Is Jane The Virgin's Rogelio Really A Sex And The City Charlotte?
And more questions sparked by Jane channeling her inner Carrie Bradshaw!
When Jane's editor offers her a book-promotion opportunity by way of an online Cosmopolitan article on what it's like to be dating as a twenty-eight-year-old widow (aren't promotionally-placed articles the purview of your publicist? Does Cosmo -- online or otherwise -- publish promotional pieces? How will an article for a website that runs a high volume of posts every day translate to book buzz? Forget it, Jake; it's Chinatown), not only does it send her on a fun Sex And The City spiral, but it gives the show a chance to discuss the darker side of Alba's abstinence indoctrination plan.
I'm pleased that they took this detour, and not just because Alba's sex-negativity always bothered me. It's also because I have been wondering if, with age and experience, Jane had become aware of the potentially corrosive aspect of Alba's well-intentioned (I think?) method of sex education. As a married, near-thirty parent who's experienced a lot more of life and loss than the virgin we met nearly three full seasons ago, how actualized is Jane about all that flower bullshit?
As it turns out, quite a bit! Let's discuss.
Oh my god, a flora dentata?
The show takes off running from the "ever since Jane was a little girl" gate, with the news that Jane would often dream that her flower grew teeth. Hoo, boy. Where to begin what that one?
While Jane, herself, never directly addresses her early nightmares, the effects clearly remain, from a last-second freakout when the opportunity to bang Fabian first arises (and I do mean arises)...
...to an uncomfortable pause when Alba asks Jane if she regrets waiting until marriage, before Jane says that Alba's tutelage "definitely changed the way [she thinks] about sex." Not in a good way, Jane's facial expression suggests. I didn't sense resentment, per se, but I think Gina Rodriguez did a nice job of communicating that, at some point in the three-year time jump, she put away childish things like a knee-jerk assumption that sex is bad.
I'm glad they addressed this, because I've been wondering what was going on with Jane in re sex. How did she go from poster child for abstinence to fling contemplator? A few days before I watched this episode, it occurred to me that perhaps Alba's medieval mores extended to the assumption that, once deflowered, a woman was "ruined," so, like, who cares what Jane does now? I'm relieved to see that that's not the case here, and instead it looks like Jane's decided to give more than just lip service to the reductiveness of the Madonna/whore paradigm.
Is Rogelio really a Charlotte?
Jane's Cosmo article gives the show a lot of opportunities to have a blast, as she immediately imagines herself as Carrie Bradshaw in a version of Sex And The City that actually contains people of color. There's a gutter splash, copious gardenia accessories, and a window typing scene with a hacky pun: in this case, "Has this widow peaked?" It's deftly done, and I should know, as this very website's SATC marathon diarist. (My reports begin here.)
Best of all is the scene where Jane, Alba, Rogelio, and Xo take on personae (and wigs) to reflect Carrie (Jane), Miranda (Alba), Charlotte (Rogelio) and Samantha (Xiomara). It's that last characterization that's the most juicy, as Andrea Navedo unflinchingly embraces Sam's mannered way of speaking (and her Palm Bitch meets Maxxinista Prostitute wardrobe). It's a deft move by the show's writers to give a nod to how Samantha provided a blueprint for sexually progressive characters like Xo's, but it never would have worked without Navedo's ability to deliver a killer Cattrall impression.
Alba and Rogelio have a lot less to work with, but they do their able best: the older woman's Miranda is mainly a red wig and a frown (though to be fair, some seasons it seemed like that's all SATC gave Miranda, too). Rogelio's Charlotte is a headband and a dog. Man, what wouldn't I give to listen to Jaime Camil bitch about Trey's bust of a boner.
Could Jane and Fabian's relationship have resolved itself any better?
While I'm still a little uncomfortable with some of Jane's more snobbish objections to Fabian -- "genre" isn't an intuitive word to pronounce if you've only read it, Jane -- I agree that theirs wasn't a romance meant to last. Also, that he responded to her query "Are you interested in the other side of me?" with "you mean butt stuff" was one of the funniest things I've heard all week, and not just because butts are silly.
