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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Powers Stengel

A Serenade for Jane Krakowski


Spoilers for: Just Jane!

How I Know that I Really Love Jane

A serenade is a song seeking love, raggedly laying desire on the line. Oh, how I love the ache! Joy in desperation is also what I love the most about audacious icon Jane Krakowski. So let's waste no more in overture.

Inspired by the great serenades, let's sing out for Jane!

There’s a girl I know, she’s the one I dream of

Looks into my eyes, takes me through the screen I love, mmm-hmm

Oh, I lose control, Tina can’t get enough, uh-huh

When I watch your shows, tell you Jane, it’s really love!

How do I show that I really love thee,

I serve the flair with every sweet beat

I fall in love whenever we meet

I’m telling you what I know about these things

Let’s Definitely Stay Together: Ally McBeal’s Jane

Elaine Vassel on Ally McBeal is a pugnacious force of id, odd inventions, and flirtatious efficiency as a secretary at your fave fictional 1990’s law office. Jane as Elaine speaks her saucy mind, is a good friend always, and launches the hilarious face bra brand that would kill on insta today. Our Al Green homage song fits Elaine Jane all the better for the many appearances of Al Green and his music on the David. E. Kelly classic. All hail gutsy Elaine!

Crazy for You, Jenna Maroney: 30 Rock Jane

I don’t have a dissertation’s worth of space–so I’ll say it plain. Jenna is the batshit ego each of us might find at our ugly nucleus if we needed attention badly enough. For every Jenna panic attack, Jane produces emotions almost made new in their hyperbolic fever pitch. Whatever need is on Jenna’s plate, her primal charge to satiate it takes over. Jenna is sick, wrong longing without self-critique. Eat your heart out, Madonna. Jenna is my lucky star, and I’m crazy for her.

The Unchained, Unbreakable Melody of Kimmy Schmidt Jane

“Get over here you drunk slut!”

The Righteous Brothers are playing your song!

Underneath Jaclyn’s icy chip of vanity and struggle for security, there’s a frisky, freakily relatable hunger. We get to see Unbreakable Jane lose every inch of her trophy-wife status and evolve anew, sexualizing, scraping, and self-aggrandizing all the way. There’s an easily-baited but not easily bested fighter in her and I love it so!

Your Song, a Dickinson Jane Poetic Remix

Jane has become a queen of playing the decorum-scorning diva, but here’s a change! Dickinson Jane is caged--all prim lips, gender norms, and rigid social rules. She’s tragic, lonely, romantic. Often, the show’s most central love story is that between Jane’s Emily, the mother, and our titular Emily, her poet-child (played with aplomb by Hailee Steinfeld). As Mother Emily (Jane) lets go of her perfect vision of her daughter Emily, she finally embraces her daughter’s wit and generative chaos. A mother sees “how wonderful life is now” now the elder has a fiery feminist namesake to ruin all her best-laid plans. A timeless poetic gallop of an Elton John smash hit seemed fitting tribute for this Jane iteration.

Careless Whisper of a Schimigadoon! Jane

Jane in a musical with a jilted-lover motive and wild hijinks of car choreography aplenty?! Sign me up! It’s a very brief role (a Nazi countess who always, never gets her man), but so delicious and filling. It almost helped me forget how much better the first three episodes of Schmigadoon! were compared to the show’s haphazard, ham-fisted, limp Hammerstein conclusion.

I’ll croon for Schmigadoon! Jane (and every Jane) all the same:

I’m always gonna watch again,

(Even if) careless writers lose their vision

Jane’s breezy at the bitter end

And not just a plot tool

I know those blond locks like a friend

Dancing, quipping, yearning, driven

Every time you grace my screen,

The way I fall for you, oh!


Thanks for riding my harmony in honoring a woman who bursts at her own seams with song, snark, and sex appeal. TV already brought me a higher love–and her name is Jane!

What's your favorite Jane Krakowski role? Comment below!

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