For Millennials. By Millennials.
As stated earlier, I stumbled upon Jane the Virgin by chance while browsing Netflix. Not to exaggerate, but the show completely changed my life. I’ve seen my fair share of TV shows and loved quite a few (Breaking Bad, Good Girls, Bojack Horseman). But Jane the Virgin unexpectedly spoke to me.
Somehow, the brilliant creator Jennie Snyder Urman made a show about Latina women the most relatable, heartwarming, and witty show of the decade.
The Crazy Twists and Turns During the 5 Seasons
(Gina Rodriguez) aka Jane’s Story
Just imagine Jane the Virgin without the crazy twists and turns you only see in a telenovela. Think about the premise. Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez), a virgin, gets artificially inseminated by her gynecologist, who was distracted because her girlfriend was cheating on her. Later we find out she has been impregnated with (Justin Baldoni) Raphael Solano’s sperm which she had a crush on a few years back.
But at the time of the impregnation, she was with her boyfriend, Michael (Brett Dier), who was planning to propose soon. And we must not forget that Michael is trying to find a drug lord who eventually turns out to be Raphael’s stepmother Rose aka Sin Rostro (Bridget Regan). Rose is the major villainess who is the source of agony for the Villanueva household and the Solano.
She’s in love with Raphael’s sister Luisa Alver (Yara Martinez). She kidnaps Jane and Raphel’s son Mateo the day he’s born, kills Raphael and Luisa’s father, kidnap Michael, and wipes his memory clean which leads Jane and everyone to believe that he’s dead for three years. In the last season, she escapes from prison and holds Jane (Gina Rodriguez) hostage. Though, thankfully she dies thanks to Luisa.
Everyone Else Gets Their Complete Story Too
There’s also a whole story revolving around all the supporting characters, one of which is the badass Petra (Yael Grobglas). She was the main antagonist in the initial seasons when she was after Raphael’s money. We later find out that she just had a problematic past that haunts her for the course of five seasons (greedy mother and evil twin Anezka).
She later impregnates herself with Raphael’s sperm using a turkey baster and ends up having twins. Meanwhile, Jane reunited with her father, Rogelio De La Vega (Jaime Campbell), who has an on-and-off relationship with Jane’s mother, Xiomara (Andrea Navedo). Not to mention the devastating story arc when we discovered Xo had cancer.
Ultimately, these crazy plots lead to satisfying and cohesive solutions that ensure that each character we have fallen in love with in the show gets the ending they deserve.
Magical Realism Plus Telenovela Elements Added Excitement During The Whole 5 Seasons
The telenovela elements add a magical realism to the show so beautifully that you get hooked on the show from the first episode. The story keeps growing and evolving in each scene, and you can see how each character grows along with it, especially Gina Rodriguez’s character. There’s not one episode in which you are not curious to see what happens next. The excitement generated through each twist and turn keeps you on the edge of your seat, which ultimately makes the ending all the more emotional and satisfying.
It’s rooted in reality when we are curious to see if Jane finally gets that book deal, but then Jane the Virgin throws us a curveball when Michael suddenly returns from the dead. A crazy story element was added to the show in season 5, but even that is made real as the showrunners and writers focus on making the show about the most important thing: love.
It Teaches You What Love Should Be
At the core of the show was how it showcased relationships truthfully. I’m not just talking about the romantic ones but the familial love inherent in each episode. At the porch swing, we saw the three Villanueva women sitting there, using each other to relieve their stress and find comfort. Even when they had some problems with each other, the three came through and chose to love and support because that’s what it means to be a family.
Initially, it was just this tiny cozy family of three women, which ultimately grew more prominent with each season. Raphael Solano (Justin Baldoni) became an essential member during and after Jane’s pregnancy. The birth of Sweet Mateo (the perfect choice to be the narrator, by the way) strengthened the family bond. We saw Justin Baldoni’s Rafael become the father he never had for himself; loving, caring, and always there.
