Thank God for Netflix. Or more like, thank Netflix for creating the amazing Orange is the New Black! And if you are like me you are probably sitting there thinking, "Can people please stop telling me to watch this show? I don't want to watch something about a woman's prison!". And I was right there with you until about a week or so ago. One of my best friends and sister kept telling me I HAD to watch it so I finally caved. My sister and I usually (key word usually) have a similar taste in television so I took her word and started watching.
I was hooked after the first episode. And then addicted after the second and I could not put my computer down. I literally locked my self in my house for extended periods of time just watching it. I passed hanging out with friends to watch the show (#noshame). The show is a full hour long because there are no commercials on Netflix. This mean that for two, 13 episode-long seasons, it is 26 hours. 26 HOURS! I feel slightly ashamed to say I watched that much in about a week…
Onto the juicy plot of this oh-so-fantastic show! Also I need to disclaimer that if you are under the age of 16 you should definitely not be watching this show because it is extremely graphic. This is loosely based of a real story. The plot line for the show is that a fairly well off white woman (Piper Chapman) gets sent to prison in upstate New York. About 10 years ago Piper fell in love with a woman named Alex who transported drugs for a cartel. Piper ends up carrying drugs across borders. Someone named Piper at trial and she then gets a 15 months long sentence in prison. It turns out, that Alex is actually in the same prison that Piper lands in. In fact, Alex is the one who named Piper so the two don’t quite like each other.
It focuses on her transition from having the perfect life, a wonderful fiance, and the dream career to life in a correctional facility with terrible conditions, no boundaries, violent and sexual behavior, and corruption. She has to completely change her perspective and adjust to her new living arrangements where she realizes she has no one. In one episode, Piper states the scariest thing about prison is that you have to face who you really are. That is exactly what this show is: women figuring out who they really are when they are left with no one but themselves.
As the show progresses we eventually learn the stories of the other inmates. I love how each episode focuses on a specific character’s background and why they ended up in prison. There are still a few stories we don't quite know and I am itching to learn more about them (Yoga Jones) and to delve deeper into the backgrounds we already know (Nicky). You start to develop an emotional connection to the characters and you root for them.
Starting around the second season, the story shifts from solely focusing on Piper’s story to concentrating on the prisoner’s themselves. I actually grew to like the story more and more as it shifted away from Piper's story because her character drives me crazy at times. She can never make up her mind about who she is in love with but still wants both Alex and Larry (her "fiancee") to both love her and she wants to love both of them... confusing I know. But this is definitely not okay and Pipes stoops to new levels of low with the season 2 finale.
I think this show does a great job at breaking down the stereotypes of people in prison. You really learn the background of the woman and you understand their motives for committing the crimes that landed them at Litchfield. OITNB has an authenticity about it that not many other television shows have. Maybe because it is based on a real story but many of the characters we see in the show are people you could definitely meet while walking down the street. The show steps into a entirely new area of television by breaking down the walls and showing reality.
Also, I cannot stop watching interviews with the cast on YouTube. They all seem like the nicest and funniest people ever. Their set must be crazy though, I mean it is filmed at an abandoned children's psychiatric hospital! I think my favorite character is definitely Nicky because every word that comes out of her mouth has me cracking up and I love the rawness of her character. Also, I just love Natasha Lyonne! I think Poussey might be a close second though.
I don’t quite know how to classify the genre of this show because while it is extremely dramatic it is also hysterical and can be a little scary at times. I mean what else can you expect from a woman’s prison? It is hard to give this show an in depth review because I am covering 2 full seasons so I didn't want to spoil anything by getting too personal with any particular character or story line. I recommend you take one hour and watch the first episode and I promise you will be hooked! Like a "pinky promise cross my heart hope to die and if I like I'll stick a needle in my eye" type of a promise.
Do you guys have any favorite moments from the show and who are your favorite characters? Also, do you have any new show I should start watching now that I am all caught up on this one?