Jane the Virgin is a telenovela-esque show that centers around Jane Villanueva, a young woman who finds herself accidentally artificially impregnated after a major mishap at her OB-GYN. Jane has spent her entire life determined not to lead the same life as her mother, who had Jane when she was a teenager. Jane’s abuela (grandma) is a devout Catholic and makes Jane promise to be celibate until marriage, partially so she will go down the same path her mom did.
When we meet Jane, she has her life on track: she is engaged to her boyfriend Michael, and is about to start graduate school. But once she realizes that she is pregnant with the child of rich and handsome Raphael (who was her teenage crush), her whole world turns upside down. Here are just a few reasons why you should follow the adventures and shenanigans of Jane (and become as unhealthy emotionally invested in the show as I am)!
1. ALLLL the Strong Female Leads
Jane Gloriana Villanueva is the quintessential contemporary strong female character. Although she did not grow up with much, she worked hard in school and got perfect grades, so that she could one day pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She is extremely determined and not afraid to speak her mind, or step on some toes to get what she wants. Jane is more than capable of accomplishing her goals, but she also knows when she needs to be vulnerable and ask for help. She is able to balance being a mom, a caring friend, and her writing career with grace and is (mostly) successful. But even when she fails, she knows that her family and friends will be there to support her.
2. It Goes Where Other Shows Won’t
Even though JTV is primarily a telenovela and comedy (which means looots of drama, an evil twin sister, and a narcissistic narrator), it is not afraid to get #deep and speak up about important social issues. For instance, in one of the latest episodes, Jane and Raphael argue about where they should send their son to school. Jane is upset at the lack of funding for public schools in their area, and points out how unfair it is that only schools in wealthy areas have sufficient funding.
There is also an episode about Jane’s abuela, Alba’s, status as an undocumented immigrant, and how difficult it was for her to apply for her green card. The show’s creator, Jennie Snyder Urman, said that the writers “feel a responsibility to react to this presidency,” and discuss immigration. As a show that has always had empathy at its core, it wants “people to look at people, not positions.”
3. It’s Realistic
In sharp contrast from Manhattan’s Elite on the Upper East side, Jane and her family live very modest lives. They share a three-bedroom ranch style home, and have a very down-to-earth standard of living. Jane takes the bus everywhere, and in the beginning of the show, there is frequent talk of student loans and debt. Although Rafael is introduced as an affluent party boy living in the lap of luxury, it is made clear that his wealth is not always stable. By depicting financial problems that everyday people struggle with, the show becomes even more relatable and easy to empathize with.
4. Girl Power
The Villanueva women are there for each other through it all. Even though they may go through a few rough patches, they all know that they can always count on one another for unconditional love and support. Some of the most poignant scenes are when the three of them are talking on their front porch swing, working out their differences or just reassuring one another.
5. La Fuerza Latina
According to a report from the website “Women in Hollywood”, only 5% of characters in the 2016-17 TV seasons were Latina and had speaking roles. Not only does JTV have three main characters who are all strong, Latina women, but it also offers insight into other cultural aspects. For example, Alba speaks only in Spanish, yet still plays a vital role in the show. Additionally, watching telenovelas together is something that brings Jane, her mom, and Alba together, no matter what might being going on in their lives. The show presents Latina culture in both an empowering and accessible way, which is something that TV networks need a lot more of.
Season Four of Jane the Virgin is now airing on the CW– catch new episodes Fridays at 9/8c!