The fourth season of The CW’s Jane the Virgin debuted Friday night with plenty of new surprises and faces.
As with any good telenovela — the Latin American soap opera-style of TV show Jane is lovingly modeled after — characters come and go, births, deaths and hospital visits are abundant and unrequited love reigns supreme. Friday’s season four opener was no exception: A, B and C plots alike boomed with drama and new plot twists.
We also meet Adam (Tyler Posey), a bad boy artist from Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) past who promises to stir up a perfect love triangle along with Jane’s baby daddy and ex-boyfriend, Rafael (Justin Baldoni). Plus, there’s a new face playing her 4-year-old son, Mateo (Elias Janssen, who also plays Mindy Lahiri’s son on The Mindy Project, for those keeping score at home).
But for all the new additions and twists to come this season, a simple scene toward the end tied together the greatest strength Jane the Virgin has to offer — and has been offering since its pilot.
Jane sat on her front porch between her mother, Xiomara (Andrea Navedo), and grandmother, Alba (Ivonne Coll). The topic turns to sex — specifically the fact that Xiomara, long-known as the promiscuous one of the family, hasn’t been having any.
It’s Xiomara’s candor in front of her own mother, a traditional conservative Catholic, and Jane, whose religion-based abstinence was the initial premise for the show, that makes Jane the Virgin special.
The fact that three women from three generations with differing religious beliefs and feelings toward sex can sit together and discuss those topics while remaining kind, respectful and loving toward each other any less is rare and powerful across any entertainment platform.
It’s a reminder that we don’t often see in 2017 and one we desperately need to hear: It’s not only possible but essential to keep dialogue open and respect others’ differing ideas.
The interesting thing about Jane the Virgin is the fact that it’s speaking to a demographic — dominantly between ages 18 and 24 — that is far less likely to be religious and far more likely to be open about sexuality than any past generation.
Creating this show was a risk to begin with. There’s no shortage of drama-filled entertainment for millennial-aged viewers to consume. What do they have to gain from a show that discusses topics that may very well have no effect on their day-to-day lives?
Aside from tremendously creative and funny writing, the answer is a new perspective. Though they’re also indulging in the soap opera-y romances and dramatic drug cartel investigations, viewers get to see a young woman who is smart, strong, funny, capable but most importantly, one who thinks differently.