Jane the Virgin is one of the most streamed, binge-watched TV series on Netflix.
I don’t want to admit this (especially publicly here on this platform), but I did not watch the romantic comedy series Jane the Virgin during its successful run on the CW network from 2014 to 2019.
Not one episode. Yep, as a self-proclaimed Latina “girl power” kinda feminist and a long-time journalist covering the U.S. Latino community, I didn’t watch a show loosely based on a popular Venezuelan telenovela called Juana la Virgen. And I’ve loved telenovelas since I grew up watching them with my abuelita in Miami, Fla.
Sure, It was my day job (and it’s also my passion) to highlight Latinos as doing amazing things in the U.S. Latino community. But, again, I somehow missed the boat on watching Jane the Virgin in primetime.
Why am I making this confession now (as disturbing as it may be)? Because I’ve seen the errors of my way! I now get it. I see why the show was No. 1 during its debut. “I understand why it’s currently one of the most streamed, binge-watched TV series on Netflix,” said Cathy. “And I understand why my twin and teen daughters love watching it as much as I loved watching telenovelas with Abuelita back in the day.”
It’s pure genius – a modern-day masterpiece of storytelling (and I was an English literature major in college, so I know not to make declarative statements like these if I can’t back them up).
Created by Jennie Snyder Urman, the show’s premise revolves around Jane Villanueva, a 20-something-year-old Latina who becomes accidentally artificially inseminated and ends up pregnant, despite having never been sexually active.
And then the true telenovela unravels from there, following Jane’s journey as she navigates the challenges of her unexpected pregnancy, her relationships (including a unique one with her baby daddy Rafael Solano, played by the handsome Justin Baldoni), family dynamics (with her Abuela and single mom, played by Ivonne Coll Mendoza and Andrea Navedo, respectively), and her pursuit of her career aspirations (which included trying to become a telenovela writer and romance author).
“I knew that Jane the Virgin was a dramedy, with over 1 million viewers per episode, but no one told me, as I’m now sharing with you, how darn witty it is,” said Cathy. “Even the website Rotten Tomatoes, known for rating TV shows and movies, gave the series 100% Rotten Tomatoes, a top honor not accomplished by many.”
From the show’s narrator breaking the fourth wall to guide us viewers through Jane’s life, to the use of social media hashtags, to addressing contemporary dilemmas like an accidental sex tape, Jane the Virgin is as hip and relevant today as, say, ABC’s Modern Family. Or as any episode of NBC’s The Office. Yeah, it’s that good.
The fact that the cast is diverse, with Puerto Rican actress Gina Rodriguez in the lead, is just the cherry on top. And its use of Spanish and English, and Spanglish? That’s just gravy for anyone who loves the exploration of cultural and social themes in the U.S. Latino community.
To those of you looking to relive younger years of telenovela watching at home, but with a new generation and an updated twist, I’d like to recommend watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix, and pronto. Plus, according to a recent OK! Magazine interview with Jaime Camil – who played Jane’s Telenovela star father, Rogelio de la Vega, there may be a Jane the Virgin reunion with 10 new episodes. What!?
So, don’t be like me and miss out on the fun this time around. Your future self may never forgive you for missing the boat … along with all the new family bonding that comes with watching a great telenovela.
Produced in association with Latin Heat
Edited by Priscilla Jepchumba and Newsdesk Manager