A little while ago, I wrote an entry extolling the feminine virtues of Jane the Virgin. How so much of the storytelling includes plotlines and details that are firmly rooted in what is considered (whether justly or unjustly) the feminine sphere, and how it continuously manages to treat each of those feminine aspects with validity and respect: things ranging from motherhood and pregnancy to romance novels, telenovelas, and plastic surgery. I talked about all this in a general way, but today I just want to pick out Jane the Virgin‘s depiction of pregnancy and new motherhood and talk about just how blown away I continue to be with every episode.
I often think of television as being in two different categories. On the one hand, there are the shows that invite a lot of conversation, a lot of examination and analysis. There’s a depth and substance ti the stories and characters that just makes me want to talk about them. And on the other hand, I have what I refer to as my happy shows.
Just to be clear, this distinction is in no way an indication of the worth of a show. Plenty of shows that make me frantic to tear them apart and process every detail are far from what you’d call high brow entertainment. And plenty of the more fluffy, happiness laden shows that give me no deep thoughts but instead simply fill me with warm joy are television shows of the absolute highest caliber. There’s good an bad, quality and trash, on both sides. And both serve a pretty distinct and important purpose for me.
For most of its Season One run, Jane the Virgin was in that second category. It was frothy and funny, optimistic and sentimental, and I loved every minute of it. The narrator is hilariously witty, the characters are engaging and easy to root for (okay, with maybe the exception of the diabolical Petra), and the story lines are all equal parts hysterical, exciting, and heartwarming. At this point, Jane the Virgin is probably my Number One Happy TV tv show currently on the air.
And then last night’s episode made me think!
On Thursday, Emmy nominations come out. The Emmy’s are always a fun time for me; they’re a time to look back and think about what really worked on television the previous year, what made me laugh, what made me cry, what made me think and feel and rage. They’re a time for me to roll my eyes as that one show that I’ve never managed to get on board with gets nominated again. And they’re a time for me to scratch my head at some of the more questionable “comedy” entries.
I don’t think the Emmy Awards are necessarily the be all, end all of television accolades. For sure there’s a good amount of politics and campaigning and repeats. I, for one, have always felt that – since unlike any other award, shows and people are being nominated and awarded for the same project or character over and over again – there should b a gap year from winners. Like, if Modern Family wins one year, they should automatically be ineligible the next. Just to spread things around a bit. But I guess that would never happen.
I suppose that since it’s June 2nd and the last of my shows aired their season (and quite possibly series) finale last night, it’s officially time to say the season’s over. Some people may like to tack on the summer to the end of their television year, but I like to follow the Emmy’s calendar (seeing as we share a name and all). So, for the next few weeks I’m going to be spending my Tuesdays looking back over the season and bringing you my thoughts on certain stand-outs from the past year.
Today, we’re starting with my favorite new characters. These are the people who have stuck with me, mostly for good reasons, but a few for being deliciously not so good. They’re the new people I’m itching to get back to now that the season’s over, the people whose stories I need more of. Probably not surprisingly, most of these new characters come from bran new shows, but there are a few newcomers to some well established shows as well.
Yesterday I wrote a post about Brooklyn Nine Nine and mentioned how glad I was to have it in the wake of Parks and Recreation‘s series finale earlier this year. It’s only been off the air for maybe a month or two, and already I miss it. In fact, after the finale I went ahead and re-watched the whole thing, all seven seasons. This is a show that will go down as one of my all-time favorites, with qualities I think will be incredibly difficult to replicate.
Parks had a lot of strong, strong elements going for it, but the thing that stood out for me the most was simply Leslie Knope. To be fair, if you watch the first season – and even a handful of episodes from the beginning of Season Two – Parks, and indeed Leslie Knope herself, got off to a rough start. Coming off The Office, and in fact originally envisioned as and Office spin-off, Leslie Knope started off the series as a female version of Michael Scott, a somewhat out of touch, buffoonish character surrounded by a group of apathethic co-workers who tolerated her at best. Thankfully, that characterization of her was quickly put to rest early in Season Two, and she instead began to emerge as the kind, passionate, driven, and determined woman we all fell in love with.