Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 3, Episode 18, “Chapter Sixty-Two”
It’s a shame Jane the Virgin only has two episodes left as the season is finally rebounding. As Jane continued to follow her quest for casual sex with Fabian (Francisco San Martin), she grappled with her own personal feelings on the matter. Yes, “Chapter Sixty-Two” saw Jane look at whether she was ready to have sex stemming from her Catholic guilt, as opposed to basing it on Michael’s death. This led to a lot of great discussion about religious sex shaming while sending up the way television perpetuates stereotypes regarding casual sex and femininity. I was joined by Mae Abdulbaki, film and TV writer for The Young Folks and owner of Movies With Mae to look at this too-sexy episode of Jane the Virgin.
Much of the episode revolved around HBO’s Sex and the City, with a hilarious recreation of that group’s lunch chats. Jane as Carrie Bradshaw was a no-brainer since she’s writing a sex column for Cosmo. The other characters were a hilarious surprise. Jane’s mom Xo donned a blonde wig and doled out sex positive advice just like that atrevida, Samantha would. Abuela, in a short red wig, played the perfect Miranda. But, Rogelio’s headband and little dogs as Charlotte stole the scene! Though it’s easy to see each person in Jane’s world clearly inhabiting those Sex and the City archetypes, the distinction lies in Jane’s socioeconomic disparity, her ethnicity, and religion.
Kristen: I feel so terrible; I’ve never watched Sex and the City.
Mae: I’ve seen a few episodes and the first movie. Jane’s totally emulating the writer in Sarah Jessica Parker’s character.
Kristen: Based on what I know of Sex and the City, Jane isn’t in the same upper-class white category that Sarah Jessica Parker was. I love how Jane the Virgin takes established shows that had criticisms against it for its lack of people of color and reconfigure them. Can you imagine Jane starring in her version of Friends?
Mae: Oh my god, that would be amazing!
Kristen: Unlike Parker and the ladies in that, Jane has to deal with sex and its aftermath [like Mateo], whereas Sex and the City always seemed more about the fantasy elements of fashion, sex, and glamour.
Mae: They brought the whole guilt over having sex in a non-committed relationship back.
Kristen: Yes! So much of Jane, I’ve argued, looks at Catholic guilt over sex. Whereas the ladies of SatC – based on my limited knowledge – didn’t have issues like religion hanging over their head.
Mae: Religion and a whole other culture as well.
Kristen: [Kudos to Jane for bringing up] “Temporary guilt followed by years of negative-sex messaging.” Way to slam Alba, Jane. And I’m gonna start using the term “shame-flower!” Alba looks to be getting a lesson in seeing she isn’t as in-tune with the ladies in her life: Jane admitting she was shamed by her; Xo and the wedding. This is the second time Jane’s backed out of having sex – this and that time with her teacher. The show wants her to talk about casual sex, but she’s yet to do it.
Mae: Maybe she’ll go through with it this time, since the last time she was also still a virgin.
The subject’s been brought up before, but it was wonderful to watch Jane struggle with her decision to have casual sex in the wake of her grandmother’s shaming. The fear of parental or, in this case, grandparental, judgement about one’s life choices can linger long into adulthood. And it was especially poignant in light of Jane and Rafael’s discussion with Mateo about sexuality and how families are made. Mateo shouldn’t be shamed for being “artificial” as much as Jane shouldn’t feel shame about wanting to have sex. In the wake of Michael’s death many of Jane’s decisions have stemmed from fear of upstaging the dead. In this case, Jane worried about her own agency in the light of her religious upbringing.
Kristen: True, there was more logic in that previous time than now. It just seems like the show maybe fears condemnation for having her be too free? Jane’s a grown woman with a child and she’s still feeling bad about a promise she made as a kid.
Mae: That guilt is no joke.
Kristen: “Sex and the City never had to deal with these drastic tone shifts.” Thanks for pointing that out, Narrator! what did we think about the show redoing Sex and the City with an eye towards absolving Catholic guilt? I personally enjoyed it a lot. It sends up the nature of television itself – how white women of means could have sex, but women of color who aren’t wealthy have questions and doubts.
Mae: Good that the guilt is still there because, no matter what, that stays with you and affects you mentally for longer than we’d like. I also liked that she went through with it but still had to be absolved of guilt by her mother.
Kristen: She still needed parental permission in some form since God wasn’t available.
Mae: Yes, definitely, and once she did it, she was happy and bragged about it. To a man, no less! Even if it was to Rafael.
Kristen: And he didn’t shame her for it either.