Jane the Virgin has always been known for bringing the drama.
So when they introduced Xo’s breast cancer plot line it wasn’t a shock — but it was a disappointment.
In all fairness, Jane the Virgin has handled the big “c” with as much grace as possible — certainly much more than other shows (which shall remain nameless). And the story was actually inspired by showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and her own experiences. She told Vulture,
“I had originally thought about the story last year. My mom had breast cancer twice (though this is not her story), and so we had talked about it in the room lightly…And then it came back up in the room this year and we decided to do the story.”
That’s all well and good but at the end of the day, I just cannot get on board with Xo having cancer. In fact, I can’t get on board with any TV character getting cancer.
Cancer is not a plot line. It’s not something you just throw in there for drama. You can’t just use it for one season and then forget about it. Because the truth is, you never forget about cancer. It’s not something you just move on from, even if you go into remission.
This is a particularly sensitive topic for me since my father died of cancer. And 12 years later, we are still dealing with it. Once cancer enters your life, it’s there to stay.
I don’t appreciate TV shows using cancer so casually. For me, it just crosses the line.
I realize that Jane the Virgin is a telenovela adapted for an American audience. And they’ve certainly thrown in every plot line you can think of — a secret twin sister, an accidental insemination, many deaths, a long lost father, illegal immigration, and so much more.
Yes, I know some of these are much more serious than others, and certainly the cancer plotline is not out of character for the show. I know I’m particularly sensitive to this because of my past and perhaps Jane the Virgin will continue to treat this storyline with dignity. I just hope they don’t make it a one-and-done kind of situation. Because in real life, this is something that would haunt Xo and her family for the rest of her life, even if she does go into remission.