A love letter to “Jane The Virgin”

2.06h

When I love a film, a new group or artist, a book I’ve read or a show, I love it hard.  I become obsessed and I want others to join me in my absolute excitement.  I want to read up on how it was created, and I want to learn more about anything and everything that is going on with it.

I was watching the Golden Globe Awards in 2015 when Gina Rodriguez won in her category.  She made a beautiful speech and I was immediately struck by her honesty, by her love of her cast and her family.

I wondered what it was about.

I googled it, and kinda chuckled to myself at this insane premise of a show.  (According to Wikipedia: It is a loose adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen. The series stars Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a working, religious young Latina virgin, who becomes pregnant after being accidentally artificially inseminated.)

Critics seemed to love the show a lot.

I kinda forgot about it.

In December of last year here in Canada, Jane started its availability on Netflix.  When I saw it there, I figured it would a good time to check out this funny sounding show.  With so many brooding dark shows, I was anxious to see something that would draw in the light.

What I didn’t expect was falling in love with the show the way I have.

Let me backtrack for a second.  The shows that I am eternally loyal to are “Freaks and Geeks”, “Felicity”, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, “Friends” and “Friday Night Lights”.  When I speak about any of these shows, I am likely to trip on the words spilling out of my mouth because they bring me such joy.  Whether it be the acting, cast chemistry, or the writing these shows bring it back to a really pure place for me.

“Jane The Virgin” has now inched its way into heart so deeply now.

And because of this, whenever someone asks me “What are you watching on TV these days?”, I immediately pipe in with:

“Are you watching Jane The Virgin yet?”

And if they say no, I then say:

“You HAVE to watch it!  Like, you HAVE to!”

And I usually don’t let it go.

So here are the reasons why I love this show so so much:

1) A fresh perspective:  I’m tired of watching shows where the perspective is one that I’ve heard or seen before a million times.  I’m looking at you medical, forensic, law, police, hipster shows! With “Jane”, you’re getting variety of perspectives regarding age, class, race and gender. I find that as I get “older” (meaning I’m now in my 40s…whoa!), I don’t want to see stories about characters who are “too cool for school”, immature or superficial.  And as a person of colour who is the child of immigrants, this show speaks on many familiar levels.  I may not be of Latin descent, but family is family and that language can be understood by anyone. The characters on “Jane” are flawed but each is a survivor and has a story to tell. And it’s those stories that hold real value and truly are relatable to not just one type of audience.

2) Men can be sensitive, caring and kind: What a concept! None of the male characters on “Jane” are arrogant (and if they are for even a second, the women on the show are ready to give them a reality check!), clueless, misogynistic or chauvinistic for that matter! In fact, each of them (Michael, Rogelio and Rafael) are all played so entirely truthful and earnestly.   How often do you see male characters on television portrayed as sensitive and loving without them being seen as weak ? Refreshing I tell ya!

3) The women on the show are each a powerhouse! From the beautiful trifecta of Alba/Xiomara/Jane to Petra (who has masterfully been written from evil villainess to strong-willed mother),  Anezka and even Luisa and Rose – ALL of the female characters on the show have faced some sort of hardship but have come out on top and the better for it (well, maybe not Rose and Luisa entirely, but somehow the show still makes me root for them!) “Jane” is fueled by the stories of women.  And media needs more of this.  They (especially the Villanueva women) are the beating heart of the show.

4) Jane and Rafael.  No disrespect to Michael whatsoever (because I loved his character too – and Brett Dier!), but for me, I am waiting for Jane and Rafael to return back to each other.  Their initial connection (he being her former crush five years prior to being accidentally artificially inseminated with his sperm) is so ridiculously over the top and yet you couldn’t help but being sucked into their charm and their story.  And while Jane did ultimately make the right choice when she married Michael (as I am glad that all of her big “firsts” were with him), the fan boy in me is waiting for Jane and Raf to find their way.  It makes for great stories, and their chemistry together is so fantastic and COME ON, IT RAINED FREAKING FLOWER PETALS WHEN THEY KISSED FOR THE FIRST TIME! (I know what you’re thinking: that it snowed when Michael and Jane kissed for the first time.  But, that was brought on by a controlled circumstance aka a gun firing off into a ceiling.)

Yes, I know these are not real people.

5) Love.  That is the motivation of every single regular character on this show.  Love.  In all of its weirdness and vulnerability and honesty.  You find yourself supporting all of them throughout.  And the secondary characters who aren’t motivated by love, you can suss them out from the first second!

6) The writers have a plan. Nothing makes me happier when I watch a TV show and I know that the writers have a clear direction as to where they want to go.  Jennie Snyder Urman (#powerhouse) knows her end game, knows these characters and their integrity so well, that as a viewer you know that you’ve being taken down a road with trust.  Also, it’s clear that the writers respect their audience’s intelligence.  Similar to my beloved “Friday Night Lights”, “Jane” knows where is going and it makes the ride so much more enjoyable.

7) Gina Rodriguez.  That’s all really.  She will rule the world at some point in time.

This list could go on and on.  But I won’t.  And while I don’t know whether “Jane The Virgin” has like a gazillion seasons ahead of it, I do know that whenever the day comes when the show ends (besides ordering about a dozen Kleenex boxes for the occasion), the journey that viewers will have been taken on will be one of absolute clarity and, yes, love.

And might I also add that following each of these brilliant, wonderful actors on social media is a thrill.  That love within the show clearly plays into their real lives as well. They all genuinely are supportive of each other, and use social media as a tool for positivity and awareness and connection.  Follow them everywhere! They’re awesome!

If the creators and actors could see my heart when I think of “Jane The Virgin” (to borrow a brilliant motif that the show uses over again), it would be glowing and lighting up the room.

Season 4 can’t come soon enough.

 

 

 

 

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