One of TV’s most underrated shows — unless you’re a member of the women’s cross country team, in which case you discuss this show constantly while running excessively long distances — is the CW’s Jane the Virgin.
The basic concept of the show centers Jane Villanueva (played by the stunning Gina Rodriguez, whose facial expressions are a gift from the acting gods), a Catholic woman in community college who is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine OB/GYN appointment.
The show plays off of telenovela tropes to create a series that’s half soap opera, half American comedy and 100 percent our favorite show of the cross country season. Not only is everyone beautiful (I actually can’t stress this enough — everyone is eye candy to the point where it’s almost obnoxious), but the storylines are complicated and convoluted in the way that only soap operas can get away with. There hasn’t been a love triangle this divisive since Twilight, and yes, there are teams. It’s the perfect show to curb binge-watching. If you watch too much at a time, you’re liable to be overwhelmed in a hurry.
Jane, her mother and her abuela are all strong female leads. None of them sacrifice their dreams for the wrong reasons, and they offer each other support in all of their passions, passing the Bechdel test with flying colors. The women of the show are strong despite diversity, drawing their strengths from their family to motivate themselves in a forward direction.
As a new mother, Jane must always keep her child in mind, whether that be his safety, education or her lifestyle in relation to him. Her child is the most important part of her life, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have other aspirations or goals. Jane is a powerful single mom who is pursuing a writing career, in a strong relationship and always aware of where her child is. Mateo is not a TV baby that disappears off screen so that Jane can appear more glamorous. Gina Rodriguez makes single mom life look hard, but very doable and rewarding with help and love from family and friends.
All of the heavy real life aspects aside, the show navigates the baby stuff and the romance in the most hilarious way through the telenovela narrator. The omniscient narrator reveals secrets to us as the audience that Jane and her friends don’t know and we get to sit on edge while we watch them fail or succeed through the plot’s crazy twists and turns. This is one of the few shows I’ve watched in realtime (with, like, commercials, guys) and the only one where I’ve been shocked enough to audibly shriek.
Jane the Virgin is currently in its third season, and its first two seasons are available on Netflix , so lucky you! Take a much needed vicarious vacation to Miami this winter break, cozy up with Jane and embrace those strong lady vibes.