Okay, so before we start I have to profess a bias. I total and unending love for this series that anyone who doesn’t care for it will be sick of by now. Not that I’ve actually met anyone that doesn’t like it. After a serious buzz was created, I just had to watch. I can’t bare to be left out of anything and I watched the Twilight films and read the Fifty Shades trilogy for the same reasons but boy did I regret both of those decisions. Kristen Stewarts dead eyes still haunt my dreams.
***Contains minor spoilers***
As the title of this blog post would suggest OITNB is more than just a lot of girl on girl action, though that is part of it. I have spoken to those who love it despite this, and those who think it makes an already great show even better. I think it is all in context and a key part of the comings (no pun intended) and goings of life at Litchfield prison.
Based on the book by Piper Kerman: Orange is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, OITNB has hit the world by storm. Following the protagonist Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, a middle class well educated WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant), as her fiancé Larry, played by Jason Biggs describes her in one episode, we are thrown neck deep into life at Litchfield, and all the drama, intrigue and touching moments that are expertly stitched together to make what is one of the most personable and consuming programmes I have watched in a long time. In just a few episodes, I knew who I wanted to be, who I wanted as a best friend and who I was championing to beat their bum start and fly high. The characters are just so endearing, and yet the world they find themselves in, with the deepest dark moments back to back with the funniest most live affirming moments echo’s the deeply unstable world that many of the inmates have come from.
Chapman herself is, for me, more of a rock for the other characters to bounce themselves off. Her initial air of middle class entitlement is quickly challenged as she clashes with inmate upon inmate, revealing a wide range of life issues, problems and character flaws. There is no doubt that the majority of the characters have great hearts, but the flashbacks to life before prison featured on the show illustrate so well that a time in someone’s life that results in a prison stay is not one without its problems; Be it poor choices, lack of education, addiction or something a little more off the wall. For some, bouncing to prison and back is a way of life. Even one of the shows most colourful characters Taystee, played by Danielle Brooks finds herself in this vicious cycle, despite an obvious natural intelligence and talent with numbers, as well as a killer personality.
This will not be my last OITNB post – far from me. For me, this show has highlighted issues that have real meaning to me and do many others, all told in two striking series which have changed me fundamentally.
But why today?
Well, the usually drab orange or greige (seriously, what colour are those clothes?) prison garb and minimal makeup donned by the killer cast were left behind yesterday when cast members Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks and Laura Prepon (my style icon) all dazzled yesterday at the Emmy awards.
I will leave you with these stylish fashionistas, but be warned, OITNB is here to stay, with a side order of Breaking Bad. I really don’t want to face the ‘you are stuck in the last TV show you watched’ style nightmares any time soon, unless they feature Laura Prepon giving me style advice.