That grin Francisco San Martin gives before he delivers that line is our hint that Fabian's abstinence pledge wasn't as longstanding as Jane's had been. In fact, he's only kept it in his pants for thirty-three days (as Fabian puts it, "a month and a half"), and once Jane and he came to terms on their shared lack of desire for a relationship, he'd have to start that shot clock anew. Yay, Jane!
Did Fabian and Jane do it on a white leather couch?
Dear Mr. President, will you please make a law preventing TV characters from having first-time sex on white couches?
Between Empire's spontaneous encounter between Jamal and Phillip and Jane and Fabian's liaison and layabout, I'm spending way too much time thinking about Scotch-guarding; the benefits of blotting over rubbing; and how real couches barely have room for one person to lie on his or her back, let alone two. I am not a crackpot.
Do people listen to voicemails from people they know anymore?
When you see that you have a voicemail from a close friend or family member, do you listen to it first or just call him or her back and say something like "Hey, I saw you called, what's up?" The latter, right?
Not if you are Petra! If you're Petra, you'll listen to tiresome voicemail after tiresome voicemail from Rafael instead of just hitting his number. While this is a rare misstep from a show that's typically pretty good about consumer use of technology (see: Jane and Rafael's texting each other from the same bed as Mateo falls asleep, for example), it definitely fits in with this generally irritating storyline. I don't think Rafael and Petra have a future as a couple; Chuck bores me; and Scott was a prissy little shit and I am glad he's dead.
That said, there are a few ways the show can salvage this subplot for me:
Anezka goes full evil: What if it turned out that all this "beautiful seester" crap was an amazing long con, and Anezka is a full-on criminal mastermind? Remember, her conscience never kicked in enough to prevent her from The Diving Bell And The Butterfly-ing Petra, so it's not like she's a full innocent?
Bracelet lady is Michael in drag: As a fan of Michael's, I of course want his memory to remain pure. But as someone who finds the Scott death investigation to be less interesting than cement, the revelation that a beloved character was involved would be a welcome diversion. Since I'm not completely clear on the timeline -- did Anezka and Scott part ways before or after Michael's death? -- we have the added possibility that Michael isn't really dead. Maybe he's the evil genius! Now that would be a long con.
An alligator eats Chuck: Any vestige of interest I had in Chuck dissolved when he huffily announced that the reason he'd been acting weird is because he was about to tell Petra that he loved her. The only remotely attractive trait Chuck had was his self-confidence, and, whoops, now that's gone, too. Is this a thing the kids are doing now, dramatically announcing that they love someone instead of just spontaneously saying it? I knew that prom proposal thing was a slippery slope!
Plus, an alligator eating Chuck would be sweet, sweet karma.
What kind of toaster does Oprah give?
I just spent about ten minutes Googling to see if there were any toasters on any of Oprah's "Favorite Things" lists (which, truth be told, are more likely to be PR invention than any article you'll read on Cosmo's website okay okay I'll let it go). I didn't find any, but I think we can all agree that if Oprah gives you a toaster -- as Rogelio claims she has for all his weddings -- it's bound to be pretty fucking sick.
You guys, I am so torn about this big wedding thing! I was so relieved that Xo and Ro were doing a 4 PM at the courthouse ceremony, not some big honking circus...until we learn that the reason they decided against a lavish do was because they thought it might remind Jane too much of Michael's death.
We can set aside the fact that Jane must surely have attended numerous weddings in the years since his passing -- your late twenties and early thirties are prime wedding time (Aside: those of us in our mid-forties are just hitting the height of our second-wedding years. Talk about not wanting to give another toaster!) and she must have had colleagues or extended family members who entered into wedlock. But, geez, why would a wedding, of all things, remind her of Michael? Why not every time she sees a cop, or a LSAT prep book, or has sex? No one's like, "Oh, Jane probably shouldn't screw Fabian because it might remind her of Michael" when, all things considered, it's far more likely to invoke comparison than her parents' nuptials!
But, also, weddings are sooooo boring. (Except yours, all the friends whose weddings I have attended! Not yours!) I was so thrilled with Xo for upending tradition by proposing to Rogelio, and I was pleased that they continued not to kowtow to the wedding-industrial complex with a typical TV-bullshit ceremony. But who was I kidding? Of course Xo and Ro are going to have some big hoopla thing. Sorry, Oprah, better head back to Macy's for one last Breville.