Here’s How A TV Series About Latinos Can Succeed Without Pushing Stereotypes
The CW announced in January that “Jane the Virgin” is being renewed for a fourth season. WOOT! Actually, the show got an early renewal notice, which is a testament to the show’s popularity and success. WOOT! WOOT!
It’s no surprise that the show gets a lot of support from Latinos, but actor Jamie Camil believes the show’s true appeal and longevity has a lot to do with its universality.
“The success of Jane is that it’s about human beings, not necessarily a surging demographic,” Camil, who plays Jane’s dad Rogelio, recently told Mic in an interview. “It’s by human beings, for human beings, not just [people of] a certain ethnicity.”
Wait, stop the presses! So, it’s a show about Latinos that isn’t just for Latinos?! Is that even allowed?! You wouldn’t think that wouldn’t be such a revolutionary concept, but it is.
The show, which manages to somehow stay relatable while being broad and sometimes preposterous like any good telenovela, does not pander to the tired Latino stereotypes we’re all so sick of seeing on TV and in the movies.
Instead “‘Jane the Virgin’ portrays Latinos with a lot of respect,” Camil explains. “Just because we’re Latinos doesn’t mean we need to have hot pink houses and piñatas and shout things like, ‘Tacos! Fiestas!’ We’re a powerful Latino cast, the characters are humans and the show is written for a mainstream market.”
The respect in the depiction of Latinos that Camil talks about is evident in his portrayal of Rogelio. Rogelio could so easily come off as a self-centered buffoon, but Camil plays the character with so much nuance, depth and sincerity that you can’t help but fall in love with him. “The audience loves to laugh at the one-liners written for him,” Camil acknowledges, but he goes on to say that Rogelio is a “very well-balanced character. He’s not just a clown who will throw pies at your face.”