Then when Petra had her twins and still no Raphael, she was isolated and alone, forever terrorized by her mother and Milos. But she powered through and became a member of the Villanueva family as well whilst also finding her own love with J.R. (Rosario Dawson)
After that time jump of the show, we saw how there was still some tension between Petra (Yael Grobglas) and Jane (Gina Rodriguez). Still, the fact that the two promised to have family brunch every Saturday to ensure the two were doing all right with their kids was the most beautiful thing to witness. Despite their tensions, the two became sisters who always put each other first.
These two shared platonic love as heartwarming and genuine as Raphael’s platonic love for Petra and Jane. Even when the love triangles kept happening repeatedly, the three knew they were family and that they had to be there for one another no matter what.
We saw that when Raphael kept telling Jane to be brave when she had difficulty finishing the book after Michael’s death. Or when Jane comforted Petra after she broke up with the one person she truly loved, J.R. (Rosario Dawson).
Everyone Truly Cared For One Another
There are so many instances where we see the characters genuinely care for one another. When Alba, Jane, and Rogelio were there for Xiomara during her painful cancer recovery. Or Raphael lost himself when he tried to get the hotel back from Luisa, and Jane had to tell him to prioritize family. We saw Xiomara and Jane be there for Alba when she was having a tough time living with Jorge during their fake marriage before ultimately marrying for real.
Or when Xiomara, Darcy, and Brooke Shields came to Rogelio’s help when he wanted to convince Dina to work on his American show, This Is Mars, loosely based on the Passions of Santos, when we saw Rogelio go above and beyond for his daughter Jane during both her weddings and while she was trying to become a published author. Or when we saw Xiomara convince Darcy to be nicer to her and Rogelio. And how at the end of the day, Rogelio’s arch-nemesis Esteban gets a role as the villain on This is Mars all because Rogelio wants Baby and Darcy with him in New York. And at the finale, when we see how Jane and Alba convince Xiomara to be brave and embrace change and move to New York when she suddenly got cold feet.
Jane The Virgin Portrayed Characters Realistically
The rawness and vulnerability of each character were so beautifully portrayed, through impeccable writing and unbelievable acting, that you just get invested in each story arc, no matter how big or small.
Greatest Love Stories Ever Told
And, of course, the central love story melts your heart because someone as tremendous and selfless a character as Jane (who’s not afraid to admit her mistakes and help those she loves) deserves her love ending. We were undoubtedly heartbroken when Michael suddenly died and conflicted when he returned as Jason. At this point, it didn’t matter if you were Team Rafael or Team Michael; you just wanted a happy ending for all three characters.
And guess what? They do. The showrunners made a great choice by adding Haley Lu Richardson as Charlie in the show. She’s actually the girlfriend of Brett Dier (who plays Michael). Ultimately, she and Michael/ Jason fall in love on the show, and she’s pregnant with his baby.
And we saw our main couple, Jane and Raphael, get married to Alba in the most beautiful ceremony ever. You forget it’s fiction because these characters also become your family, and you are truly happy for them.
Jane The Virgin Brings You Hope
By adding in real-life problems, it made you feel less alone. Whether it be Jane and Raphael struggling financially and planning out their budget for the future, Xiomara battling cancer, Rogelio being afraid his pilot won’t get picked up, Mateo’s learning problems, the twin’s initial distrust with J.R. and Mateo not accepting Jane and Raphael’s breakup, Xiomara shifting careers to find out what she wants to do and Alba stressing over her citizenship test are all very real and very relatable problems – that ultimately get solved. And they do so primarily due to each character’s resilience, thanks to the love and support of those surrounding them.
It makes you believe in a happy ending and hope. At a time when life feels uncertain for me personally, binge-watching the show and crying over the finale gave me a profound sense of courage.
It’s a story, sometimes simple, sometimes so crazy, but each character comes through. So can you if all these characters portrayed by the incredibly fantastic cast can overcome their obstacles (realistic or telenovela ones).