Jane the Virgin is one of the best shows on TV right now.
From its approach to content and topics that have typically been considered taboo and were generally untouched on TV (abortion, non-traditional families, virginity, bisexuality, illegal immigration etc.), to its strides in diversity, politics, and beyond, the show is a massive success and a triumph of television.
The cast and crew no doubt work tirelessly to make the show so wonderful, but there is one element of their work that has slid under the radar: the show’s fantasy sequences.
Perhaps they go unmentioned because they are woven into the story so seamlessly. But in general, the fantastical elements of the show are not discussed or praised nearly enough.
If you think about it, most episodes contain some element of fantasy. Whether that means an alter-ego of Jane (think mom Jane vs. fun Jane), a picture coming to life, or the silent movie sequence from season 2, there are subtle and not-so-subtle ways that the show plays with reality and fantasy.
And these choices are incredibly smart and work for so many reasons. Here’s why.
First and foremost, they straight up make the show more interesting. It adds an element of fun and whimsy and adds a nice break from the crazy drama of the show. It breaks conventions without being disruptive.
And on a bigger level, these elements really play with the idea of what/how TV can work. Plots don’t always have to be straightforward and linear, and we don’t always have to draw our own conclusions about what a character is feeling. It’s okay for a creative piece of work to straight up tell you what to think. A visual manifestation of a character’s innermost thoughts can directly tell us what they are thinking. It sounds silly, but it works.
Not to mention that these elements of fantasy make the show more relatable. Who hasn’t imagined personal drama playing out in a theatrical way? Who hasn’t pictured those little voices in their head coming alive, or visualized how a certain conversation could play out? The show validates the normality of these kinds of thoughts.
These elements of fantasy blur the line between reality and “make belief”, and serve to reinforce that the show is, in fact, completely fictitious and frequently ridiculous in the best way — which the narrator constantly reminds us. The show tackles strong and important issues, but at the same time is self-aware. It likes to remind viewers not take everything so seriously, and these fantasy sequences are the perfect way to do that. Keep ’em coming!