Jane the Virgin was inarguably the biggest surprise to come out of the 2014-2015 TV season. The concept was so ridiculous, every TV critic and reporter was laughing, wondering how the show ever got greenlit.
But by the time the series premiere credits rolled, we all ate our words. It was clear that this show was something special, and it was going places.
Fast forward one year later, and Jane the Virgin is an award-winning show, with an award-winning star at the center, set to kick off it's sure-to-be amazing second season. I thought I couldn't love this show any more than I already do...and then I went to the season two premiere table read on set of the CW's telenovela. And I was once again proven oh-so-wrong.
How could watching the cast read through the script of the season premiere make me fall in love with this show all over again? Let me tell you exactly how...
12:30 p.m.: After driving more than 35 minutes in traffic (because when is there ever not traffic in L.A.) down to Manhattan Beach, I park on the studio lot and walk to the set of Jane the Virgin. Upon arriving, I immediately hug the CW and CBS publicists who lead me inside to the lobby of the Marbella hotel (aka the hotel that Rafael's family owns on the show). I get a personal copy of the season two premiere script with my name on it, but I am instructed not to take a picture of it for social media. Boo.12:33 p.m.: Instead, I walk around the set taking photos of the table read set up. The main cast have their own spots assigned at a table facing the chairs where other members of the press and studio execs and Jane the Virgin writers will be sitting. Smaller part actors have chairs set up on the sides.
12:36 p.m.: As I'm taking a picture of Gina Rodriguez's name tag near her script, I run into executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman doing the same! We say hi and chat for a bit about how much we both loved the 2015 Summer TCA summer press tour panel for the CW women showrunners from the week before that she participated in. "I wish I could have sat in the audience to listen the panel as well as taking part in it," Urman says. "It was fascinating!" I also tell her how excited I am for the table read—this summer hiatus has been torturous without any new episodes of Jane the Virgin!
12:41 p.m.: The CW knows how to host a table read—since it's pretty much "the first day of school" for everyone on the cast and crew, the network decided to cater it like a party! There's sliders and chicken and fruit and salad and veggies…as well as mini bottles of champagne (covered in gold glitter!) and cupcakes. Yum! I grab some lunch and eat on the patio of the Marbella hotel, resisting the urge to peek inside my script and spoil the premiere.12:50 p.m.: After I finish eating, I head back "inside" the lobby of the Marbella and take my seat. The cast and writers begin to arrive and mingle with each other as everyone waits for the table read to start.
12:54 p.m.: "Little Jane" Jenna Ortega arrives on set and she's absolutely adorable! She's the first of the main cast to arrive, but "Abuela" Ivonne Coll arrives soon after and they goof off. They really are like family!
12:59 p.m.: The rest of the cast arrives on set right on time. Everyone's here—Gina,Jaime Camil, Justin Baldoni, Brett Dier, Andrea Navedo, Yael Grobglas…evenAnthony Mendez, the "Narrator!" And yes, his voice is just as silky, smooth and sexy in real life as it is on the show. He's the only cast member at the table read to get a microphone at his seat, and it makes it really feel like we were watching an episode of the show.
1:10 p.m.: Even though everyone is on set, the table read is starting late because the cast can't stop hugging each other and socializing. I find out from the CBS publicist that this isn't the first time the cast is reading the script together—they had an informal table read at Jaime's house the night before to rehearse it! Adorable. Can we get an invite to that table read next time?!1:15 p.m.: The room quiets down as Jennie stands at her seat, and everyone scrambles to sit down. The table read finally starts after an official welcome from Jennie and the director of the season two premiere, Brad Silberling.
1:16 p.m.: I can't tell you any specifics of what goes down in the episode, but after only a minute I'm already doubled over with laughter. The cast starts chanting. Not even kidding. Season two really comes out swinging!
1:24 p.m.: I will never look at hamburgers the same way ever again. I am starting to regret the slider I had for lunch. You'll understand why when you see the premiere.
1:41 p.m.: I have a crush on the Narrator. I mean, I've had a crush on his voice since the series premiere. But seeing him deliver his lines in person…I'm swooning.
1:50 p.m.: I've flip-flopped between Team Michael and Team Rafael all season long, and I thought I made my definitive decision by the end of season one. But now I have no clue which guy I'm rooting for. Jane, I do not envy the choice you're going to have to make…eventually. But I do envy the fact that both of these men are fighting over you right now. Actually, can I just be Team Narrator?2:03 p.m.: My jaw drops when the final line is spoken. I can't say who or even where in the world the line is spoken. But it's clear that this season is going to be even more bananas than the first. And that's just how I like it!
2:04 p.m.: The table read officially ends and the whole room erupts in applause, from press, studio execs, writers and the cast alike. The love and pride in this room is awe-inspiring. Gina then gets up before anyone can leave to thank us all for supporting the show from day one. It's then that I realize the press they invited to this table read has been hand-picked, the ones who have championed the show from the very beginning. I feel extremely proud to count myself among this group, and grateful to the cast and crew for recognizing us in this way.
2:08 p.m.: As everyone mingles some more, I run up to Gina to give her a hug hello. I chat with her for a while about the premiere, her whirlwind of a hiatus (this girl has a serious work ethic, y'all!) and how she moved in one day so she could still attend the CW TCA party to do press for season two, even though it wasn't required of her. I'm constantly in awe of this girl. But she's got tons of other people to say hi to as well, so I give her another hug and let her move on to the next person.2:26 p.m.: After chatting with some other cast members and press, I glance at my phone, notice the time and realize I need to get on the road before traffic gets even worse. I say my goodbyes, grab a mini champagne bottle and walk off the Miami set back into the LA sunshine. Traveling cross-country can be so exhausting...but sorewarding.
Jane the Virgin season two premieres Monday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. on the CW.