urlJane the Virgin (2013–, The CW)
This loose adaptation of the telenovela Juana la Virgen follows Jane Villanueva, a super-smart 23-year-old aspiring writer and teacher. Jane’s vow not to have sex until she is married is totally messed with when a gynecologist accidentally artificially inseminates her during what is supposed to be a routine checkup. To make matters worse, the biological donor is the married owner of the hotel where Jane works, a notorious playboy, aaaand Jane’s teenage crush. Like, what?! On paper, Jane the Virgin sounds too melodramatic and cliché, but despite the crazy plot twists it’s one of the funniest, most heartfelt shows I’ve watched in a long time. Not only do we see Jane’s struggles as she decides whether to go through with the pregnancy, but the supporting characters also get to lead fully developed lives, too. Be forewarned: You will feel compelled to watch every available episode of this show in one sitting. I speak from experience. —Gabby

tart-frontTart (2001)
It’d be easy to dismiss Tart as another story about a rich girl trying to fit in at an elite prep school, but I promise you, this movie is more than just a super-long episode of Gossip Girl. Cat gets into a crowd that seems pristine from the outside, but really they do some badass, life-and-death shit. What I like about this film—besides Mischa Barton’s English accent—is that it shows how awful it feels to act out as a way of getting other people to like you. Of course, it feels good at first: Cat finds partying and cutting class totally exhilarating. But as the antics get more serious, she becomes all kinds of scared and uneasy. When the repercussions of the whole “I’m going to be bad-to-the-bone” thing finally kick in, Cat reaches the eff this stage. Tart is basically the music video for Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids,” so be prepared to hear that on loop in your head while you watch. —Chanel

FemaletroubleposterFemale Trouble (1974)
By the time I sat down to watch Female Trouble, I’d heard so much about it, and about the film’s celebrated director John Waters, that I figured nothing about it could possibly surprise me. But oh my god this movie! Juvenile delinquent Dawn Davenport, played by the amazing Divine, leads a pretty average high school life until she doesn’t get the cha-cha heels that she wants for Christmas. She throws a fit (“I hate you and I hate Christmas!”), and runs away from home. Female Trouble is hilarious, grimace-worthy, and definitely not for the light hearted. The antics! The awesome trashy humor! Dawn’s hair and makeup! This movie so, so, so worth your time. —Lucy

MV5BMTk5MDYxODYxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU5ODc4MQ@@._V1_Wild Child (2008)
In the opening scene of Wild Child, Poppy, a girl with long blonde hair and a Malibu tan, jumps off a cliff carrying a bunch of her father’s girlfriends belongings. This is the latest in a slew of antics, and our renegade protagonist (played by Emma Roberts, who is in her absolute element with the role) is sent away to boarding school to be reformed. This British-American comedy, written by Lucy Dahl, has a massively disappointing ending, but it’s still worth watching because everything leading up Poppy’s transformation into a docile, brown-haired schoolgirl is marvelous! Poppy is your typical Valley Girl caricature, and her sassy attitude comes through in her amendments to her strict school uniform, and in her smart retorts. Pre-reform Poppy is definitely a good character to channel as you stride through high school hallways; I just wish that she didn’t become quite so obedient at the end. —Tova

batman-the-animated-series-536033bb7e16dBatman: The Animated Series (1992–1995)
Harley Quinn, who features prominently on this animated series, is one of the few characters in U.S. mainstream animation with a real, beating heart. Harley was created by writer Paul Dini and writer-artist Bruce Timm as a hench girl for the Joker in the episode “Joker’s Favor.” The voice actress Arleen Sorkin gave her a scrappy, classic screwball comedy feel, with a 1940s New York–style rough tenderness. Think Marilyn Monroe’s polished ditz vibes, but mean. In “Harley’s Holiday,” my favorite episode of the series, Harley is released from Arkham Asylum (trigger warning for ableist stuff here), and things immediately start to go wrong. “I just wanna live a normal life without some cop always pouncin’ on me,” she says, rollerskating through a department store with two leashed pet hyenas. A misunderstanding flips Harley’s switch and, traumatized and terrified of being sent back to Arkham, she’s soon wreaking havoc again in costume. The conclusion of this episode always makes me tear up a little. Other highlights from this series include “Harley and Ivy,” “Harlequinade,” and the cheesecake-y Batgirl/Supergirl team-up episode “Girls’ Night Out.” Survivors of domestic violence, please note that that some of the Joker-heavy episodes, like “Harlequinade,” are potentially triggering. —Annie

nanny02The Nanny (1993-1999, CBS)
The Nanny follows Fran Fine, a cosmetics saleswoman from Queens, New York, and the Upper East Side family that she accidentally becomes nanny to. Fran is constantly causing a scene, whether she’s talking in her loud, nasal-y voice or showing up to a conservative high-society party wearing one of her many outrageous outfits. The clothes on The Nanny are reason enough to watch: Let’s just say that Fran’s wardrobe makes the McDonald’s inspired Moschino collection look business-casual. Fran is constantly getting into trouble, but her street smarts always save the day and bring the family together. Plus, this show is just so funny and full of so many smart one-liners. I grew up watching The Nanny and Fran’s character pretty much convinced me that being fiercely yourself is the best way to be. —Gabby

35ef6bf86f3f70ab3921ec8c7806d6a9Bad Education (2004)
Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education is a movie-within-a-movie. It’s full of messy, constantly evolving characters who struggle with really hard stuff like abuse and addiction. The film centers on Ignacio and Enrique, two students in love at a Catholic school—until an abusive priest named Father Manolo pulls them apart. As an adult, Ignacio writes an autobiographical short story, and Enrique, now a movie director, adapts the story for the screen. But the plot changes in the adaptation, and the story’s central questions become Who is Ignacio? Is he the young boy in love with his best friend? Is he the actor who shows up with a script at Enrique’s door? Is Ignacio the trans woman who confronts Father Manolo as an adult? Bad Education is multilayered and non-linear, which sometimes makes it hard to tell who is acting and who is “being themselves.” But the confusion over who is who, and how people play their given roles in life, is what makes this such a powerful film. —Monika

5102Rp-9ldL._SY355_RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009—, Logo TV)
Every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is perfection: 14 drag queens compete in a series of acting, fashion, performance, and lip-syncing challenges. But if you were going to watch just one season then I’d say watch season four! In it, Sharon Needles, who performs in spooky and genderfuck drag, has to fight for the recognition of judges who see her drag as less legitimate than that of the pageant queens. Season four exemplifies what Drag Race is all about: Developing a strong drag persona. And since this requires creating what is essentially a whole ’nother self, the show documents how people self-realize, become artists, and grow up. Drag Race is a series of lessons about how to navigate life when your definition of beauty and success are different from (and unacceptable to) the world’s. And to help you along that journey, RuPaul is there every step of the way, yelling: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” —Katherine ♦