Jane the Virgin last night’s episode recap

 

So I’ve been wanting to do a blog post about one of my favorite shows for a while now. And since Jane the Virgin airs Monday nights, and since I can never actually watch it until Tuesday night because I wait for it to show up on Hulu, I’m finally writing about it today. Besides the obvious joking about telenovelas it’s very good TV writing. Not that I know alot about good TV writing, but the characters in the plot line aren’t static. They grow, their motivations change, we see them slip up and try to work through their mistakes on screen. I realized I didn’t have a clue who writes for Jane the Virgin and I’m not surprised it is written by a woman. There’s a think piece somewhere about how female writers have a distinct writing style and why it’s so great, but I can’t find it right now. I’ll find it soon and write on that later. Anyways back to why this last episode of Jane the Virgin was great. Caution there are spoilers. It touched on:

The awkward reality of causal relationships

The struggles of co-parenting

Privilege

Mothers guilt

So let’s break each one of these down

The awkward reality of causal relationships

In this latest episode Rogelio starts hooking up with his show’s writer. Determined that he doesn’t have serious feelings he realizes at the moment that he utters those words that he is falling for the woman only to find that she does not want it to turn into a serious relationship. Heart drops. I feel you Rogelio, when you start a relationship with intimacy but without labeling what you have someone always gets hurt. I’ve learned (from asking my male friends that have a healthy dose of causal relationships) that the best way to avoid this inevitable heartbreak is to be open from the BEGINNING that you only want to hook up. Then it’s up to the person if he/she wants to continue seeing you. So maybe Rogelio will learn this lesson. We’ll see where the next episode takes us.

The struggles of co-parenting

So not only is Jane co-parenting with Rafael but Rafael is co-parenting with Petra (I know he’s got a 100 problems and a baby mama is two). It’s interesting to contrast his two parenting relationships because with Jane they both really want to spend more time with their son, whereas with Petra, Rafael has to coax her into wanting to spend time with the daughters. In this episode Jane and Rafael finally decide to work out the details of their custody arrangement through a mediator. Not only do they not agree on a lot of aspects, but these two who normally are very civil and friendly to each other are getting heated over the situation. Petra on the other hand is very insecure about where she fits into this mash-up family (probably because she stole Rafael’s sperm and impregnated herself and now is dealing with postpartum depression and dealing with her lack of “motherly instinct”). She constantly feels threatened by Jane’s existence and you can see that some of her actions and behavior towards Rafael is due to how she feels like a second class citizen to Jane. She wants to make sure her daughters get the same rights (read:trust fund) as Jane and Rafael’s son. Now don’t get Petra mixed up, once Jane rejected Rafael and Rafael came crawling back to Petra she was not having it. She secretly wants Rafael, but not when he only wants her if Jane won’t have him. Petra is prideful, and I kind of resonate with that.

Privilege

Jane starts a side gig (because her fiance gets fired from his job) as a college essay assistant to a prospective student. His mother wants Jane to write the essay that will get him into college FOR her son. He very obviously doesn’t have to lift a finger to obtain the type of preparation many have to struggle to come near.

In contrast to this boys privilege, we see Rogelio give a role to his ex-girlfriend, Xiomara, who we should also note is Jane’s mom. Show writer is none too pleased because she doesn’t think Xiomara will be any good because she doesn’t have any acting experience. Unfortunately for Xiomara, the writer is right, she’s not very good at the role, and is replaced, but her voice will still be used in a song for the show Rogelio stars in.

I think it’s important to highlight this, because Nepotism and privilege is the way the world works. It’s what legacy status is at a college, it’s how some people get awesome jobs. And it happens every day.

Mother’s Guilt

Jane again struggles with her guilt to balance her additional responsibilities and time away from her son. She loves to write but her son is her priority and we constantly see her try to balance her need and desire to do both. For her in this instance she realized her son matters more and spending time with him is what’s most important. She’s fortunate to be able to drop hours at work, to quit her job as a essay writer, and arrange her schedule so she can have quality time with her boy. It’s not put in the light of a bad career move. Family is very obviously important to her and I love that she re-prioritizes and makes sure family is actually getting the attention it needs.

This is important to me as a Latina and as a mom. Family is at the core of who I am. There is one episode where Jane says that she would never leave Miami it’s where she’s rooted. I am rooted here with my family, and my son is the most important thing in my life. I restructured my life to put action behind my words. There are people who can be miles and miles away from their roots, and don’t mind spending little time with their children but that is not who I am. I tried it and I was obviously miserable. There are parts that I can’t resonate with Jane, and there are other parts of her character’s identity that draw me in so deeply. And there hasn’t been much TV for my experience or even people that look like me. And that’s why I love this show so much. Because it touches on aspects about my core and experience as a Latino in the United States that no other show has been able to do.

In two seasons the show has touched on:

Marianismo

Catholic Guilt

Immigration

Teen pregnancy

Post-Partum Depression

Broken Homes

Single Parenting

Some of the heavy hitting issues that have shaped my life. And for that reason I love Jane the Virgin.

 

Photo credit: iDominick via Visual hunt / CC BY-S

 

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