lot of his likability from making himself very available to journalists. what if he had a reality show while on campaign that ran regularly on his website. would that increase public liking of him? i suspect so, but i’d imagine it would have to be kind of a ‘warts and all’ kind of show, rather than some idealizing-the-person show. this i suspect would apply to lots of politicians, though perhaps some people are so unlikable that getting to know them makes you like them less–i imagine they are a minority though.

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