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TV Series Review

Unexpected pregnancies can really make life chaotic—especially when you've never even had sex.

Jane Villanueva knows the feeling. One day she's just a normal young adult—waitress, college student, wannabe writer—the next she's been artificially inseminated by a doctor who got her procedures mixed up.

And the next—well, she's a new mom who has a seriously crazy love life. No, I mean really crazy.

First, she dated her baby's dad (Rafael) while fending off the guy's former fiancée (Petra), who was constantly trying to cover for her somewhat murderous, possibly deceased, hook-handed mother (Magda). After breaking it off with Rafael, Jane got married to her best friend, Michael. But, of course, Michael died unexpectedly, leaving Jane a widow. Now, Jane’s back with her baby daddy (Rafael) and about to get engaged. But, in Season Five, Michael mysteriously comes back from the dead right before Rafael has a chance to pop the question. Now, Jane must decide who she will choose. If that all sounds a little like a bad telenovela, well, that's the point. Jane the Virgin, CW's clever and problematic comedy, is riffing on the outlandish Spanish-language programming that Jane's own grandmother dearly loves. And, naturally, Jane's father is a self-absorbed telenovela star. This is a world in which someone's always finding a long-lost rich and snobby cousin or nefarious great uncle with an eye patch. It's certainly the only show we know of (Arrested Development not withstanding) that requires a full-time narrator just to keep all the plot strands straight.

It's silly and salacious, and proud to be. Characters jump in and out of bed with one another like spring-loaded teddy bears. Most everyone has some sort of horrific secret they're just dying to share with us. Sexual dalliances of every stripe are common. Dire news and death lurks around every corner—though in a show like this, death itself is somewhat relative.

And yet Jane the Virgin, like its titular character, is sweet and well-meaning and oddly pure.

Perhaps pure isn't the right word. The show, obviously, isn't shy about its negative content issues. But there's a certain winsomeness that clings to it despite all those problems, and we owe a lot of that to Jane herself. Here is a young woman who kept her virginity because of her own personal values. She's not socially inept (even though she wouldn't believe that). She's not a prude. She's certainly not immune to sexual temptation. (Something we see a little too much of, actually.) She's witty and charming and refreshingly normal—three characteristics you rarely see connected with virgin in movies or television.

Jane also allows for God's name to be used more often as a petition than a swear word. "[God] has a plan," Jane's grandmother, Alba, tells her. "I truly believe that. But it better be good." And while people sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) make mistakes, many really are trying to do what's right here—not for just themselves, but for others as well.

As for the CW's long-range plans for this show, though—like how many people we'll see sleep together, how many will mysteriously die in freakish soda can accidents, how many will wind up being gold-mine-owning long-lost great aunts of Jane once removed—that may be an even bigger mystery than God's plan for Jane. It's certainly a more sordid one.

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Episode Reviews

July 31, 2019: “Chapter One Hundred”
March 27, 2019: "Chapter Eighty-Two"
Jane the Virgin - Nov. 23, 2015 "Chapter Twenty-Nine"
Jane the Virgin - Oct. 20, 2014 "Chapter Two"



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Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva; Brett Dier as Michael; Justin Baldoni as Rafael Solano; Yael Grobglas as Petra Solano; Andrea Navedo as Xiomara Villanueva; Ivonne Coll as Alba Villanueva; Yara Martinez as Dr. Luisa Alver; Bridget Regan as Rose; Jaime Camil as Rogelio de la Vega; Priscilla Barnes as Magda; Rosario Dawson as Jane Ramos; Elias Janssen as Mateo Solano Villanueva; Anthony Mendez as Narrator






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