Binge Watch Guide: ‘Jane the Virgin’


Binge Watch Guide: ‘Jane the Virgin’


Don’t let the complicated plot scare you away: “Jane the Virgin” is worth the temporary confusion.

Here’s what you need to know: The titular character was accidentally artificially inseminated at age 23. She made a childhood vow to her devout grandmother to remain a virgin until marriage, and was about to marry her long-time boyfriend, but after learning about her pregnancy, started falling for her the baby’s father, Rafael. This CW telenovela is funny and heart-warming and worth the watch if only for the fantastic Gina Rodriguez.

Time commitment: Low. The show is only in its second season, having returned from a midseason break on January 19. Season one is available on Netflix, and although the episodes are somewhat lengthy at around 40 minutes, there’s only one season to get through. Plus, the episodes often end in cliffhangers that make it hard to close your laptop.

Most interesting character: Dr. Luisa Alver, Rafael’s half-sister. While not a full time cast member, Luisa is in plenty of episodes, and is the character I have the hardest time deciding if I love or hate. She’s been dealt a tough hand, losing her mom as a child, becoming an alcoholic, and getting wrongly put into a psych ward after having an affair with her dad’s girlfriend (did I mention this is a telenovela?) But she also pulls some pretty sketch moves on her half-brother, and it’s yet to be determined where her loyalty lies. She’s also the reason Jane was accidentally impregnated, so she’s a pretty crucial character in the show.

Honorable mention: Rafael Solano. Jane’s baby daddy and on-and-off again boyfriend is super hot (thank you writers for setting the show in Miami). He’s the reformed bad guy you want to love.

The good: Gina Rodriguez is a gem. She plays Jane’s sweet but fierce character so well, and it’s impossible not to root for her as she tries to appease her family, sort out her feelings for Michael (sometimes sweet ex-fiance) and Rafael (hot baby daddy) and continue moving forward with her career aspirations. The cast is full of strong females and is mostly Hispanic, something refreshing to see, especially on The CW.

The bad: The show can get a little “Pretty Little Liars”-esque with its twists and turns, and it can be hard to keep up. People get thrown off hotel balconies, secretly drugged and there’s the whole immaculate-conception thing going on. Plus, you have to really pay attention, as they occasionally switch into Spanish (subtitles appear on screen) or show dialogue through text conversations. We probably should all be multitasking less though, so this could also be a positive.

Takeaway: There’s a reason Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe after only nine episodes of the show had aired. Despite the TV golden age we’re lucky to be in, “Jane the Virgin” is unlike any other show on right now. It is funny and endearing, a hard mix to pull off well.

If you liked this, consider watching this too: “Hart of Dixie.” Another underrated CW show, “Hart of Dixie” offers a similar mix of comedy and drama, with lots of relationship swapping and family antics. Plus, Rachel Bilson’s character has great clothes, and “Friday Night Lights” favorite Scott Porter plays a love interest.

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