Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black (or otherwise known as OITNB) is not a new fashion trend.  Only a handful of people could pull off orange as a replacement color to black in their wardrobe and I am not one of them. Rather OITNB is new hit series that was produced by Netflix last summer. So if you do not have Netflix, what are you waiting for? I binge watched the entire second season in 3 days. No joke.

Are you ready for some racy, controversial, sassy, funny, sarcastic and touching cinema? Then this is the show for you. The show is based on Piper Kerman’s true experiences in prison and is relayed through the main character, coincidentally, also named Piper. The past always comes back to bite you in the ass, and is no different for Piper. Her past terrible life choices of being caught up in a previous partner’s drug ring lands her in a minimum security prison.

The trials and tribulations of Piper Chapman in prison.  Image from tvtrope.org.
The trials and tribulations of Piper Chapman in prison.
Image from tvtrope.org.

The show has a handful of character’s that evoke various types of emotions such as compassion, empathy, anger, frustration and more. I felt sad for Crazy Eyes, and once understanding her back story of how she got there, makes you wonder if she actually belongs in prison. Initially I had anger and hatred towards Red, and how could she treat Piper so unjustly at the beginning (she refuses to give her edible food after Piper criticizes the cuisine not knowing Red is the queen of the kitchen). And Taystee, poor Taystee. I felt extremely empathetic towards her as she spent her youth bouncing from group home to group home and never had a true stable family.

Red, Morello, Nicky, Alex, Piper, Crazy Eyes, and everyone else you either come to love or hate.
Red, Morello, Nicky, Alex, Piper, Crazy Eyes, and everyone else you either come to love or hate.

There are also a couple of  recognizable faces in the cast from other series. Jason Biggs plays Larry (remember Jim Levenstein from American Pie?) and Laura Prepon plays Alex (remember Donna from That 70’s Show).  Everytime I saw Larry, all I could think about were the  Jim Levenstein’s antics from American Pie, so it was hard for me to keep the characters distinctly separate.

The show does have some flaws, in that it has an underlying theme that the majority of women have lesbian encounters and experiences. Sex does sell on television and in movies but  I doubt this is fully accurate in real life. The token stereotypes are portrayed, like Red who was involved with the Russian mafia, and the black ladies whoare mostly all attitudey and gangster. Not everyone is like that. Ethnic cliques are formed in the prison, and clique rivals are created (Blacks, vs. Hispanics vs. Asians). Lastly, the way correctional officers (CO) are characterized in the series is very degrading. All of the COs are either sexual predators or lazy asses who could care less about their job and just want to power trip. In every profession there will be the bad apples, but at the same time there are people who are amazing in their role. The latter part of the second statement doesn’t really hold true in the series.  Despite the flaws, I am still engaged and excited by this new series, but just have to take everything with a grain of salt.

Comfy couch, a glass of wine and my ipad watching Season 2 of OITNB
Comfy couch, a glass of wine and my ipad watching Season 2 of OITNB

So grab a drink or two and cozy up to be shocked, excited, humored and maybe even disturbed.  Season 1 and 2 are available on Netflix as we speak.  As per Wikipedia, the series has been renewed for a 3rd season. Hollaback gurl! Eeeeks!

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