This week’s Jane the Virgin “Chapter 59” saw our titular heroine decide that Michael’s been dead long enough, time to get back in the saddle! Even though the show’s jumped forward three years, the lack of any real discussion of Michael’s demise has left him an off-screen ghost. His invisibility and rush to distance everyone from him left Jane’s actions feeling callous. This is why there’s a difference between “TV time” and “TV production time,” you have to make sure enough time has passed in the latter to work with the former. Regardless, Jane started navigating the dating scene and it led to an interesting question: Why hasn’t Jane had a long-term relationship with a Latino guy? Her mom, Xiomara, and abuela Alba have exclusively dated Latino men with names usually indicative of their origins, yet Jane’s dating history is decidedly in opposition. Let’s look at a few of Jane’s past paramours and posit, why shy away from a Latino beau?
Even her prospects last night saw her flirting with another white guy. The show has been critiqued of late (by me) for failing to look at the Latinx perspective this season and maybe this is another example of the show thinking of Jane as a white girl. Of course Jane doesn’t need to date a Latino because she’s Latina, but her past history indicates the show doesn’t really know how to write a male Latino character that understands Jane. Is this falling back on Latino stereotypes of dominant men? Maybe Jane’s attraction to Rogelio’s co-star Fabian will break the trend?
Let’s look at the various men Jane’s dated in the past.
Here is a rundown of her long-term relationships, quickie romances, and crushes.
Michael is obviously the predominant relationship in Jane’s life and he’s the apotheosis of white. With his dirty blonde hair and blue eyes there wasn’t a particularly ethnic bone in his body. In fact, there isn’t much indication of Michael’s heritage throughout the show, outside of his Jane-hating parents and his last name which could possibly be Italian or Spanish. He was sweet and romantic (blegh), but he was also a safe white guy who could do “the worm.”
Rafael’s origins are still very much a mystery, so the debate rages as to whether he’s Latino or Italian. His mother Elena is Swiss or German, though there’s little known about her, and Emilio Solano’s ethnicity or country of origin has never been revealed. (And, considering he isn’t Rafael’s biological father his makeup is irrelevant.) A quick pan of Rafael’s original birth certificate in a past episode appeared to be written in Italian.
If we’re going off screen-time, Professor Jonathan Chavez is Jane’s longest relationship with a Latino man. Actor Adam Rodriguez is Puerto Rican and Cuban so it’s likely his character’s origins are similar. He was educated, refined and taught Jane to get out of her own head to become a better writer. Jane was even willing to lose her virginity to him, but decided that she wasn’t really ready… and the two parted ways never to see each other again. Considering that Jane was willing to go so far with a guy at all would indicate Jonathan should have had more lasting impact. Take away the fact the relationship was inappropriate, but there was really no proper reason given for why Jane couldn’t have made a go at it – short of Adam Rodriguez not wanting to stay on the series.
Last night saw Jane give dating Michael’s old partner Dennis a try. This was a bad idea for a multitude of reasons. However, it was the first time anyone on the show has dated someone who is black. Unfortunately their relationship was doomed – both because of the whole “dead Michael” thing and Dennis wasn’t over his fiancée.
You remember Sam, right? The guy Jane was supposedly in love with before Michael turned up. Yeah, he wasn’t too memorable though he is played by Latino actor Miles Gaston Villanueva. But, like most Latino men Jane knows, Sam conceded defeat to Michael and disappeared.
We’re getting into the deep cuts now. In “Chapter 32” Jane took her computer to get fixed and went on a date with Dax, played by Mexican actor Diego Boneta. The two went to a skate park and had fun, but Dax revealed he had a girlfriend. Okay, so far Latino men Jane dates in this show either disappear or are jerks.
Alex Mendez was Jane’s high-school crush who didn’t remember her name. In “Chapter 21” when Jane went to her reunion the two had a moment, only for Alex to flee in terror at the reveal of Jane’s pregnant stomach. The character’s name implies Latino, but Alex Mendez (played by actor Michael Galante) had no purpose other than to make Jane feel bad about herself, so there wasn’t much time to assign a history to him. If so, though, this continues “Jane’s Latino loves are cads or invisible.”