If you’ve read my other articles, you may have noticed that I like to watch a few/lot of TV series on Netflix. I’ve had my fair share of binge watching, but out of all the shows I’ve seen so far, The CW’s Jane the Virgin is definitely my favorite.
Before I explain exactly what makes this show so brilliantly amazing, here is a summary of the show: Jane the Virgin is about a 25 year old young woman named Jane Gloriana Villanueva who lives in Florida with her mother, Xiomara, and her grandmother, Alba. The pilot episode opens up with a flashback of Jane and Alba when Jane was a child. Alba gives Jane a flower, and tells her to crumple it with her hand, then to try and make it look new again.
With this demonstration, Alba is trying to teach Jane how important it is to keep her virginity– once it has been taken, it can’t be brought back. Alba makes Jane promise to save sex for marriage and she agrees. This flower lesson sticks with Jane throughout her life, up until the present day. In the first episode, Jane goes to the doctor’s to get a pap smear and instead ends up being artificially inseminated. The rest of the show focuses on Jane’s unusual sticky situation and how she deals with being a pregnant virgin. There are more plots involved in the show, but Jane’s unusual pregnancy is the main focus of the series.
When I first heard about Jane the Virgin, I wasn’t sure whether to watch it or not. I completely agree with the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but the name of the show kind of threw me off. The title of the series is so simple, I had no idea what to expect. After some prodding from my friend, I finally decided to watch the first episode one Friday night. And like how most binge-watching goes, once I started, I couldn’t stop. And here is why:
1. The characters are all very realistic.
Sometimes a TV show can be a turnoff if the characters are portrayed in a false light (they seem too evil, joyous, selfish, etc.) But what I really love about the cast of JTV is that all of the characters feel like real people you’d meet in public. All of them have strengths and weaknesses which are reflected beautifully in the show. They don’t always get along with each other– in fact, there are numerous fights and fallouts in the series. This adds to the reality of the show makes you believe they’re real people and not simply fictitious characters.
2. The plot contains a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, tragedy, drama, and comedy.
It’s easy for a show to become annoying when it overdoes a theme. However, another aspect that’s so likeable about Jane The Virgin is it has a bit of everything! Every episode has a taste of romance, some mystery, and since it’s supposed to be a telenovela (which is a Spanish version of a soap opera), there’s always some dramatic cliffhangers! I don’t believe there’s ever a dull moment in the show. The combination of the various themes makes it a show that nearly everyone can watch and enjoy.
3. The show takes place in present day, and often brings attention to modern issues, like immigration laws in the United States.
While the overall show is very laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts funny, there are moments where the tone switches from humorous to very serious. *A bit of a spoiler, but in the show Jane’s grandmother is an undocumented immigrant. This becomes an issue when she has to go to the hospital, and instead of brushing over this problem, the narrator pauses the show and tells viewers to read more about immigration reform. I think this is a brilliant way to catch people’s attention about modern day problems that they might not know a lot about!
4. Gina Rodriguez gives a lot of depth to Jane’s character, making her incredibly charming and relatable.
In some shows I feel like the actors aren’t fully embracing their character, and it’s easy to separate the actor from the person they’re playing. I’m happy to say this is not the case with Gina Rodriguez, who has won two Emmy awards for her performance in Jane the Virgin.
Jane is an extremely likeable and relatable character. I personally think I have a ton in common with her, which is strange but thrilling. We both were raised in families of all women, we both aspire to become novelists, and we’re both very in tune with our emotions. What I admire the most about Gina/Jane is she seems like a very down to earth person, and this shines well through her portrayal of Jane. If you watch the first episode, I guarantee you’ll understand what I mean!
5. The show emphasizes the importance of acceptance of everyone (specifically the LGBTQ+ community.)
Overall, there aren’t a ton of shows that focus on characters who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. But if they are, often shows tends to portray them as outsiders, or just as passing characters that are soon put on the backburner.
In contrast, right from the start of the show there’s a lesbian couple, whose names are Rose and Luisa. What I like about this is that the plot doesn’t make them outsiders, or try to hide the fact that they’re lovers. They make this relationship as casual as the ones between the straight characters in the show. Even better, these ladies are main characters, and not just extras. With this component, Jane the Virgin is trying to show the importance of lesbian couples being just as accepted in society as straight couples.
Still not convinced that this is a great show? No problem! Check out some of these reviews from Rotten Tomatoes below:
“Oh, the show could be awful, with lots of high-strung farce and bad jokes about the Virgin Mother. But it’s quite the opposite: a show that, with good humor and intelligence, respectfully follows a woman’s journey into the unexpected and unknown.” -Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
“What makes Jane the Virgin work is that, while the situations the characters end up in are absurd, the characters always react like actual human beings.” -Esther Breger, The New Republic
“Talented, magnetic, sexy and above all else extremely likable, Rodriguez is the glue that holds together the tonally difficult-to-pull-off Jane the Virgin series.” -Tim Goodman, Hollywood Reporter
“In the world of Jane the Virgin, reality always takes second place to implausible dramatics, and that’s exactly what makes the show work in the first place.” -Amber Dowling, TheWrap
“The last thing I expected from The CW was to develop a seriously funny case of heroine addiction… much like my continuing crush on the delightful Jane the Virgin and its endearing mash-up of broad humor and romantic melodrama.” -Matt Roush, TV Insider
Hopefully you’re convinced now to at least watch the first episode– and if you don’t like it, at least you gave it a chance! Happy watching!
If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email [email protected] .