With the extended first season coming to a close, I'm officially ready to say that ABC Family's Jane By Design turned out to be one of my favorite new shows of the year. Considering the fact that I've yet to find anyone else who actually watches the series (outside of our forum, that is), and in hopes that someone from the network will see this and decide to order a second season, here are five solid reasons why I recommend catching up with Jane and the gang:
The '80s Throwbacks
As I mentioned in my initial review of the show, Jane By Design is inundated with '80s and '90s movie clichés -- the premise itself is a rip-off of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. While the sound of a show that takes on various plotlines from Pretty in Pink and Never Been Kissed may seem unappealing, each episode feels more like a sweet homage than lazy plagiarism. I even take pleasure in seeing what beloved movie they'll do next... even if the writers aren't necessarily purposely trying to pay tribute to anyone or anything.
On that note, Jane By Design is awesomely cheesy. It contains corny high school, workplace and fashion biz hierarchy at its finest. The show in no way transcends anything, but it does present a cute teen balancing a career, a difficult family and a few love interests in a satisfying, guilty-pleasure type of way. It also doesn't hurt that every episode features someone sneakily crawling on their knees under a table.
Jane and Billy's Chemistry
A quick Google search will demonstrate that there's already a bunch of Billy and Jane 'shippers out there -- and I can understand why. It's rare to find a show where two young people of opposite genders can be loving best friends with a will-they-won't-they romantic spark without it feeling completely played out. Instead, the series is taking its time with officially putting Jane and Billy together, building their relationship that much more and adding other characters to their universe. I can't say the same for Jane's brother Ben's relationship with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Rita, as the writers insist on painting her more and more crazy every single episode. On the bright side, Jane By Design is completed G-rated when it comes to sex, which is honestly sometimes a refreshing change of pace after watching Pretty Little Liars slotted right before it.
There was so much potential for Jane's character to be whiny and annoying, but Erica Dasher somehow makes her character adorable and likable. No one is going to hand Dasher a golden statuette for her work on Jane By Design anytime soon, but maybe enough young'ins will rally for her to get a surfboard one of these days, or whatever it is that actresses on underrated teen series get.
It Keeps Teri Hatcher Busy
When Desperate Housewives ended, I both celebrated the fact that I no longer had to watch Hatcher on a weekly basis and cringed at the idea of her joining a new series. Thankfully, she's actually pretty perfect as Jane and Ben's absentee mother. Her acting level is on par with the rest of the cast and she boosts the ratings and she's not even around in each episode. Unlike every single Mad Men scene that features Mason Vale Cotton (M.J. Deflino) playing Bobby Draper, I don't curse at the very sight of her.
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