Today I finished watching all of the currently aired episodes of Jane The Virgin, having started watching on Thursday. I’ve been intrigued to watch it for the past few weeks due mostly to the pretty much universal critical acclaim that it has been getting. I’m not too sure if it quite deserves all of the acclaim that it’s getting, but it’s addictive enough to watch until 1am when I have to get up for work at 7am (and I love my sleep. If I don’t get a solid 7 hours I’m a mess for the day. Which I am. Sorry for the poor writing that may result) and for a freshman series is already impressively well formed.
The first time I heard about Jane The Virgin was online and I brushed it off because it’s on The CW and there’s a reason that the CW hadn’t previously won any awards (fun fact: I used to have two 90210 posters). The second time I heard about Jane The Virgin was when my friend told me that it is the single worst premise she had ever heard of. In case you hadn’t heard of the premise: virgin gets accidentally artificially inseminated. What a terrible premise! It would just be abortion then settlement.
Also the promo is awful.
In fact, all of the promos are awful. Every week. Just awful. Why do they pitch it as a *scratches record* whhaaaa?! traditional sitcom.
There is no way around the premise. It’s a pretty bad premise on the surface. However, it’s made in the style of a telenovela which means that it is allowed to get away with a lot. Most of the plot points are just straight up soapy ridiculous which I love as they are so soapy and so ridiculous and so cheesy. If you like any type of soap or other soapy ridiculous show (I do. I watch Neighbours and Greys Anatomy and previously watched Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty and enjoy/ed them all immensely) then you will probably like this. It’s fun and relationship driven. And hysterical!
Maybe not actually hysterical. The lines of comedy are pretty blurred at the moment. Looking at the Golden Globes nominees, the shows that are considered “comedy (or musical)” are Girls, Jane The Virgin, Orange Is The New Black, Silicon Valley and Transparent. None of these shows are outright hysterical. There are funnier shows out there, written by comedy writers where comedy and laughs are the main driving force of the series. All of the nominees here, save Silicon Valley, fit more as “dramedy” and while they do have their funny moments, the jokes or whatever don’t have me coming back week after week. The comedy certainly doesn’t sell Jane The Virgin. It’s fun, but without the relationships and hella crazy storylines, the humour really isn’t enough to bring viewers in and I resent that it was nominated in the comedy category over, say, Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Comedy Central’s increasingly strong line-up (another note: the reason I started watching Jane was because I was on a high after watching Broad City and thought “why not?!”).
I was really sold on the series at the end of the second episode which is the best end of an episode tableau in a long time, if not ever.
[I can’t find a picture]
In short, the character that was the baby daddy’s best friend and was sleeping with baby daddy’s wife was killed by being impaled on an ice sculpture.
The midseason finale’s final scene was also strong, with “wheelchair-bound” scarfaced mother of baby daddy’s wife pushed Jane’s Abuela down the stairs.
I don’t know if I’m terrible but when she was pushed down the stairs I was just in absolute hysterics. So soapy and ridiculous. There is a reason that the telenovela is apparently the world’s most popular type of TV show.
I’ve been writing for long enough without writing about the truly good thing about Jane The Virgin: the cast. And, I guess, the central relationships. I’m pleased that Gina Rodriguez has been recognised for her acting as she really is great (though not as great as Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback which I hope she wins all the awards for as she was just phenomenal and I’m guessing and hoping that she wasn’t nominated as its air date meant that she missed eligibility for the Globes) and brings a lot to the role and makes the audience really like and root for Jane. The actresses for the mother and abuela also bring a lot to their roles and credit to the writers as well for making these characters feel very lived-in, believable and multidimensional and the chemistry between these characters is very palpable. What a lovely family. I wish I was Latino if this is what the Latino life entails. The male characters are also fine. Fun. Attractive. And baby daddy’s wife is a fun villain with enough depth to not be too cartoony. Enough on character. All the thumbs up to Gina Rodriguez.
Here are some minor plot/style points that I’ll write about in no particular order because to hell with structure!
There are a lot of storylines. Admittedly, I’ve been watching it a lot while like cooking or sorting my underwear, but between the main miraculous virgin, relationship dramas, Jane meeting her father, her mother and father maybe having a thing, the police investigation – Sin Rostro or whatever, Petra being Natalia really and her and her mother being in the Serbian mafia or something, Petra getting together with the vice president of the hotels, Rafael’s sister’s medical malpractice suit and then being committed, Rafael’s sister’s affair with her stepmother, the whole of Rafael’s family, and then the Jane’s father as telenovela star whole other world. Whenever you look away from the screen and back there’s always a fun surprise and who knows what’s going on?!
The whole dealing of the accidental insemination has on the whole been done really well. There was drama and, thankfully, there’s been a lot of laughs with it. “Shouldn’t you have talked about this before coming for a sonogram?!” “I was accidentally artificially inseminated.” “Oh.”
I’m not as convinced by the telenovela unreality of the glow around Rafael’s head when Jane may have a thing for him and the on screen actual electric sparks between two people who are well suited. Woo woo. It’s not terrible, and I suppose that personally I’m all for it, but in TV serious world it isn’t quite worth the effort.
The on-screen writing is very good. One of my favourites is that Jane’s mother’s two favourite things are Jane and Paulina Rubio. How do I know Paulina Rubio? From that summer I got really into Eurodance and came across this beautiful song and video:
I would also be that obsessed with Paulina Rubio. Paulina Rubio turns up in episode 9. Gotta love a guest star!
ACID IN THE FACE! Love an acid in the face story.
To summarise: Jane The Virgin is a fun show. It’s a solid show. It has a good cast. It’s annoying at times and I’d say is overhyped, even though I do enjoy it. However, the premise really doesn’t get in the way of the good parts of the show and any foibles that you may have with the premise is handled well, though do suspend disbelief and keep in mind that it’s a telenovela. Ridiculous! Hysterical! Morals! Love! Class! Relationships! Life! Lololol!
7/10. Will watch weekly while cooking. It’s got heart, and momentarily makes me feel like I do too. (2016 update: my love for this show has only grown)