Today, I get to share the fun I had watching this all-too-short series. For those who may not be aware of it, I’m happy to give you an idea of what it is about (seriously, look into it). For those who did see it, let’s chat about Jane by Design, season one shall we?
Jane by Design, Season One Volume 1 (2012) ABC Family TV Review
Ah! High school. The years of your life when everyone seems intent on black-listing you from every social clique – there is never really a place you can find that you “belong.” That is 17-year-old Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher). Naïve to a fault, high school life for Jane is far from ideal. Being raised by her 20-something brother, Ben (David Clayton Rogers), the former high-school popular guy who never really grew up, Jane’s life is made better going through the crazy “who’s who” in miserable high school by the presence of her best friend, Billy (Nick Roux). At home, things are not exactly rosy either.
Ever since the death of their father (and their mother ran off years ago), Ben left behind his dreams of a baseball career to raise his little sis’. The two are close but Ben hasn’t found a job and house payments must be made. Applying for an internship at one of the East Coast’s most prestigious fashion institutes – Donovan Decker – Jane hopes to make some cash to help out. But then, things get really sticky when the budding fashionista is mistaken for the job of executive assistant to fashion legend Gray Chandler (Andie MacDowell). Juggling two lives – that of a high school outcast and a bright, budding 20-something designer who takes this new world by storm is so not going to be easy.
Immature, soapy or fun could all be descriptive words for this show, and yet, I couldn’t have cared less! Is it unusual television fare for me? You bet. Of late, I have been craving “different” and this fits that mold without being a compromising show that you know you really shouldn’t like but week after week you keep coming back. It has been a genre I’ve loved easing into. With this, I think I’ve found my favorite so far. Anyone who loves fashion will likely be in love with this – at first sight. There is a great deal of spunk to its writing and especially the characters.
Being a fashion conscious show, the styles and clothing attracted me. The cutthroat fashion designers dress very edgy, usually in black. Contrast that with Jane’s quirky, bright sense of style and the designers have a lot of looks that really “pop.” Here, colors mix a lot and there is plenty of inspiration. Then, leaving the fashions in the dust, there’s the characters. Even the evil “meanies” have moments where they almost crack and we almost like them. Jane is adorable. I love her close relationship with Ben. He too goes through some character growth, and b the end, he’s no longer that same goofball. Then there are the men in Jane’s life.
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There’s the cute Nick who’s more than he seems. Jeremy, a young, attractive designer who quickly becomes more of a mentor. (And he’s British, too!) Last but not least, there’s Billy. The best friend who doesn’t realize that, yes, he has feelings for Jane. Each of the guys is “a catch” in their own way. Jeremy is not who we want for Jane (even though we love him) because he’s a flirt; but by the finale we have the expectation that maybe he’s going to turn around and be better for Jane’s influence. On the other hand, I adore Billy and Jane’s relationship. I love their banter, how well they know each other and the fact that he calls her “Janie.” The finale has the nerve to leave us hanging with Jane (literally) stuck between two guys. Who are they? Nope, that’s right, I’m not telling.
For the most part, this show sparkles with outgoing potential. It’s witty and the characters have infectious energy that is hard to squelch. There is great music and the opening may be simple but is toe-tapping good. The show is full of cute romantics, snappy dialogue, a mole at Donovan Decker, some interesting fashion and fumbling misunderstandings. Sure there’s clichés but we giggle at the sheer joy of it all so it really makes no difference.
Unfortunately, if there is something to reprimand, it’s the lies Jane lets snowball. They may start out as a case of mistaken identity but she knows better. If you’ve never thought to check this out, give it a chance. If you like something with more bite, this is not going to be your cup of tea but if something “happy” is your genre, this should just hit the spot. Un-wrapping this show promises a mirage of stunning fashion – and a glimpse into a world most of us will never know.
My favorite episodes: “The Wedding Dress,” “The Getaway” (just try to tell me you don’t like Jane and India’s little bonding trip!) and “The End of the Line” (I may or may not have almost cried), plus lots more in the far-too-short 10-episodes.
You can find Jane By Design, season one digitally on Amazon Video
Content: some implications and perhaps a mild profanity. We learn that Jeremy is sleeping with a co-worker [once we catch a brief glimpse of them at work and later see them lying in bed, sheets appropriately placed]; Gray engages in multiple implied liaisons. There is one sex-ed class [not graphic] and Ben becomes nervous when he thinks Jane is going to be intimate with Nick [nothing more than kissing]. There’s some make-out scenes with high-school students and the implication that Billy is sleeping with his girlfriend. There are a few crude remarks tossed around and one guy thinks Jane is going to have sex with the “wrong guy” after a night of partying. One character is arrested after being talked into helping his brother. There is some immodest clothing. The show is TV-14.