Why You Should Watch Jane the Virgin This Fall
It positively – and realistically – depicts a Latino-American family without solely relying on Latino stereotypes.
The show follows the Villanueva family – made up of daughter Jane (Gina Rodriguez), mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo), and grandmother Alba (Ivonne Coll) – as they navigate their way through the aftershock of virgin Jane’s unexpected pregnancy by artificial insemination. Though Latino food, the Spanish language, and issues with illegal immigration are featured in the show, the fact that the family is Latino-American isn’t the defining feature of the Villanueva household. Jane is a great writer who’s working to put herself through school; Xiomara has dreams of becoming a professional singer but has yet to make her big break; Alba is a supportive grandmother who still deeply misses her deceased husband. The show does not make caricatures out of these women – there is so much more to their characters than the typical female Latina stereotype that shows often portray.
It doesn’t shy away from addressing current social and political issues in America.
As previously mentioned, the show does touch on the topic of illegal immigration, particularly when one of the main characters is at risk of deportation. And, this past spring when Jane the Virgin came back from its winter hiatus, it certainly wasn’t afraid to address the 2016 presidential election results either. In Episode 52, airing late January 2017, a character nonchalantly quipped, “I’m with her,” leading the off-the-screen narrator to add, “I was too…along with the rest of the popular vote.” According to the show’s creator Jennie Snyder Urman, the cast and crew “feel a responsibility to react to this presidency”, so fans can certainly expect the same witty, pointed political statements in the coming season.
It makes an effort to cover topics that all types of women can relate to.
Because the three Villanueva women are at varying stages of life and each have different personalities and goals, the show does a wonderful job of creating storylines that appeal to women of all backgrounds. Jane the Virgin features women who love to party, women who prefer staying home, moms who are extremely hands-on and moms who thrive with the help of nannies. It shows that it’s okay to have sex or to remain a virgin, that it’s fine to be very religious or to not believe in God; it portrays the highs and lows of coparenting, the pain of not achieving your dreams and the joy when you eventually reach them. There truly is, in the end, a story for everyone.
Rodriguez is not only a talented actress but also an empowering role model.
Rodriguez won her first Golden Globe in 2015 for her portrayal of Jane, and since then, she has used her popularity to spread the messages of diversity and equality. Her Instagram posts often feature the hashtag #MovementMondays, where she shares information about other minority – particularly Latino – artists. In 2016 she created the We Will Foundation, which focused on providing funding for young, less fortunate women to pursue the arts. This year, in an effort to continue her support of women, Rodriquez partnered with Luna Bar for a campaign which advocated equal pay for all genders.
And, of course, the telenovela inspired drama never fails to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The show is based on the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, so of course it makes an effort to stick to the traditional, over the top drama of the genre. With the sassy narrator, constantly changing relationships, imaginary musical numbers, and subplots involving murder, it may sound overwhelmingly dramatic to some. However, with its focus on family and raw emotions, the show manages to always stay grounded in reality, even as the latest wild storyline is unfolding, which makes for a truly enjoyable viewing experience.
The fourth season of Jane the Virgin begins airing on the CW October 13th, but for those who have yet to start the series, don’t worry – there’s still time to catch up with the other three seasons on Netflix!