So I’ve been seeing a lot of hype swirling around The CW’s newest hit series Jane the Virgin. The lead actress Gina Rodriguez even won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series- Musical or Comedy. So I was curious as to what it was about. I’ll admit when I first saw the promos for it back in the summer/fall. I was like what? a pregnant virgin? and that title….is stupid. What the heck? She was artificially inseminated by accident? What? How is this even going to work? Are you just going to ask me to suspend reality, here? (Something I’m totally cool with by the way…so I was IN.)
So the other day I found myself bored and so I checked my on demand and there they were episodes of Jane the Virgin, right there in front of me. Waiting to be watched. So I dove in. And man oh man was I impressed.
Jane the Virgin was loosely adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela. Which explains a lot; namely the many artistic liberties they take when it comes to storytelling.
I’m not going to give too much away, but I will tell you that there are twists and turns every single episode. You will not see them coming. Even all my years of watching soap operas, haven’t prepared me for this.
The formula they use for this show, is really very unique. I personally haven’t really seen it done. They basically throw you in this weird unrealistic situation and make it believable. It’s basically a more modernized telenovela/soap opera showcased in the form of a TV comedy drama series. In fact each episode is a chapter. Like in a romance novel.
The story is set in Miami, and follows Jane Gloriana Villanueva. Jane is a 23 year old woman studying to become a teacher when she really dreams of being a writer. She works part time as a waitress for a snazzy hotel with her friends, is dating an adorable cop, and is surrounded by a loving yet strictly religious grandmother and very promiscuous yet loving mother. Jane is a Latina, with a strong religious upbringing. Her grandmother only speaks Spanish, and we can read her words through English subtitles. Jane and her family love their telenovela. And they sit and watch it together as she falls into the story, eating up every word. You can tell she loves them. Little did she know she’d soon be living her very own version of one.
The Spanish culture is subtle yet rich. I don’t find it obnoxiously stereotypical like some TV shows can be. I really appreciate it, because I’m part Puerto Rican and I didn’t grow up learning to speak Spanish, but I wish I did. So this show kind of gives me this taste of a part of my culture, and I feel a connection to it. And I mean Jane wants to be a writer, so right there, I knew I could relate to her on some human level.
There’s also “stats” that show up on the screen accompanied by the sound of a type writer as the words spell out character backgrounds. Every time a new character is introduced it’s like a pause comes over and the words scroll across supplying you with the information you need. It sounds weird but it’s actually very cool, and not annoying or disruptive at all. You have to watch it to understand. This technique is also used to share the characters inner secrets and struggles to the audience. The show also has a voice over/narrator with a heavy Spanish accent that tells you the story from the very beginning and keeps you clued into the ever changing developments. He’s actually quite funny and makes me laugh. Often times they have flashbacks to when Jane was young, explaining why the current situation is the current situation and where certain feelings and actions stem from.
Moving onto the character development. Each character has a colorful past, and many layers to them. Jane herself is known as the all-around good girl, which instantly makes her likeable. She has a sweet face and a kind heart and you just feel good watching her. You feel for her, when this extreme event gets thrown into her lap… pun intended. Because she was in no way expecting this, at all…hence she’s a virgin who has been saving herself for her future husband. Basically trying to do everything right, to avoid any derailments in her life timeline. And yet boom the train goes off the track. But how she handles it all really shows that this character has potential to be a healthy, positive role model for young girls. Watch Gina Rodriguez’s inspirational acceptance speech.
But of course the father of the baby has his own crazy story and his identity comes as a surprise to Jane too. And is a very sexy surprise for the audience as well. Our eyes thank you.Anyway what I really love about the character of Jane is that she’s got her beliefs and she doesn’t let anyone or anything shake them. In fact her conscience follows her, and they display it in certain scenes where she thinks she sees one thing but it’s really something else. It’s like a small hallucination, to make sure she always does the right thing. Lying doesn’t come naturally to her. She can’t keep things from her family. She’s kind-hearted, she’s smart, she’s driven. And she’s beautiful but it’s a very natural beauty. She’s never overdone, but she always looks amazing. And she is not a skinny mini. She’s got a curvy figure. Which is absolutely accurate, 1) because Latina girls have curves people. And 2) she’s going to be pregnant for 9 months. So her being skinny mini on either account would be unbelievable. Well the whole scenario of her being a virgin and then randomly getting pregnant due to an accidental artificial insemination, is extremely unbelievable. But somehow this show makes it work. They make it human, and you just let it be.
I don’t know watching it I just felt like once you get past the weird factor you just dive into the story. And every character is a shock, they all relate to each other is some strange way. It’s a really cool story, a really cool formula, and a really interesting concept. And the writing mixture of wit and drama is beautiful. It’s so heavy the things Jane has the go through and how many twists and turns get thrown at her and in her way, but they keep it light somehow. And she remains likeable because she always tries to be kind in her attempts. Her intention is always good.
The acting just works, all the characters fit and it just works. There’s good chemistry and that’s a huge TV perk. Never the less it’s no surprise that this pregnancy is going to weigh on Jane’s relationship with her cop boyfriend, especially when the baby’s father wants to be involved in her pregnancy. I mean can you blame him? It’s human. Thus snowballing into a possible love triangle? It’s a writer’s dream when your audience starts lobbying for their chosen sides. Those reactions and initiating of teams are just proof that you’re doing something right. You’re drawing the audience in.
I just found out that on January 15, 2015, Jane the Virgin was already renewed for a second Season. So cheers to more drama, more laughs, and more beautiful moments with Rafael. Because let’s be honest he is abnormally gorgeous. Team Rafael (baby daddy) right here. A family should stay together, no matter how random or unexpected the pairing was. Although I do feel for Michael (cop bf), poor guy loves her so much. So much has happened to and between these characters, and it’s only the first season. But as storytelling goes, I am sure there’s definitely more love triangle potential in the future of the show. Watching it, I was reminded of Fox’s Ugly Betty, which I loved. And I literally said that and then two seconds later the dad from Ugly Betty popped on screen as Jane’s priest! Small world!
Jane the Virgin in currently on YouTube, Free on demand, Hulu, and The CWtv website.
However, I just started watching few days ago and tonight the show is on Episode 11/ Chapter 11. The websites and on demand do not have all the episodes up though. Just a select few. So I resorted to watching the first 4 on demand, then watching the rest on various YouTube accounts, which was a pain in the butt, because the subtitles were cut out of the frame, so I couldn’t understand what Abuela was saying!!!! But I got through it and I basically got all caught up! Except for Episode 8, I cannot find it anywhere, I have watched everything before it and after it, so I know what’s going on. But I would still like to watch the episode. Anybody have any links, no downloads or payment fees though. 😉
Jane the Virgin airs Mondays @ 9pm on The CW.
Super excited for the next chapter!
* I take no credit for any images used. *