It’s ME, Ana!! You missed me, right? Good, now listen UP.
In true hipster fashion, I can say that I devoured all of season one of the Netflix original series, “Orange Is the New Black”, before everyone else became obsessed with it. I was instantly hooked by its inside peak into the criminal justice system after we’ve seen Benson and Stabler bust a perp. No other dramedy is exploring what’s happening inside the pods, the circumstances over why inmates ended up serving time, or how their ‘new’ personalities fit in with their pre-prison lives.
“Orange is the New Black” (hashtagged #OINTB) is a TV dramedy based on a memoir of the same name, following Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), an attractive wasp who is sent to a minimum security women’s prison for 15 months for having once acted as a drug mule, as a favor for then-girlfriend, Alex Vause (played by Laura Prepon), for an international drug cartel when she was in her early 20s.
Every episode shows how Piper is adapting to life in prison, and her struggle to retain aspects of her outside life intact, developing her character within the new rules she has to follow within the prison society. The first episode really set the tone for season one when, in a secret phone conversation granted to her by a head guard to her fiancée, Piper says, “I’m Chapman here”. Though she’s the show’s protagonist, Netflix did a superb job of compiling a supporting cast whose stories are just as engrossing, if not more, as Piper’s.
By no stretch of the imagination are the women in the prison innocents, but with every episode shedding light on their lives before they landed in the prison, and the new roles they play while inside, we get to see how societies shape one’s personality.
OITNB isn’t afraid to explore many rich and interesting story lines regarding racism, religion (there’s a scary born again evangelical played by Taryn Manning), socioeconomic status, familial bonds that form between inmates (Poussey and Taystee, played by Samira Wiley and Danielle Brooks respectively), sexual exploitation (the creepy guard that trades sexual favors is aptly called, ‘Pornstache’), gender roles (Boo), and sexuality (the women that ‘go lesbian’ while in prison), in diverse and revealing storylines.
In Sophia’s story line (played wonderfully by Laverne Cox), we’re given a small glimpse at the issues faced by transsexuals when transitioning. The show explores mental health, and I cannot put into words how sympathetic I became towards Uzo Aduba’s character, ‘Crazy Eyes’, and the simplicity of how she sees life. How do we flirt? Nickname your woman after a flower. How do you protect her? Throw your pie.
How do you let her know she’s loved? Compliment her tits daily. That’s it, simple. She has a poetic awareness about her surroundings that is insanely interesting to watch. There are stories that are shocking, some so sad that they melted a bit of my cold, cold, heart.
These are just a few of the characters that help OITNB humanize inmates making the show addictive. Don’t just take my word for it, “Orange Is the New Black” has been trending on Twitter, there are already an amazing amount of quotable memes on Tumblr, and I’ve decided that “I threw my pie for you” is the perfect way to express true romantic devotion, and I’m definitely stanning for Daya and Bennett, and I’ll never look at a chicken the same way.
Hopefully you all jump on this bandwagon, it’s well worth it.