Is Jane The Virgin About To Let Jane Get Her Freak On?
Birds do it, bees do it, why shouldn't Jane do it?
One of the things I love about Jane The Virgin is just how weird it is. Not in that "telenovela tropes are novel to white-bread Americans" way, but in the way it pairs those tropes with some of the least preachy (Blackish, I love you, but am also looking at you) but still most progressive values around. This is a show that takes a stand for gender equality, non-traditional families, and immigrant rights, while for two full seasons featuring an intentionally abstinent central character. In its third, it's still presenting arguments in favor of celibacy in a relatively sane(ish) way...while, as it does this week, tackling the oft-thorny issue of feminine desire.
Did Jane really think she wouldn't have to talk about her ridiculous life?
So, look, first thing to know is that when you write your first novel, you don't get called in to your publisher's office for a meeting with a conference room full of marketing and PR people -- hell, most publishers don't even have a conference room's worth of marketing and PR people on staff! Talk to anyone who's written a book, and they'll tell you that a lot of the book's promotion is on the author's shoulders, and hers alone.
Maybe we should assume that she has this marketing muscle behind her precisely because of her coverage-worthy history? We can only assume, however, because no one said as much, not even when Jane said she wouldn't talk about her personal life when promoting the book.
Everyone at her publisher's was a lot more calm and nice about it than I would be, as I would have taken Jane by her shoulders, shaken her, and said, "Girl, who the hell do you think you are. If you want to keep your life quiet, don't go into an industry that demands exposure!"
But seriously, Jane. Umberto Eco talked about his private life in interviews! Margaret Atwood does! Have you seen Alec Baldwin's tour to promote his memoir lately? Like Baldwin, you wrote a book that is based on your personal experiences, but unlike Baldwin no one has heard your vile voicemail messages to your child -- voicemail messages you one day might well leave, if Mateo continues on his path of misbehavior. If Alec can do it, you can.
Did we just get Erica Jonged?
As a lady of a certain age -- that is, far too young to be allowed to read Erica Jong's seminal feminist novel Fear of Flying without having to hide it in a Bobbsey Twins book in case my mom walked into my room -- I have been known to use the term Jong coined, the zipless fuck, to describe exactly the encounter Jane is hoping for with Fabian. And then we see this:
I'm so relieved to learn that Jane has maintained her relationship with Marlene. As someone whose primary female influences have been the sexually medieval Alba and the walking id that is Xo (wither Lina?), it's so crucial to me that Jane have some acid to cut through their potentially cloying flavors. Way back when Professor Donaldson was first introduced, I was pleased, because we needed someone to keep this crazy hot air balloon of a show grounded, and a staunch feminist lit prof is just the woman for the job, one she's now continuing with Jane as a pal, not a student.
To learn that Marlene, too, has a first novel out there -- one with a cover bearing a PINK GUN ON A BED FOR PETE'S SAKE -- was one of the best things I've seen in a long time. I can't help but wonder if the book, like Jane's and Jong's, was autobiographical in nature? Does it, too, contain a zipless fuck or two? My money is on "yes."
Speaking of, is Jane really about to get her freak on with Fabian?
Again, I must emphasize that JTV deserves all the awards (as well as all the feminist studies papers) for its subversive boldness. Jane, our titular ex-virgin, makes no bones about her interest in a fling with Fabian, and at no point does the show claim that her interest is anything but physical.
Nearly any other show would either make this a self-loathing thing where the characters don't like each other but the physical pull is just sooooo strong (cut to female character looking ashamed of herself in a bathroom mirror after the act) or something based in feelings and a relationship (every other show). Ladies who hook up with men just for fun are often punished, and characters who do it too much either end up admitting how sad they secretly are, catch a disease, or are Samantha from Sex And The City (who, come to think of it, did both).
But as adult, internet-using people who live in the actual world, we know that is not how things work. We have all either banged someone purely for the fun of it or know a woman who has, and all those people who have dared enjoy the fruit of physical passion without relationship manage to live on in happy harmony. It's kind of insane that TV so rarely reflects this, isn't it?
And I can't think of anyone better for Jane to get zipless with than Fabian. He seems really nice, and, of course, he is pretty easy on the eyes (am I the only one who thinks "Latino Timothy Olyphant" when he's shot at a certain angle?). Go for it, Jane!
How does Rose not have the worst acne in the world?
First, Rose walked around for god only knows how long disguised as Susanna, and tonight we see that she's been wearing a rubber Eileen (if that's her real name?) mask all this time. As someone who flies into a claustrophobic fit if I have to wear a headband for too long, this seems like a total nightmare. Add to that the Miami heat and humidity, and a hotel room with (Rafael-sabotage) air conditioning issues, and this seems like a recipe for the "before" shots in a Proactiv ad. I mean, come on, people used to get zits on their chin from resting the phone between it and their shoulder (kids, ask your parents)! Surely a 24/7 rubber mask deal would leave Rose with the most pizza of faces, but when the overheating mastermind pulls off her disguise, she's as lovely as ever.
I think I had kind of back-burnered Luisa and Rose's messed up relationship in my head, but seeing them again after Michael's death I found myself SO ANGRY at Luisa. The show made it clear that Michael died as a result of the shooting, which according to the FBI's Universal Crime Reporting standards makes his death a homicide at Rose's hands. And yet Luisa is so blindly focused on her personal happiness that she gives not a shit about this.
One of the reasons this is so infuriating is that it seems like Luisa never pays for her selfish and craven acts -- listen to her this week, muttering that Mateo wouldn't even exist if it weren't for her! Are you seriously trying to take credit for Rafael and Jane's (and Petra's and Michael's and on and on and on) incredibly hard work to make a improbably bad situation into a good one? Hello, I would like something epically awful to happen to Luisa, please. Thank you.
How close did you come to crying when Rogelio talked about Michael?
It's a relief to learn that Jane's real reason for not wanting to use her personal life as book promotion is that she doesn't want to "turn Michael into an anecdote," an admission that counters my irritation with her prissy "I want the work to speak for itself"-ness. Even more unexpected is Rogelio's explanation of why he's reluctant for Jane and Fabian to date (no need for anyone to ever tell their dad that it's not dating that they're after, trust me on this one).
It's not that Fabian's a playboy or (though it wouldn't be wrong) that he is extremely dumb. Instead, it's that even now, Rogelio hasn't gotten over Michael's death, saying that Jane's late husband "was my best friend and I really loved him."
Of course I started full on bawling at this, because when Rogelio is sad, the whole world should be! But also, it's another example of how well JTV, for all its over-the-top plotlines, manages to capture real life in a way so few other shows do. Jane has done the work and is trying to lay (heh) the groundwork of the next chapter in her life, but Rogelio's having a harder time moving forward. This is a genuine thing, as you of course are aware! When a family loses a member, it's not just one person who suffers, it's everyone, and while the pain grows less intense over time it never goes away.
The writers took a gamble by choosing Rogelio to deliver that truth -- while Jaime Camil certainly has the chops to sell me anything, it was a ballsy move to have a character as cartoonish as his suddenly seem so raw. It's a risk that paid off brilliantly, delivering yet another subtle dose of intense reality in a show that so blithely presents itself as fluffy fantasy.