Jane by Design: 1.01 “Pilot”

Season 1 Episode 1
Airdate: January 3, 2012

Jane by Design is a new show on ABC Family, so you know right away:

1.)    It’s a drama

2.)    About a teenage girl

3.)    The writing is terrible

Jane Quimby is a self-described “dateless high school zero” who dreams of working in high fashion. She gets to school with her best friend, who drives a really old car. Jane is embarrassed to be that beater, even though it looks about as nice as most of the cars the kids in my high school drove.  I would be less embarrassed to be in that old beater than that tiny little plug-in parked in front of them. If you painted that “car” red and yellow, it would look just like a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.

Jane’s best friend is a boy named Billy Nutter wears a leather jacket over a white t-shirt and jeans. He must really like Grease. Jane and Billy talk about how they are not the cool kids and are jealous of the cool kids but still have their dignity, and no one can take that away from them!

The queen bee of the school is Lulu Pope, who does not like Jane. “Psst…Plane Jane,” she whispers in class, “where’d you get that outfit, Summerville Salvation Army?” I thought buying clothes at the Salvation Army was cool these days. Also, Jane’s jacket is sweet. It looks like it belonged to Michael Jackson.

Jane lives with her brother Ben, who is trying to eat a gross looking vegetarian pizza. I think the vegetation pizza is supposed to tell us how poor they are. They can’t afford sausage or something. Man, just order a plain cheese pizza. That would be cheaper and not covered in gross tuff. Ben doesn’t have a job, and I think neither of them have parents.

Jane looks up a fashion internship online and talks it over with the guidance counselor the next day. The guidance counselor doesn’t think it is a good idea, because the position will mean leaving school every day at 11:30, and will eat up a lot of Jane’s social life. Jane says she doesn’t have a social life, every kid hates school and the internship will provide her household desperately needed money.  “Ben’s been carrying everything since our dad died,” says Jane. Oh. Also, her mom took off some time ago.

Jane travels to the city and enters the warehouse headquarters of the fashion place, Donovan Decker. Jane sits with what I assume are the other woman up for interviews. Jane gets along with the young secretary or assistant or whatever, and helps her pick up her paperwork after she spills it.

Jane is left waiting in the office of her would be boss. That’s classic power play move. Jane’s stands up to adjust her dress, not noticing that her backside is facing the TV, when a face appears on the screen. It’s a two way video feed and the person on the other end is the boss, played by that woman from the L’Oreal commercials. The boss compliments Jane’s outfit and Jane says it was her mothers. “What does your mother do now?” the boss asks. “I don’t know,” Jane replies. “She left when I was a baby.” Awkward!

The boss moves right on to describing the position. She doesn’t show much in the way of emotion. Now I know what the pitch meeting at ABC Family was like. “Hey, how can we do The Devil Wears Prada with less money?”

The boss offers Jane the job. It is part time with a starting salary of $32,000. Jane was surprised by that number, and then she sees that she was given the wrong employment packet. She’s not interviewing for the internship, but for a real job. They assume she is an adult. The boss takes the hesitation as a bargaining tacit and kicks it up to $34,000 and an expense account. Sweet, Jane didn’t even have to show a resume or answer questions about her previous employment.

With the premise of the show established, we are shown the opening credits. Then, the  secretary shows Jane the whole staff. I mean, just two people who will happen to be main characters. There is India Jordain, a bitchy woman of undetermined race. She had better be Indian, because naming your baby after a country they don’t have ancestry in is stupid. Might as well name your kid Azerbaijan. There is also a British man, Jeremy Jones, the new senior designer. India yells at Jeremy.

Back home, Jane gets a phone call from the bank. Jane’s brother got behind on the house payments, behind on some payments. That’s her motivation to ask Billy to get her a fake ID so she can pose as an adult, but Billy doesn’t want to. Jane says he got his brother a fake ID. “Yeah, he was going to dive bars,” replies Billy, “not taking someone’s job.”  In Billy’s world, there are moral reasons to have a fake ID and immoral reasons. Teenage drinking: moral reason. Need a job to support you and your orphan sibling: immoral reason.

Billy finally agrees, but first they have to go to a cool kids’ party. Jane bumps into the young lad she is smitten with. Billy meets Lulu because they are having a secret romance. Billy is like, “Why are you all up on my 50s greaser bod?” and Lulu says, “Maybe because my father would hate it.” We are getting lots of exposition in little amount of time. I am surprised because I assumed Billy was homosexual. Partly because of the hair, but mainly because the male friend of the girl who is into fashion is supposed to be gay, Goddamit! Don’t they know about Sex & the City? I know the people at ABC Family are familiar with Legally Blonde because that movie plays on their channel every day.

Lulu pushes Jane into a pool because she hates her. Then a bunch of dudes toss Billy in too. Don’t you dare come back here, poor people!

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