11 Reasons to Watch Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin is one of my favorite shows and I’m going to tell you why. 

Reason #1 Latino Representation

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This is one of the few television shows that I’m aware of on American television where the protagonist is latina and it’s not ever a thing. There are no stereotypes and that’s refreshing to see. Not to mention that many of their celebrity guest stars are latin stars like Juanes, Emilio & Gloria Estefan (Miami royalty), and Paulina Rubio. 

Reason #2 The Virginity Issue

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Yes, the protagonist is a virgin and waiting for marriage to lose it, and that’s not something we usually see on television or in media, period. It’s representing a portion of the population we don’t normally recognize. However, what I LOVE about the way they’re handling it is that Jane’s virginity does not make her a prude or saint. She’s human and makes mistakes and has her own imperfections, it just so happens that she is a virgin.

Reason #3 It’s a Telenovela

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The show is based on a Venezuelan telenovela from the early 2000s. But, as someone who has watched the original show, Jane the Virgin is a lot more dramatic than the original. It uses all the tropes telenovelas are known for from miraculous births, wedding or birth finales, crazy identities, evil stepmothers, and so much more. The show knows it’s ridiculous which lends itself for humor.

Reason #4 Bilingual Show

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Notice the “in spanish”

One of my favorite sitcoms was Que Pasa en USA from the 70s and it was bilingual. The characters easily spoke spanish and english with ease and they are understood each other. Jane the Virgin has this too where characters speak spanish and english in the same scene and understand each other with ease. I love this about JTV because it’s so true to life (at least my life) where households easily go back and forth between the languages.

Reason #5 Love Triangle Works

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For the most part, I despise love triangles. They’re not believable and most of the time you know who the protagonist will choose in the end. In JTV, the decision between Rafael and Michael is hard. They’re both great and have faults of their own making the choice difficult for the audience and Jane as well.

Reason #6 Modern Family

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The lives of the characters and their roles within this expanding family get increasingly more difficult and stranger. Despiute the chaos, the characters mange with their odd little family and when you see them getting along, it is so worth it. So much so, that I almost want to cry happy tears.

Reason #7 Great Writing

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The writing on this show is phenomenal. I’m not even sure if I can explain this properly but the writers know what they’re doing from writing dialogues, to the narrator’s voiceover, to the way they cut from scene to scene.

Reason #8 It’s Relevant

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The show is also relevant and point things out like immigration reform and the clusterf&*# that is Venezuela today. (Seriously, google Venezuela and you might be horrendously surprised with what’s going on over there) They’re aware of the issue and inject it in the story in a somewhat subtle way, but they don’t drive the rest of the story.

Reason #9 The Narrator

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I think this is the only show to have a narrating voice through the whole show, and I love it. He might not be an actual character, but he is one of my favorite persons in the show. And makes the show unique and special from the others.

Reason #10 Rogelio

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For those who don’t know seeing Jaime Camil in this role of a self absorbed, celebrity obsessed, narcissist telenovela star with a good heart is priceless and funny in itself. Jaime Camil in real life was known for his mexican telenovelas. I know of them although I never watched them, but he is by far one of my favorite characters.

Reason #11 Petra

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As much as I’d like to properly explain this one, I can’t because of spoilers.

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Review: Persepolis (Movie Adaptation)

TITLE: Persepolis Image result for persepolis movie
DIRECTOR: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud
RUNTIME: 96 minutes
SUMMARY: Marjane Satrapi tells the story of her life living in Iran in the midst of the cultural revolution.
LANGUAGE: French
GENRE: Coming of Age | Animated
NOTES: Based on the graphic memoir, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Quickly after I read Persepolis, I found out there was a movie adaptation from a couple of years back. The movie was co directed by Marjane Satrapi, the author of the graphic novel, and Vincent Paronnaud. It was also nominated for best animated feature film in various award shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globe. So, of course I had to find this film and watch it.

I wish I could say I went on a quest. That I had to face metaphorical dragons and find metaphorical unicorns to get my hands on this holy movie in DVD, but the truth is much more boring than that. I went to my local library and checked it out.

So onto the review!

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The first thing that surprised me about the film was the animation style. It is exactly like the comics, but the drawings just happen to move and talk. It was weird to see such a unique style in animation film when I’m so used to watching today’s modern 3D cartoon (example, Zootopia) or even the original 2D cartoons (example, Lion King)  but I loved it either way. That’s already the first sign of how this film stays true to the source material. If anything it made it stand out even more.

