Among the many great sins that the Emmy judges have committed over the past twenty years, by far the most stunning and inexplicable has been the almost complete shutout of the WB. Despite being a testing ground for the some of the greatest actresses in TV history—- Keri Russell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Lauren Graham are only a sample of those names— as well as some of the most brilliant show-runners, such as J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon and Greg Berlanti, the Emmys have basically shutout the entire network for its entire existence.
When it merged with UPN to become the CW in 2006, there was a long gap before it began producing series that were to brilliant to ignore. And while it’s continued shutout of Berlanti’s superb reworking of DC comics is rather hard to fathom, by far the most appalling victim so far has been the resilient comedy ‘Jane the Virgin’, a series that simultaneously revels in absurdity while creating some of the most delightful and emotionally piquant images of network television today.
In the Pilot last season, Jane Villanueva (Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez) was mistakenly inseminated with the hotel manager Rafael’s samples of sperm. As if having to deal with a pregnancy despite being a virgin, the relationship pretty much scuttled her engagement to Detective Michael Cordero (Brett Daier). Most of the first season featured Jane trying to balance her pregnancy and involvement in a love triangle with her problems with Rafael’s ex-wife, manipulations over the hotel, a criminal mastermind named Sin Rostro, and a series of killings. Sounds like a soap opera, but its pretty much been a satire of telanovelas, which makes sense, considering that is narrated by one of the most delightful voice-overs since ‘Pushing Daisies’, and Jane’s absentee father turned out to be the star of a telenovela himself (Jaime Camil, who continues to steal every scene he’s in.)
Last season climaxed with Jane giving birth only to have her baby kidnapped by Sin Rostro, who was trying to retrieve crucial evidence against here, including the face she’s currently wearing. Jane’s problems have not gotten much easier now that she’s a mother: in the second episode, her reaction to the love triangle was to blurt out that she was in love with both Rafael and Michael, coupled with learn that Rafael’s ex-wife stole another sample of sperm and now is pregnant with his child. The search for Sin Rostro hovers over the story like a shadow, combined with the fact that Rafael’s sister has been kidnapped. And just to make things more annoying, Jane’s mother is still dealing with the fact that she and Rogelio got drunk-married in last season’s finale.
This probably makes the series seem incredibly complicated, but it’s always moving rapidly and never takes itself that seriously. It is far more entertaining than a lot of the so called comedies that are on the air these days, and it is by far one of the more enjoyable series. So why in the name of all that is holy did it basically get shutout by the Emmys this year? For crying out loud, shows are nominated on networks that aren’t even on television anymore, and yet somehow this show gets ignored even though every other award show chose to recognize it?
Nevertheless, ‘Jane the Virgin’ is a treasure. One can’t watch without being amazed and astonished at what network TV can still accomplish in this day and age. Simultaneous satiric and a brilliant story on family relations, it is clearly a great show. Emmy judges to the contrary.
My score: 4.5 stars.