It took me weeks, but I finally sat down and watched the season finale of Jane By Design. Or maybe I should say series finale? Rather abruptly — after just one season — ABC Family decided to cancel the show, which only garnered a 0.4 rating for its finale [source].
While Jane By Design may not have been on par with the supernova ratings for Pretty Little Liars or Switched at Birth, it was a highly popular show with a fan base that’s now angry to boot. And rightfully so. Cancelling Jane By Design was premature and I want it back!
Here’s the worst part of it all: the finale ended with a total cliffhanger. There were so many questions! Has Jane finally been caught? Or will she wiggle her way out of this one too? Is she really in love with Billy? Or is she just lonely? And we’ll never know.
Sure, the show was extremely predictable, so much so that you realized each episode’s plot before you hit the opening credits. But that’s part of the beauty of Jane By Design. It’s predictability is comforting. If I want to watch something cerebral, emotional and complex, I’ll turn to Mad Men or Breaking Bad or Girls. But I don’t watch Jane By Design for any of those things. I don’t want mystery either — or I’d just watch more Pretty Little Liars. I watched Jane By Design for fun. Mindless fun. Pretty clothes. Sparkly shoes. Simplistic problems that will be solved in 50 minutes or less.
The truth is ABC Family didn’t cancel it because it was too predictable. Otherwise Switched at Birth or The Lying Game or The Secret Life would be gone too. Jane By Design was cancelled because its ratings couldn’t keep up.
Before The Secret Life of the American Teenager aired in 2008, ABC Family never got mega ratings. It was a network without an identity. But The Secret Life showed them a new path for their network. And so came Pretty Little Liars and a plethora of other successful shows. And now ABC Family is used to its shows being number one in their time slots with females 18-49.
I totally get that. Who doesn’t love success! But if every network cancelled every show that didn’t measure up to its most successful show, we wouldn’t have Mad Men or 30 Rock.
I’m not saying Jane By Design is 30 Rock or Mad Men quality, but on a network that airs shows about teenage text-stalkers and long lost twins, how high does the quality have to be?
On February 23, at the winter break, Jane By Design drew a 0.6 rating. Switched at Birth drew a 0.8 rating [Source].
Since the summer premiere, the ratings have dwindled, but that’s not because Jane By Design is a terrible show. It’s because the story got crazy. No one likes Zoe. The drama teacher is tedious. And it’s disappointing that the writers decided to test the “Are they more than friends” plot with Billy and Jane. Everything about the first half of the season worked. And almost everything about the second half didn’t.
But that doesn’t say, “let’s cancel this show,” to me. That says, “if we want this show to survive past a second season, we have work to do.” And they should have been sent to work with a warning. If the ratings don’t get better, you’re in trouble.
It never happened. Jane simply disappeared.
Fans have staged Twitter protests and forged Facebook groups. Actors have tweeted that we could still save this show. But despite it all, ABC Family hasn’t decided to think it over. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to receive our own $5000 miracle check in the form of a winter season and save the show just as Jane saved the play? But it seems unlikely. Regardless of the fashion community’s support, synergy opportunities galore and Andie MacDowell’s amazing hair, Jane By Design is dead, proving miracles are reserved for farfetched TV shows that don’t make it past their first season.
I like to imagine that Jane confessed it all to Eli and Gray. And in typical, albeit ridiculous, Jane By Design fashion they decide not to fire her. But to keep her secret so that she can continue to take Donovan Decker by storm. For seasons, the secret weighs heavy and eventually India spills the beans. She ruins Jane’s career and exposes her as a fraud during NYFW, hurting Donovan Decker’s image and sending Jane back to high school as a loser.
In the series finale, India would give a tearful apology. And Jane would forgive her. Why? Because Jane realizes she has all the time in the world to grow up.
Besides, her portfolio is going to kick some serious ass when she does it all again. That’s right, Jane of Donovan Decker may be an embarrassment. But Jane Quimby, extraordinary teenager, gets a second chance.