by Celeste Montaño and Joneka Percentie
When the CW released its first look at Jane the Virgin back in July, everyone in SPARK was on the fence about it. The trailer’s tone was intriguing, but a show that revolves entirely around a Latina woman’s sex life—or lack, thereof? Less intriguing, more off-putting.
Turns out, we underestimated the show so much that it’s embarrassing.
Jane premiered in October, and everyone that’s tuned in since has found one of the most honest, endearing, heartwarming, and three-dimensional representations of Latina women that’s ever been on TV. The writing also happens to be incredibly clever and whimsical, just as a cherry on top.
We have SO MANY FEELS about this show that we talked about it for hours, but here’s just a few of our thoughts. (If you haven’t seen the show already, definitely do that before reading—Jane is so good that any spoilers would be a tragedy.)
Joneka: Were you watching when it first premiered?
Celeste: I watched the day after it premiered because it was free online. But I expected to hate it. In fact, the first time I heard about the show, I got kind of pissed. I was expecting something like Devious Maids, which is a show about how glamorous and exciting it is to be a maid. (Lots of sex and murder, apparently.) So when I heard about Jane, I was like, why can’t we ever have a Latina character that isn’t completely defined by her sexuality?
Joneka: I wasn’t too thrilled either. Like just from the title it assumes that Jane’s virginity is her defining characteristic.
Celeste: Yeah, but despite the title, Jane’s virginity doesn’t play a huge role in the story after the first episode. Not as much as I expected.
Joneka: It definitely doesn’t! I think we get to see so many different sides of Jane so quickly that all of my fears that the show would just focus on her “purity” and “chastity” went right away. We see her silly side when she’s joking around at the hotel, her caring side around her mother and Abuela, and we know she’s super smart and killin’ it in school. I love that we get to see what she was like when she was young and that she’s a writer.
Celeste: I love that Jane’s a writer! I don’t remember EVER seeing a Latina character who’s a reader/writer. I literally dream of having nerdy Latina girls onscreen. And I’m so excited about the whole show being structured like a book. Like with the narrator.
Joneka: Yes with the chapters! And the typewriter noises and “to be continued…” Also, can you believe Jane’s finishing up school, writing, student teaching, AND working at the hotel? She’s very goal oriented.
Celeste: AND she’s pregnant!
Joneka: Can we talk about Jane’s mom for a bit? I love that Xiomara still pursues her dream of performing and we get to see her singing at nightclubs and stuff. I liked when she explains to Jane that she avoided serious relationships to protect Jane. My heart just uhhhgghh </3
Celeste: How do you feel about her and Rogelio, the ever-dramatic novela actor who also happens to be Jane’s dad?
Joneka: I don’t know how to feel about them yet! I think I like them separately but idk how they’ll work together. Rogelio is hilariously dramatic and he would do anything for Jane. And I love Xiomara’s strong spirit. Like the fact that she teaches dance to little girls in her living room! She’s just so great. But both of their personalities are so strong that I don’t know how they would work together.
Celeste: One of my fave moments was when Rogelio got Jane a car after giving her a bunch of super extravagant gifts, which makes you think this is just going to be another empty gestures. But then he explains that being able to give Jane all this stuff is a big deal to him because he really struggled before hitting it big. And now that he’s come this far, he wants to share it with Jane. It’s such an interesting dynamic because he’s so proud of her but he doesn’t even know how express affection any way except material goods—I mean, money’s the one thing he’s secure about in this case, since he doesn’t really know how to be a father. That’s so real. Rogelio can be kind of a cartoon sometimes, so seeing how much he wanted to impress Jane was very endearing. (But also I love that he tries so hard to be cool #RogelioMyBrogelio)
Joneka: And Abuela Alba, she is so awesome! I love that we keep getting more little glimpses into her background. The flashback to when Xo got a traffic ticket and Abuela got so nervous. That’s the same scene when Jane learns that Abuela is an undocumented immigrant. I thought that was really important for the show to address immigrant rights–Abuela is hospitalized and the doctor threatens deportation when he finds out. They even put #ImmigrationReform in the bottom corner! I also love that she only speaks Spanish on the show.
Celeste: Omg Abuela! I love the Spanish. I love that they’re sticking with Abuela not being an English speaker. That means so much to me.
Joneka: Me too! I think it could have been so easily dropped but they made it a point to stick with it throughout the entire show. I really appreciate it. Like they didn’t cater to English speaking audience. AND how could I forget to mention that the show is set in Miami and I’m from Miami so that makes me love it even more. I used to take the bus with my family all the time so I just think it’s too cool to see those reflective moments Jane has on the bus, but it might just be me.
Celeste: Also, shout out to the wardrobe department on this show because I want every single one of Jane’s dresses.
Joneka: And I would definitely borrow some of Xo’s stuff too. What about Petra, Rafael’s wife? I have some conflicting feelings about her ’cause I think I’m supposed to hate her, but girl has also gone through some STUFF. Like when her ex threw acid at her mom?? She’s got so much to deal with. The major conflict of the show is definitely Jane’s pregnancy and how they’re dealing with it, but I feel like Petra is almost set up as a secondary villain along with Sin Rostro.
Celeste: omg yes! I like that they’re not like trying to make it Jane v. Petra. In fact, I think Petra and Jane are going to end up being friends by the time the show ends. I get the feeling that Petra’s still figuring herself out, since she hasn’t been able to stop looking over her shoulder in years. Plus, she’s part of yet another interesting mother/daughter relationship. Petra and her mom aren’t BFFs, but it’s them against the world sometimes. They’ve gone through a lot together, and you can tell they really love each other despite everything.
Joneka: ooh do you want to talk a bit about Gina Rodriguez’s acceptance speech for her Golden Globe??
Celeste: omg omg yes! Gina Rodriguez def knows her stuff. Not only was her acceptance speech amazing, but so were her responses during the Q&A afterward. I mean, she mentioned Ferguson and Mike Brown within the first couple minutes. It’s so rare for an actor to speak out like that during the height of their popularity, or in a moment as public as the Golden Globes. I love that she’s not afraid to criticize Hollywood sometimes, and she completely understands the power of the media to either validate or dehumanize people’s experiences. I get the feeling that she made a very deliberate choice in trying out for Jane, like she didn’t just do it because it was a convenient career move. I feel like she did it because she’s fully aware that its depiction of Latina women is revolutionary and necessary. (Fun fact: Gina turned down Devious Maids.)
Joneka: Lucky for us because now we have Jane the Virgin!