Jane by Design: Season One, Volume 1 (2012)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Today, I cannot tell you all how much fun I had watching this all-too-short first-season series. For those who may not have been aware of it, I am happy to give you an idea of what it is about (seriously, look into it) and for those who watched it, let’s chat about Jane by Design, shall we? Without explanation, ABC Family channel series have been a “trend” at my house. Some I have no interest in, others make me cringe without really trying and some I couldn’t find to rent. This show was the latter’s case. Had it not been, I’d have likely seen it two months ago.

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.” Costume designers used a lot of cute skirts and belts – a trend I thought was very smart looking. Here, colors are mixed up a lot and there is plenty of inspiration to be had even if one does not like everything about the pieces that are put together. Then, leaving the fashions in the dust, there are the characters. Even the evil “meanies” have moments where they almost crack and we almost like them because we are given a chance to see them at their most vulnerable. Jane is adorable. I love her close relationship with Ben and it is made better by the growth Ben goes through. He wants to be the big brother who Jane visits at college, the guy she confides in but he realizes that is gone. He cannot – he has a responsibility to Jane. By the end, he is no longer that same goofball. Then there are the men in Jane’s life.

There is the cute Nick who is not just the popular jock but also more than he seems – the guy Jane has been crushing on since fifth grade. Then there is Jeremy. A young, attractive designer who initially tries working his charm on Jane but quickly becomes more of a mentor (oh, yes! – and did I happen to mention that Jeremy is… British?). Last but not least, there is Billy. The best friend who doesn’t realize that, yes, he has been suppressing his feelings for Jane for… well, years. Each of the guys in her life are “a catch” in their own way. Jeremy is not who we want for Jane (even though we love him) because he is a flirt and is coincidentally sleeping with the one woman who seems intent on seeing Jane’s efforts ruined but by the finale we have the expectation that maybe, just maybe he is going to be turned around and be made better for Jane’s influence. Their relationship is one I grew to love – his protective nature of her was sweet. On the other hand, I adored Billy and Jane’s relationship. I loved their banter, how well they knew each other and the fact that he called her “Janie.” The finale has the nerve to leave us hanging with Jane (literally) stuck between two guys. Who are they? Nope, that is right, I’m not telling.
For the most part, this show sparkles with outgoing potential. It is witty – seriously, I say this a lot but I cannot remember the last time a show held so many delights and laughs – and the characters have infectious energy that is hard to squelch. There is great music and the opening may be simple but it 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 are clichés in these but we are giggling so much at the sheer joy of it all that it really makes no difference. Unfortunately, if there is something to be reprimanded it is the lies Jane lets snowball. They may start out as a case of mistaken identity but she knows better – even though her intentions were the best kind. 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.  

(What to know: Rated TV14 because of 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 are 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.) 


  1. 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.

  2. 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! ;-)

  3. 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!


  4. 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.

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


  6. 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. =)

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

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

  9. 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

  10. 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. :)

  11. 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

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

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


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