MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Love triangles, fake deaths, accidental pregnancy, evil twins, a face-changing crime lord.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JANE THE VIRGIN")
ANTHONY MENDEZ: (As Narrator) I know - straight out of a telenovela, right?
MARTIN: Well, right. A telenovela was, in fact, the inspiration behind "Jane The Virgin," a TV series on the CW starring Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a chaste Catholic girl who, in true soap opera fashion, is artificially inseminated by accident. The show has been beloved by fans, who are now mourning the season finale that aired earlier this week, bringing the show to a close after five truly dramatic seasons.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JANE THE VIRGIN")
MENDEZ: (As Narrator) 'Kay (ph), let's do this. Jane was accidentally inseminated with Rafael's sperm. Oh, and the doctor? That happened to be Rafael's sister, Luisa. And Luisa also happened to be embroiled in an affair with Rose, her stepmother. But Rose turned out be crime lord Sin Rostro. And...
MARTIN: Yeah, that's a lot. And our very own Linda Holmes is here in the studio with us to tell us just why it will be missed so much and if you haven't been watching what you've been missing.
Linda Holmes, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.
LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Oh, thank you for having me.
MARTIN: So you are clearly a "Jane The Virgin" fan. You wrote a long and very loving piece about it. What made you stick around for all these seasons?
HOLMES: The great thing about "Jane The Virgin" is that it is a love story. It's a soap opera, as you hear from those wonderful words of Anthony Mendez, who's the guy who does the narrator voice - wonderful, so brilliant. It has all these amazing plot developments. But it's also an incredibly warm family story. It is really about Jane and her mother and grandmother, who have always been present in each other's lives. It deals with their reality as Latinas. They have dealt with immigration status and citizenship and other things like that. The story is so touching so much of the time and yet also so goofy. That's the balance that's been so intoxicating, I think, to so many of us, including me.
MARTIN: People often talk about, you know, underground hits or cold hits or niche hits and so forth like that. How would you describe "Jane The Virgin?"
HOLMES: Everything is a niche hit now to some degree, right? It's very rare - there are only a few shows that really reach what you would consider to be a broad audience. "Jane The Virgin" has the distinction of being a network, a broadcast network show, so it's not cable, and yet it had the distinctiveness and the kind of weirdness of a cable show just because it's so silly. So it's a wonderful combination of a kind of a nichey (ph), funny show but also a show that was still available to everybody through broadcast television as opposed to on cable.
MARTIN: How did they pull this off? I mean, it is so crazy. (Laughter) I mean, it's so crazy, and then with the - not subtitles. It's not quite right.
HOLMES: The type on the screen.
MARTIN: The type on the screen.
HOLMES: Yeah. It's a really formally experimental show. And I think the creator, Jennie Urman, and the star, Gina Rodriguez, have both really just loved this show and wanted to build it as something special and interesting. But I think the vision of it from the beginning that - Jennie Urman's vision of it from the beginning was distinctive and interesting and smart, and I think she's been allowed to really execute that vision. And that's why I think it has worked so well.
MARTIN: And I don't want to take away from the delightfulness of it. But...
MARTIN: But the fact is that it features a Latinx cast. The script flipped between Spanish and English. It had all kinds of relationships explored in it. And I wondered, was that part of their intention? Or was it just that every - anything goes with this show? I mean, was there something about it that was intending to kind of expand the boundaries of what people thought people could do on television?
HOLMES: I think it's hard to know how much of it would ever have been planned, how much of it they could have ever known they were going to do. For example, it's clear that they wanted to create a space for these Latinx cast members, right? That, I think, is - clearly was part of it from the beginning. But they also had, for example, in the later seasons a really lovely story about a woman coming out as bisexual who had not known that about herself. And I don't know that that was ever - I think with some people, the more space you give them, and the more they see something grow, the more their idea of what they can do expands.
MARTIN: So without spoiling anything, did the ending land? No "Game of Thrones"-level fan fury here, or what? What do you think?
HOLMES: So Jane had been in a - kind of a love triangle, right? She had Michael, who was her boyfriend at the beginning of the show, and she had Rafael, who is the person who is the biological father of the baby she was accidentally inseminated with. So she's had relationships with both of these men kind of back and forth. There were always going to be some people who liked the one guy or the other guy, so you were never going to please everyone. But I think for the most part, people understood that the ending was very loving toward the characters. It was fun. They wrapped up a lot of that kind of silly crime lord stuff in the previous episode so that the ending could really be joyful, which is what the show has brought to people over the time it's been on.
MARTIN: Linda, tell the truth - did you cry?
HOLMES: Oh, I think I did. Yeah - less about the love story and more about the women...
HOLMES: ...The mother and the grandmother with Jane. That's always been an incredibly affecting story.
MARTIN: What are you going to watch now?
HOLMES: What am I going to watch now? That's a great question, Michel.
MARTIN: Don't leave...
HOLMES: I'm going to have to come - I'll come...
MARTIN: Don't leave us hanging. Yeah.
HOLMES: Yeah. I'll be back soon. I don't know - more ideas.
MARTIN: (Laughter) All right. That's NPR's pop culture correspondent Linda Holmes, who's also the author of the bestselling novel "Evvie Drake Starts Over."
Linda Holmes, thank you so much for joining us.
HOLMES: Thank you, Michel.
(SOUNDBITE OF EMANCIPATOR'S "RAPPAHANNOCK")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.