The animation is in black and white except for a couple of scenes. Ironically though, the scenes in color felt the weirdest because they felt like they didn’t belong. Personally, I prefferred the black and white scenes more. However, that doesn’t matter because 95% of the film is in black and white.

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The movie is exactly like the memoir. By this, I mean that essence and main points of Marjane’s memoir are in the movie. They don’t focus on every little detail but stick to what’s important. Call it the highlights of the book. I preferred it that way because, if I’m honest, there are parts of the book that I wasn’t fully invested in. It still shows what it was like for Marjane to grow up in Iran, all the hurdles and changes the government made her go through. It shows her teen years in France and her return. It’s not an exact replica, but we shouldn’t expect it to be. As far as graphic novel to film adaptations go, this movie is a must see.

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Jane the Virgin and the Original TV Show

For many of you Jane the Virgin the CW’s latest drama that revolves around Jane, a virgin, who became pregnant after being artificially inseminated. What an outlandish and original premise, huh? Well, while it’s still outlandish, the premise is not completely original. Jane the Virgin is an american remake of the original Venezuelan telenovela, Juana la Virgen.

Both shows share the same premise, but just about everything else that happens to the Janes is completely different. As someone who has watched both shows I thought it would be fun to point out some of the differences.

To clarify I will be using the original name, Juana to refer to the Venezuelan show, and Jane for the American one. I also haven’t seen past season 2 of Jane the Virgin, so please don’t spoil anything for me. Continue reading

Review: The OA (Season 1)

TITLE: The OA Image result for the oa poster
SEASONS: 1 (for now)
NETWORK: Netflix
EPISODES: 8
SUMMARY: After Prarie is once agains reconnected to with her adoptive parents, it’s clear that she is not the same woman who went missing years ago.
GENRE: Sci-Fi | Fantasy | Mystery | Supernatural
WARNING: Graphic sex scenes and violence
RATING: 4/5 Continue reading

The Problem With 13 Reasons Why

I’m not going to take back my opinions of how good the show is, because it is, but I do have one issue that I can’t get past from.

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Last week I was working on on a post about books and shows that portray characters dealing with mental issues. Initially, I had 13 Reasons Why on the list, but then it dawned on me that it also didn’t belong on that list (sort of like Clay). The other books on the list talked about mental health and how debilitating and problematic it can be to live with them, but they all had one thing in common. Their protagonists received the help they needed. None of them died. For those reasons, I found myself removing 13RW from that list.

On a post that’s about dealing with mental illness, I didn’t want to include a story whose character dies in the end. I wanted it to be more positive, to let people know that there can be an issue, and more importantly a solution to it too.

I know that in the real world it doesn’t always end on a happy note, and 13RW reflects that, but shouldn’t we also be able show how people can overcome it? In the show, Hannah doesn’t get help. She only talks to one person who fails to see the problem, and then she gives up. She could have talked to her parents or friends, but chooses to give up easily. That’s not the right message to show people already struggling with similar thoughts.

What’s even more mind boggling is that the show never addresses the possibility that Hannah might have been suffering from some type of mental illness. In my opinion, this a failure on part of the show because most suicide victims also suffer from mental illness.

Everyone is talking about how great the show is and how it’s raising awareness on serious topics, but without someone saying there is another way to cope with these hardships, it’s hard to get past this glorification of suicide. I’m afraid people aren’t going to see the message the creators of the series originally intended to show its audience.

Moving forward, I hope 13RW remedies this problem by having other characters get the help they need, like Jessica. Because more than anything, people need to hear the words, It will get better.” 

As someone who has experienced issues with mental illness, showing how other people get through it, can motivate others do the same.

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Summer Reads & Movies

PROMPT
The weather is heating up (for half of the world), so what books remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads?

When I think of summer I think sun, beach, friendships, romance, and adventures. The books and movies listed below have some if not all those elements. I know it’s supposed to be 5, but I couldn’t help myself and listed more than I was supposed to.  Continue reading

Mental Health in Books and TV

May is mental health awareness month. It’s a topic I think is important and should be talked about more without the negative stigma associated with it.

I for one, have struggled with anxiety in the past. However, I received help from professionals, and a great support system from family and friends (and my dog). At first, I didn’t recognize the signs or that I had a problem until I realized I wasn’t living the life I wanted. I had stopped eating normally, falling asleep was difficult, my thoughts were constantly racing and swirling in my head at all hours the day (and night), and I stopped going outside. At that moment, I knew I had to say something, ask for help.

