Not too long ago, I had some extra time on my hands (probably created through the avoidance of homework), and, much like this fellow, thought:
So, looking for something to do, I grabbed a snack and decided to give a new show a try. I settled on Jane the Virgin, a comedy on the CW with a ridiculous but intriguing premise: Jane Villanueva is a young twenty-something living in Maimi with her mother and grandmother. She works hard, has a committed relationship with her detective boyfriend (with whom she is waiting to have sex until marriage), and has a complicated but loving relationship with her family.
Her orderly life is shattered, however, when her gynecologist accidentally artificially inseminates her during her annual check-up. To make matters more complicated, the sperm belongs to her former crush, the young owner of the hotel at which Jane works. Unsurprisingly, serious drama (and lots of comedy) ensues!
Now, when I first heard of this show, I was skeptical. A soap opera plot? On the CW, of all channels? That does NOT sound like my cup of tea! But after settling in to the pilot, I immediately fell in love. Here are nine reasons why you have no excuse not to marathon Jane the Virgin on your long weekend:
1. It’s a funny, smart, diverse comedy.
2. It plays with the telenovela format (it is based on a Venezuelan telenovela) in a way that affectionately teases but does not make fun.
3. The show really commits to it’s telenovela plotting, complete with affairs, secret identities, love triangles, and ridiculously dramatic deaths (impalement on an ice statue and getting buried alive in cement probably take the cake for this one)–not to mention, you know, the premise.
4. In doing so, though, it never takes itself too seriously, making it seriously fun. As Brenda Salinas notes (above), “Jane the Virgin is a compelling show because it doesn’t feel ridiculous – while also being totally ridiculous.”
5. In fact, each episode is titled with a chapter number (the first episode is “Chapter 1”) and is narrated by a snarky, all-knowing (but unspecified) narration, emphasizing the fictionality of the show.
6. Diversity is incorporated naturally into the show. Queer characters might be antagonists, but their queerness isn’t a signifier of their position as baddies. Furthermore, characters regularly speak Spanish (with English subtitles), and this is incorporated effortlessly. The protagonist and many supporting characters are Latina, providing representation seen absurdly rarely on television today. As Gina Rodriguez notes in her beautiful Golden Globe speech, this is so, so important.
7. Jane is, ultimately, a character who knows herself, who follows her heart and does what is right for her while still taking into consideration those she cares most deeply for. Gina Rodriguez does a beautiful, truthful job portraying a complicated, real character.
8. The writers aren’t afraid to tackle about the complicated relationship between Catholicism and women’s sexuality.
9. It’s a show that, at it’s core, is about family and following your heart and finding yourself.