Telenovelas are nothing new. But Jane the Virgin will certainly convince you otherwise. Its leading lady’s infectious charm, frank and sweet in the form of the well-rounded Gina Rodriguez, keeps this surprise CW hit rooted in reality. At once a parody and celebration of the Telenovela style, the story itself adapted from a piece written in the Spanish-speaking dramatic format, Jane also manages to be something else entirely…
Jane is the inspiring saga of a young woman making her own decisions, (despite the universe’s attempts to the contrary). After being accidentally artificially inseminated, the titular star finds herself pregnant, despite her celibate status. What could be a rather horrifying chain of events tumbles instead into a fun roller-coaster ride through the tribulations of love and family. All this tightly calculated by a team of writers with tongues planted firmly in cheeks.
While I say fun, the show is by no means frivolous; it often surprises, balancing clearly satirical plot points pulled from the writers inspiracion with sweet moments of truthful drama.
What immediately stood out to me as I began watching (thank you, Hulu gods), was the primarily Latina and Latino cast: sure, this is a show based on a telenovela series, but the fact that this version has skyrocketed through the mainstream (and the awards circuit, thank you very much) speaks to our slow but steady inclusion of of-color characters and actors. Its about time.
If you’re still not sure about this little series that could, consider the premise I brought up earlier: here is a story of a girl who, overwhelmed by the accident that seemingly leaves her without the control of her own body, chooses what she believes, what she feels, and what she knows. No little comedy fodder in a “sexy virgin” Halloween getup. Instead, a kind, gracious, and genuine woman with a comic spark as bright as Mexican candy wrappers. She’s a keeper.