REVIEW: ‘Jane The Virgin’ brings life’s madness into one funny, heartwarming tale Filipinos will love

by: Gerry Plaza

It’s always a delight to witness a finely crafted comedy.
Not one that merely brings fiendish wit of a few gifted comedians in out of this world situations, but a heartwarming satire that shows identifiable and lovable characters all submerged in an insane, laughable mess of real-life circumstances, to which audiences can relate.

Yes, Jane The Virgin is all about that religious, God-fearing girl whose world turned upside down because of that terrible mix-up at a hospital, wherein she was mistakenly artificially inseminated and got pregnant—given that she had wanted to give the ultimate gift a girl would give to the man she loves, being a virgin until they tie the knot. Worse, she finds out that the sperm donor is her boss, Rafael Solano (Justin Baldoni), the magnate who owns the hotel she works for.

Hit American series
But this successful American series that premiered on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida this week would present impressively depicted sub-plots and clearly portrayed backstories that allow all the other characters their own share of the limelight, all humorous and charming, that makes it a sensational must-see.

Who could not sympathize with Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) in this predicament, as she learns of this life-changing reality that she could not take back? Of course, who can’t be more distressed than her detective boyfriend Michael Cordero, Jr. (Brett Dier), who like any man would not choose to rear a child not his own? And, who could not feel for Rafael, whose own battle with cancer meant this was his only chance at having an offspring?

Her grandmother Alba Villanueva (Ivonne Coll) is also surely distressed given that Jane’s mother Xiomara Villanueva (Andrea Navedo) went the troublesome path herself when she gave birth to our precarious lead character at a tender age of sixteen out of wedlock. Yet, given that it was borne out of circumstances beyond Jane’s control and her inane and neurotic lesbian gynecologist Dr. Luisa Aver (Yara Martinez), Rafael’s sister, started this gargantuan mess and rightfully targeted for a malpractice suit, Jane is absolved and supported.

Milkshake
Yet, what must be done with the infant in her womb, whom Jane calls her “milkshake” (which she conjures up after remembering her mom Xo’s rendition of the Kelis charttopper)? Michael and Rafael have their own opposing, contradicting standpoints, understandably, but ultimately Jane decided to keep it, all with the condition that she gives the baby up immediately after conception to the biological father Rafael, who incidentally owns the hotel where Jane is working at, and his hoodwinking wife Petra (Yael Grobglas). Petra has all the reasons to want the baby—to extend their ill-fated marriage with the aim of claiming Rafael’s wealth. And what else can make Petro more sinister than having an affair with Rafael’s best buddy Roman Zazo (Alano Miller)?

Indeed, a stirring and exciting start for a riveting series, in which Filipino audiences are astonished and eager to discover what will happen next (though spoilers and taped episodes are in abundance everywhere given that the series premiered over a year ago in the US and continues to this day). Hashtags for the show since its premiere on Philippine TV on Monday, #JaneTheVirgin and #JaneTheProposal, have topped both worldwide and local trending topics on Twitter for two days in a row, revealing the strong impact the show gives to Filipino viewers.

Impeccable storytelling
We can attribute this excitement and overwhelming interest in the show to the impeccable storytelling, which not only thrills those watching in every new episode but also engages them every step of the way. Add to that the enchanting acting performances of the entire cast, led by Gina Rodriguez, who already won Best Actress – Television Series, Musical or Comedy in the 2015 Golden Globes for her portrayal of Jane in the series. Jane The Virgin also got a Golden Globes nomination for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, showing the acclaim it enjoys worldwide. No one can ignore likewise how Jane, Rafael, Michael, Petra, and even Milkshake are now being widely discussed and mentioned on social media—all with users’ passionate take on their characters, not to mention giddiness.

Above all, this is definitely an incredible find for Filipino viewers to deeply cherish and adore for a long time to come.

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