— By Carly Twehous —
At a young age, Jane Villanueva made a promise to her telenovela-obsessed grandmother. Whilst holding a beautiful white flower in her hand, Jane swore to never crumble the flower of her virginity… Until marriage.
Jane, ever the quirky, charming, loyal, and perfect granddaughter, keeps her promise to her grandmother, in the hopes of not ending up like her overly-dramatic mother: sixteen and pregnant.
Except, of course, the necessary laws of irony demand a shocking twist: Jane the virgin gets accidentally artificially inseminated and two weeks later, finds out she’s pregnant. Oops.
Jane the Virgin, in short, is hilarious. Narrated by an accented, dramatic voice—in the same vein as the daily recap on a telenovela—and paired with witty captions every time a new character comes up or something particularly momentous happens, this show comes across like a cheesy soap opera, yet it knows just the right moments to make fun of itself.
This show is full of every soap opera trope there is, including, but not limited to evil twins, elevator romances, overly-dramatic walks on the beach, plastic surgery to change the face of well-known criminals, evil ex-KGB ex-boyfriends, and unexpected and entirely implausible resurrections. In essence, it shouldn’t work. It’s predictable and the romance drama of all three generations of Villanueva ladies is certainly reminiscent of countless telenovelas.
Except, for whatever reason, this show is brilliant.
Maybe it’s the satire of it all, or the extraordinary use of irony, set-ups, and pay-offs, but instead of becoming another daytime knock-off of Days of Our Lives, the end result is a charming dramedy that’s just as much about family as it is about all the ridiculously ironic things that happen to Jane and those around her. Maybe it’s the dry humor of the narrator and the clever on-screen captions. Or maybe it’s just the brilliance of Gina Rodriguez’s portrayal of Jane: her innocence, her stubbornness, and her flare for comedic timing.
Everything on this show has been seen on television before. Most of it has been reduced, reused, and recycled more times than any sane person would care to count.
There’s a few things that are new, of course: a pregnant virgin paired with a group of Catholic nuns who seem to believe that Jane is carrying the reincarnated Christ, a fourth-wall breaking telenovela star and long-lost father, and a ridiculously hilarious narrator. Paired with the satire of it all, and just a tad bit of extremely clever writing, Jane the Virgin works. More than that, it’s vastly entertaining to watch… And not just for those weird people who are obsessed with day-time soap operas. This show appeals to a wide audience because of its humor, stupid romances, bizarre plot twists, and family drama. It’s kept a captive audience since Chapter One and earned the CW network’s first Golden Globe awards and nominations.
Jane the Virgin is jaw-dropping and captivating, when every bit of it really shouldn’t be. This show is the perfect flavor of worn-out tropes and, well, virgin territory. It’s certainly enough to make you swallow your pride, convince yourself you are not watching the same, stupid soap opera that your grandmother obsesses over, and accidentally fall in love with the ridiculously charming life of Jane Villanueva.