Orange is the New Black was my first Netflix original and I think it’s a brilliant concept. Consumers like it because of the lack of annoying network regulations and censorship, plus no commercials, and the ability to devour episode after episode without waiting a week in between. Showrunners probably appreciate the flexibility and innovation. And Netflix, well they get to see their numbers start shooting up because no one wants to be left out when the buzz starts circulating about an awesome new show, so they hurry to sign up.
It seemed like everyone was talking about @OITNB after its July 11, 2013 release. After giving it the pilot test, I could see why. If you haven’t tried out this awesome prison dramedy, you need to do so before season 2 hits everyone’s queue June 6.
The show is actually the true story of Piper Kerman, based on her book Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison:
“With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.”
I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces—Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One) as our leading lady Piper, Laura Prepon (That ‘70s Show) as her former lesbian lover Alex, Jason Biggs and Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) as Piper’s husband and a fellow inmate, respectively—but also the vast number of unfamiliar ones who bring Litchfield to life. Aside from the truly unique plot, I love that they managed to take such a bleak setting and inject it with humor. (It comes from the creator of “Weeds,” after all.) I cracked up more than once during the pilot and it only got better. Watching Piper navigate the social structure (“Baby, high school is high school.”) and come to terms with who she is and what she’s done is a journey I’m all too willing to take with her. I can’t wait to see what happens next.