‘JANE BY DESIGN,’ SEASON ONE VOLUME 1 (2012)

May 7, 2012 14 Comments

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.

‘JANE BY DESIGN,’ SEASON ONE VOLUME 1 (2012). Reviewing the charming first (and only!) season of the ABC Family show. All review text © Rissi JC

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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‘JANE BY DESIGN,’ SEASON ONE VOLUME 1 (2012). Reviewing the charming first (and only!) season of the ABC Family show. All review text © Rissi JC

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.  

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

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.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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14 Comments

  • C.C.Shoshanah May 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I watched this series a few months ago. I liked it, but there were a few things I thought were a bit shady, like the skirt lengths etc, most of the things you mentioned really. But on the whole I thought it was a clever idea and fairly well played out. I am intrigued as to whether they will be a second season.
    I think Billy is the best! =D But found Jeremy, rather creepy to begin with.

  • Rissi May 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Wow! Great to see you here, C.C. It has been forever. =)

    I wanted to watch this when it first came to DVD but then I couldn't find it to rent so it was still a thought in the back of my mind but I sort of held off seeing it. Anyway, I really liked it. It is whimsical and cute and funny. One of the best (teen) shows I've watched in a while. Loved how everything played out and the characters who were just… fabulous! Glad you liked it.

    Really? You didn't like Jeremy? Hm… I did. He made me chuckle. I know he was a flirt but you never really got the impression that he was an outright jerk, and then apart from the premiere (and maybe E2), he was really sweet and protective of Jane. Then again in the finale, he acts like he'd like "more" from Jane but until then, it was really sweet.

    Billy + Jane = adorable! ;-)

  • Rachel Hipps May 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I've seen this tv show around on Netflix Instant, but I wasn't really interested. But I think I'll try an episode or two now! :) I've been watching Make It or Break It lately, and wow. Great tv show! you might like it! :)

    love your reviews!

    –rachel

  • Rissi May 8, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Yeah, I saw this one advertise on Switched at Birth, Rachel and thought it looked like my kind of show, so from then on, I was anxious to see it. Thank goodness it lived up to my minimal expectations (I had read very little about it) because it was really sweet. And touching. And romantic. And funny.

    Make it or Break it: That is cool to hear you like that one because I enjoy the occasional viewing of competitive gymnastics so I've a feeling I'd enjoy that show also. (That will be basically all I'll watch this summer on the Olympics.) I need to check the video store to see if they have it available. *fingers crossed* You can be sure I'll be writing about it if I do find it. ;D

    Thanks, Rachel! I am really glad for all your comments – I love them! =) Thanks.

  • memory May 9, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I can't imagine being raised by my brother as she was. What an adventure that would be!
    I love my family. (:

    SoUtHeRnPiNkY.bLoGsPoT.cOm

  • Rissi May 9, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I know, right? That would be odd. Still, Jane and Ben seem to navigate it better than some and that is awesome – and a wonderful adventure. (Yep, I realize I am gushing about this topic in a mere television show. ;D LOL!)

    Me, too: My family means the world to me. =)

  • Ella May 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Looks good!

  • Rissi May 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    It is! There are lots of fun twists and turns, Ella! =) Plus not only is the dialogue witty but the characters are likable.

  • His Little Lady May 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    awww, love this show!!! i hope there is a season 2. i have to know who she picks!!
    xo TJ

  • Rissi May 11, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Me, too! I became "addicted" to it after one measly episode. ;D

    The second half of S2 starts in June – so excited! Hopefully the DVD set will be forthcoming soon after. If not, I might cry 'cause I am dying to know also, TJ! ;D

  • Lauren May 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I've heard about this show but didn't know what the premise was. It sounds like a cute show, and I love movies/series that are colorful. Like Confessions of a Shopaholic. That was such a pretty movie. :)

  • Rissi May 18, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    It really was, Lauren – I cannot wait to see "part 2"! The characters and fashion are quirky and totally lovable. ;D Way more fun than anything has a right to be. LOL!

    Oooh! I love "Confessions." (This could be thought similar.) It was so sweet – I should add my already written review of that to my archives even though everyone who cared has likely seen it. =D

  • Lauren May 19, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Yes, you should! I'd love to read your review of it. :)

  • Rissi May 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    It will have to go on "the schedule." =D

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