I am so in love with this show.
I vaguely recall hearing the premise sometime over the summer, and thinking it was the worst-sounding thing I had ever heard. Jane, a student teacher working part-time at a hotel to pay her bills, is accidentally artificially inseminated by her doctor, and decides to keep the baby. Wackiness ensues.
Yeah, it definitely didn't sound like the show for me. But after hearing other people gasp about how amazing it was, I finally gave it a try this weekend. And now I can't wait for the next episode to air.
This show is pure fun. It's styled like a telenovella, complete with sweeping moments of romance, evil schemers and insane plot twists. Listing the events out of context makes it seem beyond ridiculous, but the combination of the cheery adorable vibe, the amazing acting and the winsome narrator somehow sells it in the context of the show. You'll gasp in shock and laugh in delight and generally be totally taken in.
And when things get serious, they get serious. Although the events of the show are consistently over-the-top, the emotions are spot on. Gina Rodriguez is particularly noteworthy as Jane, but all the actors absolutely nail every scene. The circumstances may be ridiculous, but the characters feel real, and you will laugh with them, and cry with them, and swoon with them too.
I'm not qualified to comment on how well done (or not well done) the show's diversity is, but it seems good. Most of the main characters are Latina, including three generations of Jane's family, and the show itself is bilingual, with Jane's grandmother talking exclusively in Spanish.
Although hotel boss Rafael's wife is the stereotypical scheming evil wife, she's clearly presented as a caricature, and she's the exception in a cast of varied and compelling female characters. Jane, her mother and her grandmother are all very different characters with very different experiences and values, and their family dynamic is one of the highlights of the show. The supporting cast is also full of lively, diverse female characters who are easy to love.
I've seen wary people comment that the show seems like a preachy, pro-life tale, but it isn't that at all. Jane is Catholic, and her religion does play a part in the story, but in a very genuine-feeling, compelling way. It's as pro-choice as shows come -- presenting different possibilities and their challenges and exploring what is right for this character in particular. And when Jane chooses to keep the baby, the decision comes from various story reasons -- morality is never even mentioned.
The great thing about the show is how positive it is. Emotions run high, thanks to the telenovella-esque situations, but the people themselves almost exclusively mean well, leading to some wonderful heartwarming moments. Jane's father, in particular, is shallow and overdramatic with everything he does, and so seemingly insincere, but he has a good heart with it. No matter how ill-conceived his actions might be, there's something genuine and sweet behind them. People betray one another, they hurt one another, they keep secrets and get caught in ever-tangling webs of lies, but they still feel like people we can like and root for -- which is, I think, key in getting behind the telenovella concept.
Tear-jerking moments aside, Jane the Virgin is pure joy in TV form. With compelling characters, laugh-out-loud situations, swoon-worthy romance and a general conveyer of warm fuzzy feelings, Jane the Virgin is must-watch feminist TV. Trust me. The only reason to not watch it right now would be to build up more episodes to marathon later, since once you start, you won't want to stop. But why do that, when you can watch six episodes of this sweet, hilarious awesomeness right now?
Gogogo watch. All the episodes are currently on Hulu.