Weekly Review: Jane the Virgin (Season 1)

When Jane was a young girl, she made a vow of chastity. Now, at the age of 23, Jane has kept that vow, and her life is going according to her plan. This all changes when she’s accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine visit with the gynecologist.

This review will cover the first season of The CW drama Jane the Virgin which aired during the 2014-2015 television season.

The plot of this show is ridiculous. It’s over the top, coated in fantasy, and extremely difficult to explain. At the same time, it’s also fantastic.

I’m very glad that I took the time to sit down and experience this series because I was definitely missing out. I’d heard a lot of really great things, particularly concerning Gina Rodriguez’s performance as the titular character Jane. Rodriguez has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the show twice, and she took home a Golden Globe in 2015. She’s a very refreshing actress to see on screen. She’s very real, very relatable.

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The first thing to point out about Jane the Virgin is that it’s somewhat of a satire. The series takes the format of a melodrama or telenovela, and it pokes fun at itself from time to time when things get really, well, dramatic. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen on American television in a while, and that’s the real draw of it.

Personally, I watch a lot of melodramas. While telenovelas aren’t usually my thing, I do watch a lot of Korean dramas, so the format isn’t all that new to me. Coming from someone who is accustomed to the drama, there are points where I find myself frustrated with Jane for being so gosh darn normal. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, seeing the ridiculous events occurring all around Jane, but still seeing her treat it as a regular person would.

At this point, it’s probably necessary to go into a little more detail about some of the things that you would see throughout the season. There’s the accidental artificial insemination, of course. We have extreme instances of “it’s a small world” where all of the main characters meet up inexplicably. Make ups, break ups, make ups and break ups. We have evil ex-wives, international drug dealers, murder, revenge and deceit. It’s hard to imagine how our main character would be able to maintain her composure as all of this develops around her, but she does, and that’s part of the show’s charm.

Leading further into the slightly satirical aspect of Jane the Virgin, there is a wonderful narrator (Anthony Mendez) throughout the series. This narration is third person omniscient, meaning that the narrator is basically us, but with background knowledge. The narration is funny and entertaining, and it works this way because it’s witty and meta, and the narrator actually gets excited or shocked when things happen.

On top of that, a lot of the characters are connected while watching the same telenovela. This is a nice nod to the overall format of the show, reminding the viewer that it’s all just television. It’s one of the main ways that the show pokes fun at itself, and I find it incredibly clever.

Normally, I would go into a little detail about what happens in the show, but it’s impossible to do that without giving away any of the surprises, twists and turns. I’ve included a trailer at the end of this review that does a good job of summing up the main plot points. I will say that I was a little worried how the show would progress past that point since a large aspect of it is that Jane is a pregnant virgin. What will happen after Jane gives birth?

While I’ve only seen the first season, I think I can safely say that the show won’t lack any of its drama moving forward into the second season. It will just be a little different. I’m not so sure if this difference will keep fans satisfied though. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see season 2 for quite some time in order to know if that statement is accurate.

Overall, I definitely recommend Jane the Virgin. It’s a type of show that I don’t typically see on American television, and I think it’s pretty great. Season 1 is currently available on Netflix streaming, and season 2 is currently airing on The CW. Do check it out if you’re interested.

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