Jane The Virgin Season 4 Review
Ever since the days that the CW was once the WB, the powers that be at the Emmys have constantly denied it recognition in any major category. This was galling in the days when only the major networks would get nominations; it’s absolutely moronic in an era when many of the series nominated aren’t even on TV any more. And right now, the cruelest victim of them all is one of the best shows on any network, Jane the Virgin.
The telenovela satire (which it acknowledges at least twice an episode) has been growing incredibly powerfully over the last year. In one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of TV, Jane’s beloved husband Michael died from complications from the shooting in the third season premiere. The series has since moved forward three years, and Jane’s baby Mateo is now nearly five years old. Her family situation has been sort of in a mix the last few months. Her mother Xo has finally married her father, telenovella star Rogelio (the always hysterical Jaime Camil), but have been unable to deal with a proper marriage because Rogelio’s fist wife (Justina Machado) has shown up very pregnant with Rogelio’s child, and now they are trying to deal with a really complicated situation, especially now Patty has fallen in love with Rogelio great rival Esteban.
Things have not gotten any easier with Jane’s baby daddy Rafael. In the third season finale, he was thrown out of his hotel and disinherited by his sister, Luisa. He has now spent the last three episodes trying to rebuild his fortune at the expense of everything else. For starters, he torched his relationship with Jane at the beginning of the season, which has become awkward since they are living together now. Then, his relationship with his ex-wife/other baby mama Petra (Yael Gregorias) fell apart when she told him she was isn’t in love with him. And now, he’s trying to having a fake relationship in order to buy his hotel back, which has the advantage both the other women in his life.
As for Jane (the incredible Gina Rodriguez), she is trying very hard to remain sane and self-centered, which has not been helpful by the fact that the first man she ever was love with, Adam, a comic book artist, has come back into her life and has determined to make her happy. Which makes even more complicated because Xo and her Abuela didn’t exactly love him the first time, and aren’t crazy about him now.
What makes all of this so brilliant is that this series never takes itself seriously. Realizing that the title has made no sense for the last year, half the fun now comes when it shows up and is edited. Narrator Anthony Mendes remains one of the most delightful treasures in the history of television, and they still find ways to make it remarkable. (In the season premiere, for example, they introduced Adam with his own narrator, and they spent the episode sniping at each other. And the series always seems to have throw away dialogue that will drive into hysterics. For example, in last night’s episode, Rogelio was raging at one of the writers: “You can’t introduce a new character three-fifths of the way through the series, and expect him the audience to love him!” The narrator then cut in: “Gee. I wonder what Adam’s doing.”
Jane the Virgin is arguably one of the cleverest, charming, and endearing series on television, and now it has been regulated to Friday nights, considered the dead zone of broadcast TV. Two of the best series on network television are on the CW Fridays,(the other, of course, is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and on their best days they get less than a million viewers combined. Jane has done well at the Golden Globes and the Critic Choice , but the Emmys still refuse to give it the time of day. And since both shows probably need the awards to survive, this is particularly cruel. Both series may survive til they reach their natural ends — this is, after all, a network that has been more than willing to renew both series despite their low ratings — but I regret this because both series are among the truly exceptional accomplishments on any form of medium. Find the time in your DVR or Hula. Watch this show. It should be noted that there’s no reason not to.
My score: 4.5 stars.