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Jane By Design TV Show Review

Updated on May 3, 2012

Jane By Design on ABC Family

ABC's Family has a new drama in the form of Jane By Design. The Pilot aired on the 3rd of January 2012 to over 1.6 million US viewers. This drama has been in the works for quite a while, considering it was green-lit by ABC Family back in April of 2011. It was originally known as What Would Jane Do but now has a far catchier name in the form of Jane By Design.

Jane By Design is about an unpopular teenager who attends high school. The main character, Jane Quimby, hasn’t had an easy life and this is discovered fairly early in the Pilot episode. Jane’s father died, leaving her in the sole care of her older brother Ben. Jane’s Mother is no-where to be found.


Life as Plain Jane

Jane is known as “Plain Jane” by the resident mean girl Lulu. Of course, Lulu is everything Jane is not; popular, rich and with a bad attitude. Jane is always on the outside trying to get a glimpse into Lulu’s world.

Jane’s best friend, and at this point only real friend, Billy is also on the periphery but he’s happy to be. He’s a funny punk rocker style kid. Only Jane doesn’t know that Billy and Lulu have been seeing each other for the past 3 months, in secret. In fact, no one does.

Ben was popular at school and is now struggling to support himself and his younger sister. Ben is jobless and isn’t having much luck finding a job. Jane finds out just far behind they are on the mortgage and decides to take an internship, to help out.


Jane "borrows" her bosses car to juggle school and fashion
Jane "borrows" her bosses car to juggle school and fashion

Jane Get's a Small Taste of The Fast Lane

Jane finds out about an Internship at a Fashion House in the city, New York. Jane also realizes that the only way she’s going to get into College is if she gets a scholarship. She needs something extra on her application and she wants to get into Parsons, which is a prestigious design based College, so this internship would be perfect.

Jane goes to Donovan Decker for her interview and is mistaken for a different Jane and has a video interview with Gray, the Senior Accessories Designer. Gray is in Bangkok buying fashion accessories and needs her assistant to cover her ass in the office, while she’s away. Jane is expected to be her “beck and call girl”, managing Gray’s schedule, taking her calls, tracking her shipments and if she makes a mistake she can expect to be fired.

When Jane is offered $34,000 and an expense account she realizes there has been a mistake and that she’s actually interviewing for the Executive Assistant role. She decides to take the position. She is desperate for the money and it’s the job of a lifetime.

If this story sounds a little familiar then you may be remembering the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, which was about 5 kids being babysat by an elderly woman. The babysitter suddenly dies and the eldest daughter, played by Christina Applegate, has to get a job. She scams her way into a fashion company and gets a high powered job. It’s really funny and very similar to Jane By Design in some ways.


Jane better remember to watch her back when India is around
Jane better remember to watch her back when India is around

Jane By Design on DVD

Who Can Jane Trust?

Things are more complicated than Jane expected. Jane has no clue who she can trust and who is out to stab her and her boss Gray in the back. It becomes clear fairly quickly that there’s more going on than just fashion.

India Jourdain is the Asssociate Designer and is directly below Gray on the power pole. Gray is worried that India is trying to steal her job and it’s not just paranoia, it really is the case. Jane is sceptical at first when Gray asks her to keep an eye on India, but is soon shown the error of her ways when India takes advantage of Jane to try and steal Gray’s position. Although it is hard to believe that India is a Designer when you see how attractive she is.

Jane has to deal with Jeremy Jones, the super cute Senior Designer. He makes it known that he is attracted to Jane, but Jane’s already heard that he’s a ladies man. This is proven when she sees Jeremy and India together in a compromising position.

Jane also has to fill in paperwork to get the job. Jane has to fake the documents and calls in her trusty friend Billy to help her.


Jane By Design Preview

Looking for Another Show Like Jane By Design?

If you liked Jane by Design then you'll probably love The Lying Game. It's on ABC family too and is about a set of twins that go digging in the past, looking for answers that everyone is keeping from them.

How Long Can Jane Fake It Till She Makes It?

Jane struggles to find a balance between working for her tough boss and attending school. At one point she almost misses her mid-term because of a conflicting schedule and India’s meddling. To fix the problem Jane “borrows” her bosses convertible and races to school, takes her test and races back to work.

Jane also tries on some of Grays’s personal wardrobe and lives a little girls dream.

And of course, Jane has a crush on the best looking and most popular guy at school, who hasn't spoken to her in years. Although I have a feeling that might not be the case for much longer as Jane comes out of the shadows.

It will be interesting to see how long Jane survives, especially when Gray supposedly goes through at least 2 assisstants a month. Not to mention Jane almost gets fired in her first week.

How can a high school kid with no experience last longer than an adult with experience?


Jane By Design Cast
Jane By Design Cast

Jane Quimby - Erica Dasher (Madison in The Lake TV series)

Jane's Boss, the Senior Accessories Designer, Gray Chandler Murray - Andie McDowell (Four Weddings and a Funeral)

Associate Designer and general bully India Jourdain - India de Beauforst (Miranda Stone from One Tree Hill)

Senior Designer, Jeremy Jones - Rowly Denis (Has played a few single episode roles in the likes of Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother and 90210)

Jane's best friend Billy - Nick Roux (Lemonade Mouth)

Mean Girl Lulu - Meagan Tandy (10 Things I Hate About You)

Jane's Brother Ben Quimby - David Clayton Rogers (Cougar Town)

Jane's High School Crush, Nick Faddon - Matthew Atkinson (One Tree Hill)

If you don't recognize most of the cast of Jane By Design, I wouldn't be surprised. The biggest name on the show has be Andie McDowell, although it may be unfair to say she's actually on the show when mostly she's on the other end of a video conference screen.

Perhaps at some point she'll actually make it into the office, but who can say with her spedning most of her time hopping from continent to continent in search of the best accessories.


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Jane By Design Lessons

Jane By Design is clearly a family show and is more oriented towards a female demographic. ABC Family has been targetting females specifically for a number of years and it's clear if you look at some of their more popular series such as Pretty Little Liars, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, The Lying Game and Switched at Birth to name a few, the pattern is easy to spot.

As a family show, Jane By Design is all about learning life lessons. Jane is sick of being on the outside and feels like for a few moments she wasn't a ghost, at Donovan Designs. I have a feeling the TV series will be all about "what you put into life is what you get out."

And of course there will be lots of visual lessons about fashion and accessories. If you're wondering why girls need all those extra's it's because of shows like this.

And the ultimate lesson of Jane By Design will probably be fake it till you make it but be nice to people on the way up and do what you really love.


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