Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is a lot of things: a mother, an author, a widow, a cheap drunk. And yet so much of the discussions of Jane the Virgin see her through only one lens, that of a romantic interest.
The debates over being Team Rafael, Team Michael (RIP!) and now Team Adam will always be a core aspect of the series and fandom, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But these questions over Jane's love life aren't the only reason I watch Jane the Virgin -- far from it.
There is so much joy to be gleaned from Jane the Virgin that has nothing to do with who Jane is or isn't dating. Naturally, these aspects will likely never get as much play online or spark as much fervent conversation, but I think it's important that we take a minute and recognize all the reasons we love Jane the Virgin that have nothing to do with Jane's love life. Because honestly, aren't you a little tired of arguing about Rafael (Justin Baldoni) at this point anyways?
So forget your romantic allegiances, and let's appreciate these 12 other things that help make Jane the Virgin one of the best shows on TV.
1. Rogelio's career. I would have binged the entire series of Tiago: A Través Del Tiempo if it was a real show, and I know I'm not the only one. In fact, all of his shows -- even the short-lived De la Vega Factor-Factor and his telenovela take on Mad Men -- would be top of my DVR if they were real. But Ro's (Jaime Camil) career is also far more than just a source of laughter and a distraction from some of the show's weightier storylines; it's something worth investing in on its own. I care as much about Rogelio finally achieving his dream of crossing over into Hollywood as I do about Jane finding success as a novelist. And you know what? I think he's going to make it one day. I really do.
2. Literally everything Xo does. Xo (Andrea Navedo) does not make perfect choices, but -- as Andrew Lincoln famously wrote on those poster boards -- to me, she is perfect. She's a great friend, an even better mother and her bond with Jane is nearing Lorelei and Rory levels of inspo. And though she's often the straight man to Rogelio, Xiomara is far more hilarious than many give her credit for. Plus, this is a woman who knows exactly what she wants and is never afraid to go after it. Whether it be her career or her choice to not have more kids, Xiomara is steadfast when it comes to what matters most to her.
3. Petra's formal shorts. Tell me that Petra Solano (Yael Grobglas) hasn't revolutionized the way you view formal shorts and I will not hesitate to call you a liar. She has single-handedly made brightly colored, floral formal shorts seem like not only appropriate business wear, but a must-have for any ambitious modern woman.
4. Jane and Lina's friendship. Sadly, Diane Guerrero's many other projects -- which include starring in Orange is the New Black and Superior Donuts-- mean that Jane's best friend now plays a far smaller role in the series than she used to. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even realize how much I missed Lina until she reappeared last season with the news she was engaged. After spending so much time and energy focusing on Jane's love and family life, Lina's return was a nice reminder that, as Rafael recently pointed out, the world doesn't revolve around Jane. She might be the hero of our story, but her friendship with Lina has always grounded Jane and helped her (and this world) feel more robust and real.
5. Alba's romantic life. Over the course of the series, Alba (Ivonne Coll) has opened up more to Jane and Xiomara about her own past regrets, many of which continue to haunt her. That's why it was such a welcome reprieve when Alba finally opened herself up to love and real happiness again for the first time after the death of her husband. Alba has been through so much, and to see how giddy she gets around Jorge (Alfonso DiLuca) warms my cold, cold heart.
6. The Marbella. It can often be hard to keep track of the finer details of the near-constant drama surrounding The Marbella (so much business talk!), but that hasn't stopped me from becoming as attached to this turquoise oasis as I am to many of the characters. The Marbella not only plays host to so many of Jane's important storylines, but this season, it's also proven to be crucial to Rafael's sense of identity. It's so much more than just a hotel, and I honestly can't imagine Jane without it. Hopefully Luisa (Yara Martinez) doesn't squander it away now that she's in charge (although I wouldn't bet on it).
7. How everyone co-parents. No matter your stance on Jane and Raf or Raf and Petra or even the mess happening right now with Darci (Justina Machado), Rogelio and Xiomara, there is as much to dig into with how these exes work together as parents as there is with their romantic situations. Xiomara, in particular, is in a fascinating position. As the one who made the decision to raise Jane on her own, Xo denied Rogelio the chance to be a father to her growing up. Now, Rogelio is finally getting that chance with his and Darci's unborn baby, but the timing couldn't be worse for him and Xiomara. It'll be fun -- and we're betting pretty intense -- to see how these three work together to create a stable and supporting family together going forward. And let's not forget all the tension rippling through Rafael and Jane's relationship right now after their fight over how to raise Mateo. So. Much. Good. Drama.
8. Petra finding happiness. If I had to sum up my biggest wish for Jane the Virgin in three words, they would be "justice for Petra." Sure, Petra has crossed many, many, many lines, but she has also grown to be a heroine just as worthy of our sympathy, love and respect as Jane. And yet Petra is continuously treated as second-best. Whether it's her mother, Rafael or Jane, Petra tends to be framed as a burden, a means to an end or someone to settle for, when really, she's a goddamn queen. Here's to hoping she finds what she's looking for in love, in her career and with her family. She's earned it.
9. Jane's career. It's hard to remember that Jane wasn't always a writer. She wrote, of course, but when the series began, Jane was on her 10-year-plan to become a teacher. After she graduated college, she decided to take the leap and pursue her real dream of becoming a romance novelist. Ever since then, Jane has worked tirelessly to achieve this, and with the release of her first book just around the corner, I couldn't be happier for her. Jane's courageous decision to pursue her dream and her relentless, can-do attitude has been such an inspiration throughout the series' run -- particularly for those of us who struggle with following through on things.
10. Rogelio's feuds. From Britney Spears to Esteban (Keller Wortham), Rogelio has quite the diverse list of nemeses. Combine that with Ro's penchant for the dramatic, and it's no wonder that Rogelio often find himself in so much trouble of his own making. Of course, if you asked him, I'm sure he'd say none of it -- not even broadcasting Darci's vagina on Instagram -- was ever his fault.
11. Petra and Jane's friendship. Petra and Jane could not be more different, but over the years, they've developed a bond that is more like family than friendship. No matter how bad the fights between them get, there's no denying that Petra would always be there for Jane if she was needed, and vice versa. And while I know that there will always be drama between them (this is a telenovela after all. There's always going to be drama), I can only hope that there is a future on this show where their friendship will face obstacles other than Rafael. They're beyond that.
12. The Villanueva women. While we care about specific issues with each of the Villanueva women, we care even more about them as a whole. This trio of outspoken, determined and compassionate women are really the heart of the series, far more than any of the romantic relationships. Sure, they have their ups and downs, but it's when we're watching the way the Villanueva women work through their disagreements as a family that this show is often at its best. As long as Alba and Xo are in Jane's life, we know she already has everything she needs, and that's one of the things that makes this show so special.