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The telenovela has been a staple of Central and South American TV for decades and reached U.S. TV screens with the parody, "Jane the Virgin." The show was created by Jennie Snyder Urman and based on the long-running Venezuelan telenovela, "Juana la Virgen."
"Jane the Virgin" begins with a flashback to the ten-year-old Jane having the facts of life explained to her by her grandmother who states she must not give up her virginity until she is completely sure she is ready. The attitudes of her grandmother jar with those of her mother, who has lived a more free-spirited existence as she had Jane as a young woman and remained obsessed by various pop stars. Moving into the present day, Jane has managed to remain a virgin through to the age of 23 and does so despite her police officer boyfriend having stayed with her for two years. Jane explains she is waiting to get married before she sleeps with her boyfriend.
Jane works at a hotel where she is a popular and respected employee, the hotel is owned by Rafael who is struggling to come to terms with the loveless marriage he is trapped in with Petra. After another night of unhappiness with his wife, Rafael heads to his hotel where he is enjoying a drink when Jane is told to do a mermaid costume and entertain the patrons at the poolside bar. When Rafael stands and walks towards Jane she throws aside the bottle of champagne she is holding and dives in the pool wearing a mermaid tail. Her fellow employees tease Jane about her longstanding crush on Rafael.
In the meantime, Dr. Luisa Alver, the sister of Rafael returns home from her job as a gynecologist to discover her wife is cheating on her with another woman. Luisa is heartbroken and rushes out if the house to gain some solace from her family. Jane's crush on Rafael is destroyed when he finally talks to her and asks if she works at the local strip club, Jane calls her boss a "Jerk."
The following morning, Jane is booked into the local OB'Gyn clinic where she is expecting a routine checkup from her regular doctor. Unfortunately, Luisa is sitting in for Jane's usual doctor and is showing all the signs of no sleep and still being emotional after discovering her wife's cheating the night before. Jane is tired after the late night working at the poolside bar and does not hear Dr. Luisa enter the room or begin to talk to her as she naps on the table. Jane awakens during what she believes to be a routine examination and is shocked at the speed and ease of the work done by Luisa.
After completing her work with Jane, Luisa enters the next room where she is to artificially inseminate Petra with Rafel's frozen semen but cannot find the frozen sperm. Two weeks later, Jane is riding the bus to work when she collapses giving her seat up to a local nun and is rushed to the emergency room where she is told her is pregnant. Jane and her mother laugh off the diagnosis and ask for a second test which also comes back positive. "Jane the Virgin" is now pregnant despite maintaining her modesty throughout her life and must set out to discover how the event happened and who is to blame.
Upon returning to the offices of Luisa, Jane is told the doctor made a mistake and artificially inseminated her two weeks earlier. Jane slides into a fantasy world for a few moments as she is counseled by the telenovela star, Jaime Camil who appears in a fantasy sequence. After informing Jane of the news, Luisqa calls Rafel and informs him of Jane's pregnancy and tells him she is an employee. Rafael is a cancer survivor who saw his last chance of children as freezing his sperm as he started chemotherapy and wants to keep the baby despite not knowing Jane. An earlier encounter between Jane and Rafael is uncovered as Janes explains she is not ready for a baby and has spent her whole life trying to avoid becoming a young mother. Rafael explains her respects her position and does not reveal his cancer issues but does talk to Petra about adopting the baby if possible.
Princeton graduate, Jennie Snyder Urman is the showrunner and creator of "Jane the Virgin" has decided to adopt the Venezuelan version for U.S. TV. Urman originally wanted to act but stated she was not able to handle the rejection and turned to write instead. The writer began work on "Faith and Hope" before writing for shows such as "Gilmore Girls," and "90210." "Jane the Virgin" is the most famous show created by Urman and ran for five seasons before coming to its conclusion.
Gina Rodriguez began her career in television taking on small roles in network shows such as "Law and Order" before breaking out in the hip hop music feature, "Filly Brown." Since the breakthrough performance, Rodriguez has appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, including "Deepwater Horizon" and her Golden Globe-winning performance in "Jane the Virgin."
Set in Los Angeles, "Jane the Virgin" is filmed on soundstages in California for a partnership between CBS, Warner Bros, Entertainment, and RCTV International for The CW network. The show is also filmed on location at California's Huntington Beach. The commissioning of the fifth season was seen as the perfect time to bring the show to a close by concluding the various plot points which were still left open.
Despite being the first comedy attempted by The CW network, the show has become a critical success with Rotten Tomatoes giving "Jane the Virgin" a 100 percent rating for season one. The show maintained its 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes through the fourth season with Metacritic declaring the show "universally acclaimed." The numerous professional critics who have discussed the show have stated it is one of the best examples of the single-camera comedy to be created in the 21st-century.
The casting process for a sitcom with the difficult title of "Jane the Virgin" was expected to present problems for creator Jennie Snyder Urman but Gina Rodriguez was chosen as the third actress to audition. Mexican actress Kate del Castillo made an impression playing Luciana Leon in the show but hit the headlines when she acted as the contact between actor Sean Penn and the Mexico drug lord, El Chapo. The drug lord had recently escaped from jail and Penn wanted to interview the star who was a fan of the actress.