[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Monday's Jane the Virgin. Read at your own risk!]
After two seasons and more than a few ups and downs, Jane the Virgin's Jane is a virgin no more.
In Monday's "Chapter Forty-Seven," with Michael (Brett Dier) finally healed from his injuries, Jane (Gina Rodriguez) finally had sex with her new husband. As promised by series creator Jennie Snyder Urman, it was not an altogether perfect experience for Jane, who struggled to set aside her anxiety and guilt over seemingly losing an important piece of herself. Eventually, with a little help from Xo (Andrea Navedo) — who was also attempting to make big changes this week by entertaining the idea of a new career — Jane came to realize that there was more to her identity than whether or not she was a virgin.
Of course, this being a comedy, the episode wasn't short on laughs either. During Jane and Michael's first attempt at this new level of intimacy, they accidentally made a sex tape, which Jane then mistakenly sent to her advisor thinking it was an interview she'd previously done with Alba (Ivonne Coll). And once Jane revealed to Michael she'd faked an orgasm because of her aforementioned anxiety, the couple hilariously tried to spice things up in the bedroom in order to unlock her mental block before finally finding their groove at episode end.
Given that the show's title is Jane the Virgin, the loss of Jane's virginity was always going to be a big moment for the character and for the show (in case you're worried about the title, the writers plan to play around with the show's title card each week now that the deed has been done). There was a lot of pressure onscreen and behind the scenes to get it right. As Urman recently told reporters, "I feel like you don't just want to have this perfect, "Oh my God, it was bliss." And yet, that's the expectation and the hope."
The fact that Jane's first time having sex wasn't what she had envisioned was not only realistic but also more of what we've come to expect from a show that features a heightened version of reality but remains dedicated to truthful depictions of life's biggest moments. Too often shows about coming of age feel obligated to view the loss of a character's virginity through rose-colored glasses — the fairytale experiences of the young women of Freeform's Pretty Little Liars, for instance — when it reality, the experience is usually far from perfect. Better shows — and make no mistake, Jane the Virgin is one of the best shows currently on TV — take a messier and more truthful approach to storytelling.
The drama Felicity, which aired on The CW's predecessor The WB, saw its overanalyzing lead (Keri Russell) lose her virginity to a man she barely knew rather than to either of the two men (Scott Foley and Scott Speedman) who had starring roles in her frequently tumultuous love life. It wasn't what she'd envisioned for herself, but it's what happened, and the show's handling of Felicity's mistake and the turmoil that followed in its wake are one of the many reasons the college-set drama remains a must-watch drama nearly two decades after its debut.
Meanwhile, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — also of The WB and also named after its female protagonist (I'm sensing a pattern here) — Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) lost her virginity to her loving vampire boyfriend Angel (David Boreanaz) only for him to then lose his soul and revert to the evil Angelus, a literal monster and an obvious metaphor for the fears of being intimate with another person. While Felicity and Buffy's actions and experiences don't mirror Jane's — though she nearly came close to making her own mistake last season with her professor — they were deeply personal and familiar. They also resonated emotionally in much the same way as Jane's own decision had, which has allowed them to endure.
For Felicity and Buffy, and now Jane, reality didn't measure up to expectations. But unlike Felicity and Buffy, Jane's experience didn't have to be labeled unpleasant. The intersection of Jane's constant planning and romantic hopes with unforeseen circumstances caused by reality is an ongoing theme within Jane the Virgin. Whether it was Jane's accidental artificial insemination, struggle to balance being a new mother with being a student, or the seemingly endless complications that accompanied her wedding day, Jane's greatest asset continues to be her ability to find the positive and the romantic among the unpredictability of her hectic life. By extension, it's become Jane's greatest strength, too.
Because for all of the CW dramedy's signature twists and turns, the heartwarming series is at its best when it focuses on the personal moments that bond the Villanueva women to one another and to others. It was not a surprise that Jane was unable to accept her decision to have sex wasn't about losing something but rather unlocking a new side of herself until she opened up to Xo. And as long as Jane the Virgin continues to tackle life's big moments — whether Jane sees them coming or not-- with the kind of humor and heart displayed here, it'll continue to do just fine, and so will Jane.
Jane the Virgin airs Mondays at 9/8c on The CW.
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