A Bech-delicate Balance

Feb 17, 2017
Originally published on March 6, 2017 12:00 pm

How does a movie fulfil the Bechdel Test? If it has two women that have a conversation with each other about something other than a man – it passes! In this game, contestants guess the names of the surprising bro-y films that happen to pass the test.

Heard on Roy Wood Jr.: Puzzle Banger After Banger

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

We have a game about that rare film genre - movies where two female characters don't talk about a man.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Whoo.

EISENBERG: This is a trivia game called A Bech-delicate (ph) Balance. Puzzle guru Art Chung, can you please mansplain (ph) to us what the Bechdel Test is?

ART CHUNG: I'm going to give it a shot. The Bechdel Test was developed by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, and it's a measure of how female characters are represented in media. To pass, a movie must include at least two women who have at least one conversation with each other about something other than a man.

EISENBERG: Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Almost half of all movies can't pass this very, very basic test. But we actually found some surprising examples of bro-y (ph) films that do. So I'm going to describe a scene from a film that allows it to pass the Bechdel Test and you are going to buzz in and identify the film. Here we go. Holly encourages her pregnant secretary Ginny to have a drink at the Nakatomi Plaza Christmas party. Oh, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: How about this clue? Watch out for that handsy Hans Gruber.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Logan.

LOGAN STAFMAN: "Die Hard."

EISENBERG: Yes, "Die Hard."

JULIAN VELARD: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Here's your next one. High on cocaine one evening, Roller Girl asks Amber Waves to adopt her and be her mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Janet.

JANET WONG: It's the movie with Heather Graham.

EISENBERG: Yeah, keep going.

WONG: And she's on roller skates because...

EISENBERG: Right.

WONG: ...She is Roller Girl.

EISENBERG: You're correct.

WONG: And I think it's "Boogie Nights."

EISENBERG: It is "Boogie Nights."

VELARD: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Well done. Yeah, a bunch of cocaine made a movie and...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...It's called "Boogie Nights." Flight attendants Claire and Grace chat about how they're going to miss each other since this is Claire's last flight before she starts law school. And then a bunch of venomous reptiles are set loose. Turns out she's got her first case.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Logan.

STAFMAN: "Snakes On A Plane."

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: In this Wes Anderson film, Etheline talks to her adopted daughter Margot about quitting smoking but says nothing about Ben Stiller's tracksuit problem.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Janet.

WONG: "The Royal Tenenbaums."

EISENBERG: Yes, that is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Padme and Anakin's mother talk about slavery and pod racing.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Logan hit that buzzer aggressively.

(LAUGHTER)

STAFMAN: "Star Wars."

EISENBERG: Yeah. You're going to get more specific than that, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

STAFMAN: Do I have to?

EISENBERG: You'd better, yeah.

STAFMAN: All right, "Episode I."

EISENBERG: Anything else?

STAFMAN: Oh, that's...

EISENBERG: Nah, I'll give it to you. I was just...

STAFMAN: "A New Hope"?

EISENBERG: Yeah (unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED MEN: Oh.

STAFMAN: She already said she'd give it to me.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah.

CHUNG: Although, you know, knowing our audience that, like, requires minus two points for saying that.

EISENBERG: Yeah, I would.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It was "Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace."

STAFMAN: I'm a "Star Trek" guy.

EISENBERG: Oh, boy.

VELARD: He's getting worse.

EISENBERG: You still got it right. This is your last clue. Katie yells at her daughter Jeanie about getting arrested after she kicked the principal in the face on the same day her brother skipped school to take a joyride in a stolen Ferrari.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Janet.

WONG: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Great game. Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: We have a tie.

EISENBERG: What?

CHUNG: So let's go to a quick tiebreaker. The police chief's wife, Ellen, and a local motel owner discussed whether Ellen will ever be considered an islander instead of asking, how do I not get killed by the shark?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Janet.

WONG: "Jaws."

CHUNG: "Jaws" is correct. Well done.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: So, Janet, with that, we've tied it up and we're going to another quick game three. I'm going to give you a category and you go back and forth naming things that fall into that category. The first contestant to mess up will be eliminated. Buzz in to answer first. Here's your category. Name the eleven Broadway shows that have run for more than 5,000 consecutive performances.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Logan, you're first.

STAFMAN: "Cats."

CHUNG: "Cats" is correct, 7,485 performances. Janet.

WONG: "Chicago."

CHUNG: "Chicago," number two, over 8,300. Logan.

STAFMAN: "Phantom Of The Opera."

CHUNG: "Phantom Of The Opera" is number one, 12,000 performances. Janet.

WONG: "A Chorus Line."

CHUNG: That is correct, 6,000 and change. Logan.

STAFMAN: "The Lion King."

CHUNG: "Lion King," over 8,000. Six left. Janet.

WONG: "Wicked."

CHUNG: "Wicked," correct, 5,500. Logan. I'm going to have to give you three seconds.

STAFMAN: "42nd Street."

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

CHUNG: No, I'm sorry, "42nd Street" was not a correct answer. The remaining answers were "Beauty And The Beast," "Les Miserables," "Mama Mia," "Oh, Calcutta" and "Rent," so I'm sorry to say, Logan, we have to say goodbye to you. Janet, congratulations. You're moving on to the final round.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It's settled. Our finalists are Nathan and Janet. They'll face off in our final round at the end of the show. And if you love Quizzo, cheesesteaks and Betsy Ross, good news. We are coming to Philadelphia. On Friday, February 24, we'll be at the Keswick Theatre for a live taping of our show with special guest Amy Sedaris. Tickets and information at amatickets.org. Coming up, thanks to Roy Wood Jr., we finally have a puzzle on NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, and it's a jigsaw puzzle. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and you're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.