For much of its existence, the CW network has been home to sex-centered series like Gossip Girl. Jane the Virgin
continues the tradition – with a twist.
All her life, Jane Villanueva has striven to be a “good girl.” A hard-working A student on track to become a teacher, Jane also works part-time at a hotel and is engaged to police detective Michael. Most notably, the 24-year-old Jane has retained her virginity, out of determination not to repeat her mother’s irresponsible mistakes (Jane’s mother Xiomaria became pregnant with Jane at age 16). But Jane’s life is turned upside down when, during what was supposed to be a routine exam, she is accidentally artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant. To make matters worse, the biological donor, wealthy hotelier Rafael, is a married man, the new owner of the hotel where Jane works -- and was also her former teenage crush.
As is obvious from the description above, Jane the Virgin
focuses on sex – lots of sex. In addition to the elements mentioned above, Jane, Xiomaria, and grandmother Alba all watch steamy telenovelas
together; Rafael’s wife Petra, the intended recipient of Rafael’s sperm, wanted to get pregnant only to hold their marriage together until a pre-nuptial contract condition kicks in (after 5 years of marriage, Petra gets $10 million) – all while Petra is sleeping with Rafael’s best friend; Xiomaria is promiscuous, sharing details of her affairs with her daughter, as well as sending Jane sexually explicit pictures of other women’s “boob jobs” and sex acts; and while Jane and Michael have remained physically chaste, Michael texts Jane and requests they engage in phone sex (when Jane replies that her mother is sleeping in the same room, Michael texts, “How soundly?”)
Language is problematic, with Xiomaria berating Jane’s doctor, “Where did you get your degree, the University of Dumbass? My daughter said she is a freakin’ virgin, so do another damn test!,” along with frequent references to “boobs” and “boning.”
Also problematic is the show’s attitude towards faith. During a panel at the Paley Center, the show’s producers patted themselves on the back for the show’s “respectful attitudes” toward “diversity” (Jane the Virgin
incorporates storylines not only about Latinos, but about Rafael’s lesbian sister); but the show’s producers are far less respectful of Catholicism. Grandmother Alba, the only devout individual seen in the pilot, is portrayed as a narrow-minded, out-of-touch tyrant who traumatizes Jane into remaining a virgin until marriage: when Jane was 10, Alba gave her a white rose, then ordered her to “crumple it up!” After Jane does, Alba sternly lectures, “That’s what happens when you lose your virginity – you can NEVER go back!” Naturally, Alba is also revealed to be a hypocrite: when the promiscuous Xiomaria became pregnant at 16, Alba urged her to get an abortion. And when it is revealed that Jane is pregnant despite not having had sex, Jane’s mother drops to the floor and proclaims her daughter the Immaculate Conception, and prays a “Hail Mary,” changing the words to “Hail Jane.” (This must be the “religious content” the CW’s network representative boasted the show would contain while speaking at the Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Media convention
For viewers unused to Latin American telenovelas Jane the Virgin
’s obsessive focus on sexual themes is both offensive and over-the-top, and is not recommended for children or teens.
Jane the Virgin
premieres Monday, October 13th
at 9:00 p.m. ET on CW.
Take a look yourself and tell us what you think in our comments below!