TV Talk

‘Orange Is The New Black’ is My New Favorite TV Show

I love television. I probably watch more television than most people. I have watched pretty much every show out there, and the ones I haven’t watched I’ve at least attempted to watch at some point or another. Sometimes I go back and finish them (like LOST and Breaking Bad) and other times I abandon them forever.

I watch television shows from all around the world and in any language, and my main criteria for going through that much trouble is usually LGBT content of some kind, because I am, at the core, an LGBT rights advocate/activist, and media/entertainment is my go-to platform. I watch television shows for the entertainment value, but also for the message and the characters and the dialogue.

When I heard OITNB was good, I was excited. When friends emailed to say, “Watch this show!” I was even more excited. I’ve watched pretty much every women-in-prison show I’ve been able to find (Bad Girls (UK), Wentworth (Australia), Capadocia (Mexico) – did I miss any?) so I went into it knowing I’d enjoy the plot, if nothing else. I purposely stayed away from spoilers (a.k.a. avoided Tumblr), and sat down to watch it last night genuinely excited to be watching a good show.

It turned out to be a great show. It turned out to be so great that the sun came out, and my girlfriend and I were still watching it.

Quick plot summary

Piper Chapman has a legally-unsound past that involves drugs and a hot lesbian ex-girlfriend. Just as her life was reaching picture-perfect status (supportive fiancé, business in the works), the law catches up to her, and she’s sent off to federal prison. Here, her new life crashes head-first into her old one, and nothing will ever be the same.

Just a few of my favorite things

The dialogue -The dialogue in this show blew my mind.

The characters – You’ll not find a more perfect ensemble of wonderfully quirky and memorable characters. Flawed, loveable, and diverse, the characters on this show manage to strike that rare balance between humorous and complex. You don’t see that very often in the wilds of television. Especially when it involves a mostly-female cast.

I tip my hat at Jenji Kohen for being the master of the flawed female anti-hero – Nancy Botwin, anyone? Female anti-heroes are extremely uncommon. Bisexual female anti-heroes, who are also main characters? Female main characters are a minority. Bisexual main characters are rare – the only other one that pops into my mind is Bo Dennis (Lost Girl). The term bisexual was never used on OITNB but I’m using it here because it strikes me as more accurate than anything else.

The gay – When I tweeted that I was about to start watching the show, I was asked if the show was gay, and that was probably the biggest surprise I had – it is really gay. It is really gay in the best way possible. I went in thinking it would have a couple of lesbians/bi girls in the background, just to fit the stereotype. But no. They were front and center. Twenty-five seconds into the first episode, and I was already like, “Well, okay then.”

Bonus:  Laura Prepon. Laura Prepon as a brunette. Laura Prepon as a lesbian. Laura Prepon in glasses. Laura Prepon as a lesbian brunette in glasses. That’s probably the only thing I would’ve needed to know about the show to run to Netflix, actually.

In closing

Orange is the New Black is currently streaming on Netflix. I was warned to watch it when I had 13 free hours, and I will extend that warning on.

  • Fans of Star Trek: Voyager – Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) is in it.
  • Fans of But I’m a Cheerleader – Natasha Lyonne is in it.
  • Fans of Jodie Foster – She directed episode 3.
  • Fans of chickens – there’s a chicken. It’s a special chicken. Mythical.
  • Fans of pie – See below.

Netflix predicted I would give this show 4.3 stars. I gave it five.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines.

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If I attend any weddings from now on, and there is no pie throwing, I will not consider it a real wedding.