Jane The Virgin is a comedy-slash-drama-slash-telenovela that follows the story of a twenty-something virgin named Jane Villanueva. She’s not your average virgin—she’s pregnant… with a stranger’s baby (OK, he’s not technically a stranger, as he’s her boss and someone she shared a kiss with years ago). I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that sounds absolutely ridiculous. The title alone is cringe worthy—but as we learn a few episodes into the series, “Let’s be real, Jane was a virgin, but not a saint.” (Intriguing, no?)
It only took me a single episode to realize that there’s a lot more to this show than just the title and where the story begins. Jane The Virgin is one of my favorite shows on television at the moment, because it’s hilarious, heartwarming, and so delightfully bizarre. The great news for you is that it’s not too late to get hooked on it too. If you’re not quite sold yet, don’t worry, I’ve come up with a handful of reasons why you should give it a try.
1. It’s a Meta-Telenovela
In addition to the consistently heavy focus on how Jane has grown up watching and adoring telenovelas with her family, Jane The Virgin is essentially built like a telenovela itself (ed. note—it’s based on a Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen) . If you’re not familiar with telenovelas, all you need to know is that they are shows that air primarily in Spanish-speaking countries and they often revolve around romance, drama, and mystery. After watching the pilot, you’ll get a taste of all three! There’s also a little twist in that we discover Jane’s father (whom she does not know from the start) is the star of Jane’s favorite telenovela.
2. Gina Rodriguez Will Wow You as Jane Villanueva
I’d never seen Gina Rodriguez act in anything before Jane The Virgin—but if this show is any indication of what she’s capable of, then homegirl is an incredible actress. Not to mention, she won a Golden Globe for her role as Jane. She nails everything she does. Every emotion, every daydream—you feel it through Gina. I have no idea how she perfectly embodies someone with so much heart and hope without crossing the line into being annoying and unrealistic. The situation she’s put in from the beginning isn’t exactly ideal, nor is it totally believable, but her acting makes it feel believable. In all seriousness, Gina Rodriguez’s performance in every episode has been flawless. Bonus points for her wardrobe on the show—she has the most amazing collection of dresses.
3. Jane’s Familia
Jane is incredibly family-oriented—it’s something that defines her as a character and a woman. We’re introduced to Jane’s abuela, Alba, immediately in a flashback. She’s seen teaching Jane that once you crush a flower, you can’t make it look like new again—and similarly, once you lose your virginity, you can’t get it back. As the series continues on, Abuela is seen playing a big role in Jane’s life—both in the past and present. The respect, admiration, and love they share for one another is incredibly sweet and realistic. Jane’s mother, Xiomara, has also been a source of Jane’s inspiration growing up. She had Jane at a young age, which plays a lot into Jane’s beliefs and parenting style. She doesn’t want to repeat her mother’s mistakes, but she does want to sacrifice things for her child (the same way Xiomara did for Jane). It’s also probably safe to say that Jane inherited her mother’s passion for dreaming big—and if not from her mother, then from her long-lost father, Rogelio. Not only is Rogelio a hopeless romantic, but he’s passionate about his career as a telenovela star. And although he and Jane don’t seem to have a lot in common on the surface, it becomes clear that they share a lot of the same values. I’ve got a big soft spot for Rogelio, because despite his outrageous ways, I think he’s absolutely hilarious. His charm adds a lot to the show.
4. Michael Cordero
Yeah, I’m just going to be straight with you all here—I’m so Team Michael (as is most of the show’s cast—just saying!). When we first meet Michael, he’s Jane’s adorable detective boyfriend (swoon). Jane ends up pregnant shortly after we meet him, so you can imagine the rollercoaster their relationship will take us on. Despite their ups and downs, Michael is a really good, caring guy, who loves Jane to the core. We get to see flashbacks of their budding relationship, so it’s hard not to root for the guy. Throughout the series, Michael is endlessly and effortlessly respectful and understanding toward Jane. He’s always wanted only the best for her, even if it means he has to suffer in the process. Through and through, he represents stability, love, and reality. Seriously though, he loves her so much that just the thought of him makes me melt like a popsicle. (And personally, Brett Dier, who plays Michael, had me charmed before even starting the series.)
5. It Perfectly Portrays Love, Family, and Following Your Dreams
Jane The Virgin might be my favorite example of a show that perfectly explores themes of love, family, and dreams. There are three generations of Villanueva women living under one roof and each of them has a strong relationship with one another. This is a family whose roots run deep, and the show portrays the ups and downs that come with such strong ties. The Villanueva women believe wholeheartedly in putting family and oneself first. If one of them falls, the others are there to pick up the pieces. They each have their struggles, they all love deeply, and they all have dreams. Jane might be the biggest dreamer of them all, what with her desire to follow her heart, mind, and dreams at once. She stands for what she believes in, she works incredibly hard, and she doesn’t want to let herself or her family down. As an aspiring writer, hopeless romantic, and family-oriented woman myself, I find I have a lot in common with Jane’s character.
6. It’s Found The Perfect Balance of Grounded and Up In The Clouds
Granted Jane The Virgin is a telenovela with ridiculous plotlines and characters who often get away with things that would be unrealistic in reality, it has somehow found the perfect balance between staying grounded and floating up in the clouds. Let me explain—the show is deeply rooted in familial relationships, good morals, and romantic aspirations. So as Jane progresses through her pregnancy and prepares for motherhood, there’s still just enough crazy going on around her to keep things interesting. There are moments that will tug on your heartstrings (and maybe even make you a little weepy), but they transition seamlessly into moments that will surprise you or simply make you laugh. And even though the twists and turns will keep you guessing, there is still something realistic and relatable happening in every episode.
7. The Self-Aware Sassy Latin Narrator
Every good story has a good narrator—and Jane The Virgin’s narrator is no exception. This nameless voice carries us through every episode. Whether he’s refreshing what we’ve already seen, adding hilarious commentary, or prompting us to put together pieces of the puzzle, Sassy Latin Narrator is one of the greatest, most enjoyable characters on the show.
8. The Hilarious Typewriter Commentary
I felt like the Sassy Latin Narrator was the perfect dose of additional comedy on the show… and then the “typewriter commentary” became my new favorite comedic detail. This is one of those things that you’ll have to see for yourself, but in short: Jane’s love of telenovelas and writing is carried out even more through visual commentary in each episode. Typewriter Commentary delivers more insight, jokes, and information the viewer needs to know in order to keep up with what’s happening.
9. It’s a Never-Ending Mystery
Every episode will keep you guessing. I find myself making predictions and constantly end up surprised with the direction things actually end up going. Unlike other drama shows whose mysteries often get so tangled that things ultimately make no sense (cough Pretty Little Liars)—Jane The Virgin seems to have things laid out so carefully that the mystery has never outgrown the plot. Conflicts get resolved quickly, so you’re never left wondering for too long. Bonus: think you missed some details along the way? No worries, Sassy Latin Narrator and Typewriter Commentary will always keep you in the loop!
10. Season 1 is on Netflix
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that the ability to binge-watch a show makes it all the more appealing to start. That being said, the entire first season of Jane The Virgin is on Netflix! Season 2 is currently airing, but if you’re also a paid Hulu subscriber, jump on this opportunity to get caught up on current episodes before they disappear.