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 (albeit too short) skirts and belts – a trend I liked because belts are “good” for me (or so I have read) although, I rarely sport them. 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 (despite being a ladies man) 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 new 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. *grin*
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.)