Rayfield Williams Jr.
The Bechdel Test: Meet the Parents
In this paper, I will be watching Meet the Parents and using the Bechdel test to evaluate the women’s measurement to the plot and to assess the female presence in the film. In this romance comedy from director Jay Roach released in October 2000, “A young man’s first visit to his girlfriend’s parents’ house turns out to be more nightmarish than he could ever have imagined. Hoping to use the weekend as the chance to propose to his girlfriend, he only succeeds in incurring the wrath of his prospective father-in-law and almost destroys their home in the process.” (IDMB)
After many minutes of scrolling up, down, to the right, and to the left of the Netflix screen I decided to watch Meet the Parents. I added Meet the Parents to my watch list about a month ago and I did that purely for the nostalgia of the movie. I’m not sure if I watched it upon it first releasing in theaters because I was just 9 or if I watched it years later. When I first watched it I really loved the movie, and I thought it was funny. I am a big fan of Ben Stiller so that is always a plus, Robert De Niro, and Owen Wilson. The film being on Netflix now gave me the opportunity to watch it again except now watching it through a different lens, while still appreciating the movie. Watching Meet the Parents for the first time I really had no expectations other than it being a comedy, so I expected to laugh. Before re-watching the movie, my thoughts were that it would undoubtedly ace the Bechdel test. From what I remembered there were female characters and they did hold conversations. I thought it would pass because Greg was there for Pam’s sister’s wedding and to meet Pam’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage. I expected there to be a few scenes in which two or more named female characters would hold a conversation. Having a few named female characters in Meet the Parents I figured I would hear and see more conversations with Pam’s mother Dina and her sister Debbie.
Before watching Meet the Parents and conducting the Bechdel test for the film I predicted it to pass and after watching it’s easy to see that it did not pass the test. Meet the Parents passes 2 out of the 3 questions asked to determine whether a movie passes the Bechtel test. The film did have at least two named women in it and they do talk to each other. The cause for why this film fails is that the female characters usually hold small conversations that are regularly revolving around Greg or Jack. This proves that the film doesn’t pass the Bechtel test because though there are some moments like in the scene where Pam and Greg meet the parents, Pam and her mother Dina hold insignificant casual conversations this last about 2 seconds. Dina says, “Where’s my wittle girl?” Pam says, “Mommy!” Dina says, “You look so beautiful.” Pam says, “You do too. Look at you.” That’s the end of the scene. There is another scene in...