Riley Heruska
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The story of Jane Villanueva, the honest and hard-working protagonist of Jane the Virgin, sounds incredibly over the top. Seriously, the premise of the show practically screams “ridiculous telenovela.” Don’t believe me? Well, Jane, who has made a vow to save her virginity for marriage, is accidentally inseminated with the sperm of a man she once had a crush on. This causes issues with her family, and more prominently, with her current fiance. So, yes, there’s a love triangle. I can practically hear you rolling your eyes, but wait, there’s more. Jane then meets her father for the first time, becomes involved with a ring of criminal drug lords, and attempts to write a romance novel while carrying the child of a man she’s never had sex with.

In a nutshell, the plot is insane and completely implausible… so why does this comedy-drama have an amazing score on Rotten Tomatoes and millions of fans across the country, as well as a handful of awards?

Character Development

In a world of Walter Whites and generally dishonest television characters, it’s rare to stumble across one who is full of candid sincerity. Jane’s loyalty to those she loves, as well as her own morals, makes her an extremely refreshing character. She’s well-developed and quirky, as are the other members of the show’s entertaining cast. Gina Rodriguez plays Jane’s character beautifully, and if I’m going to be quite frank, she makes the show the gem that it is.

Strong Writing

Jane the Virgin is narrated by an amusing, romantic third-person, who seems to be watching the show along with us. His little quips about the characters bring humor to even the most morbid scenes, and it feels as though we are watching a parody and a drama at the same time. The writers also include utterly perfect transitions between the different characters’ stories, wittily tying everything together. As critic Josh Bell said in Las Vegas Weekly, the writing is “both cleverly self-aware and unabashedly emotional.”

The Absurdity That Somehow Doesn’t Seem Absurd  

Yes, the concept of a virgin giving birth outside of a religious text seem ridiculous, as do many of the plot developments that occur throughout this show. Over the course of three seasons, Jane the Virgin only gets crazier, and yet somehow it works. From mysterious family pasts to gruesome murders, anything seems to fly on this show, and yet the writers spin every plot-twist with good humor.

Social Commentaries

Jane’s grandparents moved to America from Venezuela, and the show is jam packed with cultural references, Spanish, and even a few heated discussions regarding immigration. Political commentary certainly isn’t the main focus of the dramadey, but the undertones are there. There are also beautifully interwoven themes of feminism in the plot as Jane struggles to create a career for herself while balancing a surprise pregnancy and motherhood. The show’s self-awareness and ability to subtly reference controversial social concepts points to its brilliancy.

It’s Funny

The show is extremely satirical as it makes light of a wide range of events, from kidnappings to dirty diapers. As a loose adaptation of a real telenovela (Juana la Virgen in Venezuela), Jane the Virgin simultaneously mocks and pays homage to the classic Spanish soap operas. You can’t help but laugh at the sticky situations Jane constantly finds herself in, and the added graphic effects and ever-present narrator only add to the delightful humor.

Jane the Virgin first aired on The CW back in 2014, but luckily for you, the first two seasons are now on Netflix. Rumor has it that season three might make an appearance there in the coming months. Therefore, you have no excuse not to enjoy the hilarity from the comfort of your home and your comfiest sweatpants. Warning: there’s a strong possibility that you’ll find yourself avidly addicted to the show as soon as you begin, so you might want to prepare your friends and family for your impending absence from social gatherings. 

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