A Noteworthy Binge: Orange is the New Black

A hardened criminal may not be hiding in all of us, but the curiosity of prison life still remains.

“Orange is the New Black” explores what life inside a minimal security prison is often like. Fights, sex, power struggle and manipulation are all parts of this life. The original story and pilot season are based on a book by Piper Herman that discusses her life behind bars.

This summer, Netflix released season three of “Orange is the New Black.” The first two seasons promoted women, offered realistic social encounters to viewers and showed love and diversity in a confined place. This show displays all of the women coexisting no matter what, whether they were locked up, racially diverse or diversity of sexual orientation however, coexisting didn’t necessarily mean peace.

The first season of “OITNB” (as hashtagged by viewers) was so vastly popular because of the shock it provided. The show pushed the boundaries of regular television portrayals of  lesbian sex and relationships to get people more interested. It worked, unsurprisingly, because sex sells.

As with many shows, the seasons seem to actually get better with time. We continue to learn more about each of the inmates as the series progresses and sympathize with their efforts and motivations.

Season one, the “villain” was Larry, making bad decision after bad decision; a relationship shaken up due to the pressure of prison added to the season.

Season two focused closer on “Chemo” AKA Rosa Cisneros and her struggle with cancer. Leaps of character development occurred when we saw Tastee and her group of friends as her adoptive mother V came to prison. The entire balance of power and stability was thrown into chaos.

The third season may be hit or miss depending on the character you want to see develop. Piper’s story line ends up emulating the idea of “you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Other characters that were hated during previous seasons become household keepsakes because they grow and develop in a way we never could have expected. As viewers, we begin to understand Pennsetucky, Leanne, Boo and Sophia.

The show is vastly praised due to its continued support of cultural, sexual and identity related issues, while depicting female relationships in a different light compared to ordinary television. “OITNB” continues to explain different cultural influences based on each character, staying far away from stereotypical relationships and archetypes.

Give the new season a chance despite what you may have heard, and if you haven’t watched yet, start at the beginning and enjoy a couple days of bed and some serious girl power.

You’ll enjoy “Orange is the New Black” if you watch other shows like “Scandal,” “Weeds” and “Oz.”

Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Laura Prepon, Michael Harney, Danielle Brooks, Uza Aduba, Laverne Cox, Beth Fowler, Yael Stone, Dascha Polanco, Adrienne Moore, Selenis Leyva, Taryn Manning, Samira, Wiley, Kimiko Glenn, Nick Sandow, Emma Myles, Abigail Savage, Annie Golden and more.


Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

5 Primetime Emmy wins

4 Satellite Award wins

1 NAACP Award win