I could go on for ages about Jane the Virgin. It is glorious. Each episode just pops with crazy, over-the-top brilliance.
It’s a testament to the script that the plot doesn’t run out of steam after the initial jolt of having a pregnant virgin.
That’s just the beginning. At any one time, Jane the Virgin is brimming with a billion different plot-lines, yet they’re surprisingly easy to navigate, as the audience has witty narrator Anthony Mendez to guide them through the ups, downs and turn-arounds.
If you’ve never heard of this show before, here’s the basic premise: Jane Gloriana Villaneuva is a 23-year-old college student who lives with her mom and her grandmam in Miami.
She’s studying to be a teacher and has been with her police detective boyfriend, Michael, for three years. One day, she goes to the gynecologist for a routine check-up.
As luck would have it, her doctor is a bit out of sorts that day, and manages to mix up Jane’s pap smear with an artificial insemination in another room, and boom, Jane is unwittingly impregnated, and doesn’t find out until several weeks after the incident.
She then discovers that the father is Rafael, a guy with whom she once had a brief, flirtatious encounter with years before she met Michael. He’s also the son of the owner of the hotel where she works part-time.
The plot thickens when we discover that Rafael has been having problems with his wife, that the doctor who impregnated Jane was actually Rafael’s sister and Michael and his police squad are on the hunt for a dangerous drug lord suspected to be linked to the hotel.
It’s difficult to explain, but so much fun to watch. It also generally feels quite realistic and makes sense, unlike some television shows doing the rounds right now.
It beats most other series in terms of provoking an emotional response from the audience. The storyline might be wild, but you really do become engaged in it.
If you start watching this show – and I hope, for your sake, that you do – you’re likely to find yourself chuckling, gasping and shaking your head at the entertaining implausibility of it all.
Plus the nail-biting, traumatic cliffhanger at the end of season one is going to make you cry out in shock, it’s so tense.
Jane is loosely based on the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, and it milks the telenovela format for all its worth, even poking fun at it at times.
However it never descends into cheap parody. Jane might have silly moments, but it’s a work of love, not farce. At its heart is a sweet-without-being-overly-cheesy message about the importance of family.
Jane herself is a refreshingly ‘good’ protagonist, in an age where amoral antics abound on our screens (as in Game of Thrones, Fargo and Breaking Bad), though she manages to refrain from being a full-on goody-two-shoes.
Jane is a feel-good show that’s interesting, not just for its crazy happenings, but also for the high-paced way the story is presented.
Information about the characters is typed up on screen, texts and messages between friends and lovers pop up so we can read them.
Scrubs-style hallucinations and imaginings allow us to see into characters’ minds, and the narrator is always on hand to mock, encourage or criticize various actions taken, or to offer a helpful pun.
So far in season one, we’ve had kidnappings, affairs, discoveries of secret lairs, romantic midnight swims, pregnancy-related drama on bus routes, massages, marriage proposals, a few songs and dances, a Czech criminal enjoying Spanish-language telenovelas while being held hostage in a hotel room and faked injuries.
I am aware of the fact that by now I have used about 500 different buzz words to try and describe this show, but believe me when I say they’re all relevant. Just watch it!