Jane the Virgin stars newcomer Gina Rodriguez as Jane, an ambitious 23-year-old whose grandmother convinced her at an early age that women must protect their virginity at all costs. But when she gets pregnant after she is accidentally inseminated (what? it could happen!), she is extremely conflicted about whether to carry the child of a man (Justin Baldoni) whose battle with cancer has left him infertile.
OK, yes, it is a wacky premise, but the show promises to keep things as grounded as possible on a show about a pregnant virgin adapted from a telenovela. For example, executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman promises that the show will answer the most obvious question: If you were accidentally inseminated, wouldn't you sue?
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"I find it incredibly difficult to imagine a girl who gets accidentally inseminated that doesn't sue, so we're going to deal with it," Urman told reporters at the Television Critics' Association panel for the series. "Jane is a really good person and she'll struggle with that, but there's that reality. I took a poll in the writers' room [and asked], 'If this happened to you would you sue?' I have a lot of really good people in the writers' room, and they'd still sue."
Though it takes its premise from a Venezuelan program, Urman says that Jane will be more of a love letter to the original than a direct retelling. "I have a very specific tone I'm trying to hit: a fairy-tale, whimsical quality. At the same time, this is a telenovela and I want to take advantage of the fun and license that comes with [that] and tropes that come with it. I'm hoping if I keep the characters grounded and relatable and they react as one would when really bizarre things happen, we'll find the comedy in that." It sounds like Ugly Betty, another show that came from Jane executive producer Ben Silverman. "This show is a little less broad," Urman says. "I describe it as Ugly Betty-meets-Gilmore Girls because the mother-daughter-grandmother relationship is so central."
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Rodriguez, who admits that she turned down a role on Devious Maids before landing Jane, says that the latter series aims to tell stories that aren't currently on television. "When I was presented with Devious Maids ... I found it limiting for the stories that Latinos have. Sadly, right now the perception of Latinos in America is very specific to maid, landscape, pregnant teen.
"I have two older sisters, one's an investment banker and one's a doctor and I never saw us being played and I realized how limiting that was," she continues. "So every role I've chosen has been ones I think are going to push forward the idea of my culture, women, beauty [and] I wasn't going to let my introduction to the world be one of a story that's been told many times. I waited for [the role of Jane] patiently."
Jane the Virgin premieres Monday, Oct. 13 at 9/8c.
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