It wasn’t easy, or fun, or quick to fix. There were a lot of aches, tears, and difficulties to get to the comfortable place I am today, but it all started with asking for help. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I also want to say that recovering from that crippling anxiety is nonstop, and it’s something I’m still coping with. As corny and cliche as it sounds, if you get help it will get better. It has to.

Since my personal experience with mental health, I worry a lot of how the issue is being depicted. I worry because there are so many misconceptions about the subject, that it’s hard to find stories that get it right.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite books and shows that get it right.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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In this book we follow Cath, a brand new college student coping with all the changes that it comes with attending university for the first time. And she’s completely alone since her twin sister decided to hang out with a new crowd that doesn’t involve Cath. At first I just thought Cath was super relatable in how she sees the world and copes with it, until someone pointed out that it’s also about anxiety. The issues presented in this book are not the focus of the story in the same way others are on this list, but they are present. Alcoholism and depression also make an appearance.

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Mallory suffers from selective mutism (an anxiety disorder) after years of abuse in the foster care system, but with her adoption and years of hard work, she’s finally gotten her voice back and decides to to go to public school for the first time in years.

What I adored about Mallory is that she really shows how recovery works concerning anxiety disorders. For people that have never had anxiety disorders (or any disorder) it might be weird to see someone get so ecstatic over simple things like talking to a stranger, but the excitement Mallory shows over these things is genuine. She also knows it’s okay to have bad days and stay in bed all day as long as you get back up the next day and move forward. FULL REVIEW.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Charlie has had a short but painful and difficult life, which she copes with by cutting herself. It’s not until she goes into treatment she begins to get the right help, however she is soon left to her own devices when she’s forced to walk out of the rehab center. Now she’s on her own and desperately trying get better on her own.

This book showcases a lot of mental health issues apart from self mutilation and it’s a dark read, but it’s incredibly touching to see Charlie’s journey of recovery. She demonstrates the hardships that comes with the territory and the many infuriating bumps along the way. But in the end, all I could do was root for her to make the right decisions instead of the wrong ones (and there were a couple). It also has one of the most bittersweet endings I’ve ever read which  made me bawl like a baby. FULL REVIEW.

Legend of Korra, Book 4: Balance

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SPOILERS BELOW! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, DON’T READ THIS SECTION. JUST KNOW, THIS SHOW BELONGS ON THIS LIST. 

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Avatar Korra is a headstrong young woman whose job is to maintain balance in the world. Throughout the series she is very confident in her abilities and immensely strong too, but in book 3’s finale she suffers a setback when she’s almost killed in battle. In book 4, we see her deal with the aftermath of that fight, which has left her in deprssed and in a wheelchair. Her problems may start out to be purely physical, but she soon realizes that it’s also her mental state that’s in trouble. For the rest of the season she continues to cope with her loss and receive help from various people.

What really surprises me about this show is that it deviates from the normal animated shows. It’s simply not normal to see an animated show on nickelodeon take on a story about mental health and trauma. What’s even more surprising is that they did take their time with the character’s healing process. They don’t rush it and that’s very important to show, because mental health issues are not that easy to fix, they do take time. I also appreciated that it was a strong character who went through with this, because it shows that it can happen to anyone. It reminds us that mental illness does not discriminate. FULL REVIEW.

What is Fatmagul’s Fault? (Turkish Drama)

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This Turkish TV drama revolves around a young woman, Fatmagul, who was brutally raped by three men and the repercussions after the rape. The reason I put this on the list is because it’s one of the very few rape story lines that didn’t bother me on television. They attend to the issue and although Fatmagul’s healing process is painfully slow (for some viewers), it’s also done right because she receives help. Most of the time, when rape is portrayed on TV it’s glossed over so the story goes on to the next exciting thing, but in this drama they do a great job of addressing the issues that come with it, from confronting it head on, to the social stigma, and how it affects future relationships. It’s not just Fatmagul who has to deal with what happened, but everyone else who was directly or indirectly involved in it and those who tried to hide it.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

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When Craig almost commits suicide, he hospitalizes himself to receive help and treatment for his depression. Vizzini, who has struggled with depression himself, shows all the different ways depression manifests itself through eating disorders, sleeping disorders, and substance abuse. It’s honest, relatable, and a realistic portrayal of a serious issue. However, as the title suggests, the story is not all sad and gloom… or gritty. He takes depression for what it is.

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