TV is so full of tired, boring stories about people who get accidentally pregnant that it’s easy to initially write off Jane the Virgin as another yawn-worthy take on a subject that’s been done to death.
But here’s the thing: this show is genuinely funny, moving, clever, and not at all tired. I’m pretty sure it’s helped me recapture the spirit of early love and think about how important family is and not just because I’ve been watching it to survive finals and I’m already in an emotionally compromised position.
If you’ve been waffling over whether this show is for you, let me lay out some of my favorite aspects and see if they appeal to you (and it should be noted that they will).
- The narrator: There’s a voiceover for this show (I know) but it’s not one of the characters! He’s his own thing. My Netflix subtitle calls him the “Latin Lover Narrator,” and he’s basically an accented fellow talking in a sexy voice, sometimes giving us new bits of information, sometimes being surprised by the wacky things characters are doing. One of my favorite instances was when one character who was acting devious came clean and the narrator was as shocked as I was: “Oh man. I completely misread that situation.”
- Jane: Despite the fact that she promised to save herself for marriage, which can seem awfully naive and eye-roll worthy to a modern audience, she’s still smart, fierce, and dedicated to her goals. This is not a woman who is an innocent young flower and the show makes a good case that you shouldn’t judge what someone wants to do with their virginity. Jane is funny and sarcastic and is great at calling out people on their bullshit. She also cries super convincingly, which is a feat in and of itself.
- The meta telenovela aspect: There’s a lot of drama going on in this show. Accidental pregnancy by artificial insemination. Murders and drug lords. Jane finally meeting her father after 23 years. But the missing father is also a telenovela star of a ridiculous show and whenever things threaten to get too melodramatic, the show winks (metaphorically) to let you know it’s in on the joke.
- The female characters’ relationships: If you want to watch TV that passes the Bechdel test, try this show. Jane lives with her mother and grandmother and it’s great to watch the three of them navigate their own individual problems and personality conflicts. It’s also great that they all boost each other up. Jane can always go to her mother or her abuela when she’s struggling, and they can talk to her, too. It’s so refreshing to see these strong female relationships that are never torn down by stupid jokes and stereotypes.
There are about a billion more reasons you should watch the show (Jane wants to write romance novels and has no pretension of so-called serious literature; her dad is hilariously obsessed with Twitter; the way the show literally writes things across the screen for you; the way it humanizes anyone who starts out as a bad guy; so on and into infinitum) but I’ll leave it at that. Just trust me, it’s not some stupid joke about a girl being pregnant and it’s not even entirely baby obsessed. There are other things to worry about too, much like in life. Watch the damn show.
Header image via The CW