TV review: Jane the Virgin, E4 (3 stars)

TV review: Jane the Virgin

Golden Globe-winning comedy starring Gina Rodriguez is low on laughs but big on charm

The premise for Jane the Virgin sounds like a spot of clickbait to the right of an article you probably didn’t want to read in the first place: ‘This gorgeous Latina just got herself pregnant: BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK!’ Well, ain’t that the truth. During a routine hospital check-up, Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is accidentally inseminated by a stressed-out doctor. There are very few people who would look upon that mix-up in a favourable light, but it’s all the more galling for Jane given that she had vowed to her devout grandmother that she’d stay a virgin until, at the very earliest, her wedding night.

Her young cop fiancé, Michael (Brett Dier) fully understands her predicament but doesn’t really want anyone else’s specimen inside his future wife. Despite the strong religious beliefs held in the Villanueva family, it’s duly agreed that, reluctantly, an abortion is probably the best scenario for everyone. Thing is, the sperm she received was the very last good-to-go drops that could be provided by cancer survivor and hotel-owning former playboy Rafael (Justin Baldoni). In light of that fact, he begs Jane to have the child before handing it over to himself and his beloved wife Petra (Yael Grobglas). Chances are you’ll have guessed this already, but Petra is cheating on Rafael.

If all this sounds a little bit like one of those overwrought Latin soap operas that are often used in the backdrop of other shows, it might not be a coincidence. After all, the father which Jane has never met is a bona fide star of the genre, but now he is keen to meet his daughter for the first time. Rather awkwardly, Jane has felt a bunch of mushy feelings towards this small-screen legend.

You’ll have concluded that quite a lot is rammed into Jane The Virgin’s opening episode, but this is only the half of it. While coming across as more of a light drama than a knock-out comedy, it didn’t stop Gina Rodriguez beating Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lena Dunham to a Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy Actress. The laughs, you assume, will come thicker and faster as the show gestates.

Jane the Virgin starts on E4, Wed 22 April, 9pm.