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5 Reasons ‘Jane the Virgin’ is a Must-Watch

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

If you haven’t already heard, Jane the Virgin is a romantic comedy sprinkled with just enough telenovela qualities to make it an all-time favorite of TV watchers. Jane Villanueva is a Latina who was accidentally artificially inseminated with another man’s sperm becomes pregnant even though she’s, well, a virgin.

Her immaculate conception as well as her life as a Latina is chronicled in the universally comical format of a telenovela, complete with common tropes such as an evil twin and spouses who are magically resurrected after being “dead” for almost five years. Aside from its comical writing and thoughtful portrayal of latinx culture, this show means so much to me because it tackles a range of real-world issues that some television shows would feel so uncomfortable talking about. If you haven’t started watching it already, here’s five reasons why you absolutely need to watch Jane the Virgin.

It accurately represents Latin culture without playing into cringy stereotypes

There’s nothing I love more than a show with an accurate representation of Latin culture. If I’m being honest, it feels just as good as a warm bowl of arroz con pollo y tostones cooked by my mami. A few examples where her culture is genuinely represented instead of tokenized is through the integration of Spanish into the episodes. Jane’s abuela, Alba, speaks mostly Spanish on the show and her dialogue is accompanied by English subtitles. Alba’s frequent use of Spanish at home creates the perfect environment for the preferred language of Hispanics and Latinx’s alike; Spanglish. Not only does Jane and her family speak Spanglish at home, but the language itself is never used as a focal point for jokes, but instead a genuine means of communication, and a normalized one at that.

There’s no shortage of strong female leads

Although Jane is the main character of the season, JTV is a show that does a phenomenal job with balancing the amount of supporting characters between men and women. In fact, not only are there an equal amount of female characters, but they’re all portrayed as strong and powerful in their own ways. Jane is a complex woman who starts out as an aspiring novelist and becomes a published author all while bearing a child who was accidentally implanted in her. Alba, Jane’s abuela is an immigrant who carried on her husband’s legacy of raising a family in America after he passed away while her daughter, Jane’s mother, Xiomara raised Jane as a single mother and followed her dream of opening a dance studio despite battling breast cancer. Even the female leads with questionable intentions like Petra and Rose hold high-up positions such as owner of the Marbella hotel and matriarch of a drug ring, respectively.

It tackles toxic masculinity with ease

Unlike many shows on the air, the male characters within Jane the Virgin cry when they’re feeling emotional. And honestly, it’s not weird, either. Hispanic and Latinx culture is known for forcing “machismo” culture on boys and men for their entire lives. This dangerous idea of aggressive masculinity, pride and lack of emotion ends up being a trait that leaves families and relationships broken because of a man’s inability to communicate openly and honestly about his feelings. Though I give credit to Jane the Virgin for visualizing how healthy relationships can be when machismo culture is rejected, I can’t help but credit actor Justin Baldoni, who plays Rafael, and the social movement he created alongside other male actors called #ManEnough. When Baldoni’s not busy looking dreamy on screen, he and his friends host discussions and small social media campaigns to encourage other men to be man enough to feel comfortable expressing their emotions. This idea has seeped into Jane the Virgin’s script, and I’m not mad at it one bit.

It handles the realities of topics like unplanned pregnancy, death and cancer in a respectful and relatable way

Chances are you’ve been affected by one of those three topics I mentioned in the heading. Well, so have I. As someone who’s been friends with someone through an unexpected pregnancy, a child of a former cancer patient and a girl with only one set of grandparents, I can safely say that although no topics are off limits, there is no shortage of respect or thoughtfulness in Jane the Virgin’s script for those who endure those situations in their real lives. Not only are they thoughtful in how they enact those scenarios, but they strategically plant pockets of comic relief within each episode so your popcorn bowl won’t be soaked with tears at the end of each episode.

It’s a modern-day telenovela, what’s not to love?

The immaculate conception of a virgin, a supporting character with an evil twin and a spouse who resurrects from the dead after four years are just a few of the jaw-dropping classic elements that Jane the Virgin borrows from telenovela culture. If the amount of drama in that last sentence stresses you out, have no fear. Although telenovelas are known for their drama, Jane the Virgin is the perfect balance between comedy, real-life situations and the extreme. Honestly, anyone with an appreciation for comedy and exaggerated drama would love an episode of Jane the Virgin.

If all of those reasons still have you unconvinced about whether or not to tune in to the CW at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesdays, feel free to catch it on your own time on Netflix. It’s the perfect show to watch when you’ve already memorized all of the lines of those re-run episodes of The Office.

Cayela is a junior at the University of Florida studying Journalism and costume design. She has a passion for street style, sewing and empowering others. She loves to write fun, well-researched articles with a focus on social justice. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @cayecuev
Darcy Schild is a University of Florida junior majoring in journalism. She's the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus UFL and was previously a Her Campus national section editor. She spent Summer 2017 as an Editorial Intern at HC headquarters in Boston, where she oversaw the "How She Got There" section and wrote and edited feature articles and news blogs. She also helped create the weekly Her Campus Instagram Story series, Informed AF. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog, The Darcy Diaries.