On Jane the Virgin, Jane somehow still has the keyboard click sounds activated on her phone, which would suggest that she’s a variety of monster that the show has given us no other evidence to support.
There are countless close-but-not-quite phone operating systems that will happily distract you with their unrealistic layouts and implausible notifications.
It’s intercut with shots of Jane, who watches Raf texting her with the three telltale i Message bubbles, and who never sees the unsent “I love you.” The unknowability of someone else’s mind is one of the deepest frustrations (and reliefs) of being a person, and it’s one of fiction’s strongest appeals, especially in a romantic-comedy genre.
It’s a perfect romantic comedy setup — two people sitting together at a table, being interrupted by outside voices in a way that’s lightly funny.
One of the chief appeals, though, is the sense that there are rules and set expectations for how exactly a courtship works: chaperones, calling hours, and, of course, correspondence.
In life, those rules were likely as ambiguous as any similarly universal dating rules feel now.
Two people (romance) moves to four people (comedy) and then back to romance again.
It’s also an ideal way to introduce the tension side of any romantic story — what better way to represent the conflict of a love triangle than two people in a room together, with one person receiving text messages from a third character?
My favorite of these is the onscreen edited text message, where we watch a character type, delete, and then retype something else.