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They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find your favorite series on Netflix. Okay, full disclosure, I have never actually heard someone say that. But the day I found Jane the Virgin on Netflix truly felt just as significant as the day I came into this world.
BJTV (Before Jane the Virgin ) I was annoyed with the protagonists that I was supposed to be rooting for. How could I cheer on self-destructive young women,
who complain about being “broken” (last time I checked, a human being can’t break)?
My apologies, but if I see one more black and white gif like this:
accompanied by 5,000 retweets, I am going to lose my mind (nothing personal, Blair Waldorf).
I am not waging a war against showing emotions, as I am an absolute cry machine. But, I’m getting bored of watching characters sob alone in a parking lot, with only rain, a sad Christina Perri song, and their deepest regrets to keep them company.
It seemed weird to me that writers completely forgot about a sub-section of young women, the sub-section I affectionately refer to as the “big sisters.”
Big sisters are my way of naming compassionate, hard-working, kind young women, the type of person you wish were your older sister. The type of person who wouldn’t, say, date their best friend’s ex.
(again Blair Waldorf, nothing personal).
The title character of Jane the Virgin, Jane Villanueva, is the epitome of someone you wish were your older sister. She was raised by a single teen mom, and worked tirelessly in school to be successful in spite of her disadvantaged upbringing.
She’s painstakingly honest about her feelings.
She never refrains from stating her true feelings, even when she’s afraid that doing so may create problems.
When she gets into arguments with her best friend, it’s settled by simply talking through it (rather than through blackmailing or heinous revenge).
Instead of giving up on her dreams when faced with unexpected obstacles, she works harder so she can still achieve them.
And, just like every person, she messes up, but she takes full ownership of her mistakes.
It’s so refreshing to watch a show in which a character confesses to their wrong-doings almost immediately, and attempts to make them right as soon as possible.
In fact, many aspects of this show struck me as refreshing, and so, after I binge-watched, it took no time for me to begin promoting it.
Seriously, I should be paid by the CW’s advertising department for how tirelessly I badgered people both online and in conversation.
(you know I’m not kidding around when I use bold font in a text)
Soon, about 98% of my inbox were texts pertaining to Jane the Virgin. The other 2% were my mom, asking if I was ever going to stop binge-watching Season 1 (it’s worth noting that my mom is also infatuated with this show now.)
Texts from friends fell into one of following categories:
Cursing me for getting them hooked on the show,
but also saying they couldn’t even hate me for bringing the show into their lives,
freaking out over plot twists,
or talking about how obsessed they are with the protagonist, Jane.
Having my phone buzz every few minutes with an urgent, all-caps text about JTV kind of made me feel like the leader of a small cult (but, like, a chill cult without any weird rules.)
One of my equally-obsessed friends, Julia Caruso, and I wanted to write an article, one that would list around fifteen role-models for young women on currently airing shows, giving Jane Villanueva the #1 spot.
We ultimately ended up ditching what we assumed would be a fairly easy piece, because we faced a huge dead-end: there’s a total lack of role models for young women on currently airing shows.
Trust me, Jane, I was annoyed too.
How could it be that, out of the abundance of shows on television, there are so few featuring young women who are worthy of looking up to?
I guess the theory behind writing characters prone to such disastrous decision-making is that a responsible protagonist who nips conflict in the bud and communicates her feelings is boring.
But, get this- Jane the Virgin is a super lively show.
There’s plot twists around every corner. I would include some fun gifs of the most shocking plot twists, but I didn’t write this with the intention of spoiling JTV for innocent readers.
The winning combination of the actors’ real performances and the incredible writing will make you feel invested in the characters’ lives– almost like part of a family.
In fact, I’m so ridiculously invested that I feel guilty about writing this instead of catching up on Season Two.
Speaking of winning, Gina Rodriguez, the actress who portrays Jane, WON a Golden Globe for her work on JTV.
(She also gave a really beautiful acceptance speech that is worthy of a completely separate editorial. )
If you still aren’t convinced, there’s the fact that the series is rated FIVE STARS on Netflix.
JTV having a responsible protagonist does not make the series boring, but rather even more exciting. There’s something so intriguing about watching a character make good decisions, and, yet, somehow still find themselves in chaotic situations.
Maybe it’s time to skip the lazy writing tactic of using disastrous characters to create plots. Take a nod from Jane the Virgin, and give us some protagonists to look up to.