Jane the Virgin
Streaming on Netflix
Metadata: 2014 | TV-14 | 4 seasons, 45m episodes
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Telenovela
Why I watched: SO many people whose taste I admire recommended this show to me. It 👏🏼 does 👏🏼 not 👏🏼 disappoint 👏🏼 !
You might also like: Nothing compares to JtV, really. But Ugly Betty, streaming on Hulu, is also so wonderful! America Ferrera, who plays Betty, and Gina Rodriguez, who plays Jane, are equally funny and charming and sincere. And all of the supporting characters are excellent, too. Highly recommend.
First things first: Jane the Virgin is one of the very best things on television. But don't just take my word for it, because I am far from the first person to say this! In fact, Vulture named JtV the best thing on TV, meaning it beat out even Donald Glover's virtuosic-though-understated masterpiece Atlanta (which, unfortunately, is only available via pay-to-watch). After viewing the first season of JtV—heck, even just the first episode—I could see what all the hype is about!
The premise of JtV is incredibly implausible: a young woman who has decided to remain a virgin until marriage is accidentally inseminated at a routine gynecologist appointment. Surprise: she becomes pregnant! She's engaged to be married, though, and her pregnancy makes problems for her relationship. The father of her baby is none other than her former crush, with whom she once shared a passionate kiss, and who also happens to own the hotel
where Jane is a waitress. Oh, and that guy's sister is the doctor who accidentally impregnated Jane. Friends, this is just the beginning. JtV spoofs all the classic telenovela tropes, and even creates some of its own. Amnesia, evil twins, kidnapping, love triangles, family drama, and false identities abound, and the whole thing is made supremely meta by the fact that Jane is an aspiring romance writer, and gets a gig writing on an actual telenovela—of which her father is the star.
A deep, silky smooth, heavily accented male voice hilariously narrates the outrageously melodramatic plot, and the recaps at the beginning of each episode are positively delightful! Usually I skip through those when I'm watching a show on Netflix—or I think of them as an opportunity to grab some popcorn or take a quick bathroom break. Not so with JtV! I *live* for these recaps. And I would say that this is true of the show generally. It demands your full attention—and therefore your participation—because 1) Jane's abuela speaks only Spanish, meaning you must read the subtitles, and 2) the typewritten commentary across the screen is as crucial as the voice-over narration. If you step out of the room, you are guaranteed to miss something—especially since the plot moves a mile a minute. It's one of the hallmarks of the show, and of the genre that inspired it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe, you'll squirm, you'll smile. In short: JtV is good for whatever ails you.