So, I think it took me a little over two days to watch all 13 episodes of Season 1 of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. (Yes, even us unemployed people are busy and it takes more than a day to watch 13 hours of television…)
I really enjoyed this show and need Season 2 now.
This show has a lot of things going for it. As I said in my post the other day, it centers around a female protagonist at an all-female prison. SO MANY LADY CHARACTERS!
Yeah, I ALL-CAPSed that because how many other shows can you name that feature that many women? And how many of those lady-centric shows have such a diverse cast of characters in all shapes, sizes and skin tones?
Yeah… that’s what I thought.
Orange is the New Black is different in that it not only features such a wide array of female characters, but that it features them at their worst.
Because the show is set in a prison, the audience must assume that each inmate was convicted of a crime bad enough to warrant a lengthy prison sentence. (Chapman is in for 13 or 14 months, but some of those other ladies have been in for years and still have years left to go.)
I love that each episode features the backstory of at least one inmate. It is beyond fascinating to see how each woman acted on the outside/in her youth and what lead up to her arrest.
There are some women we haven’t found out about yet and I can only hope we get to see their backstories next season. There are so many characters I adore (Taystee and Poussey, especially), but there are also a couple that terrify me… most specifically Pennsatucky.
Holy hell, that girl is scary.
Taryn Manning plays Pennsatucky with this completely horrifying look in her eye. This backwoods girl is in prison because she shot a person in the abortion clinic because said person commented that Pennsatucky was back for her fifth abortion and that she should have a punch card to get her sixth one free. Pennsatucky then went out to the truck, grabbed a shotgun and then walked back into the clinic and shot the woman who spoke down to her. Pennsatucky was then heralded as a hero among the Jesus-centric crowd who thought she shot the woman for religious reasons whereas she really just shot her because she insulted her. From then on, Pennsatucky believed herself to be a woman of Christ and preached His word to anyone who would listen and would force it on those who wouldn’t.
Though Pennsatucky didn’t show up until mid-season, she ended up being Chapman’s biggest antagonist (besides OC Healy… oh, I dislike him!) by the end of the 13 episodes. Pennsatucky sets out to kill Chapman and the season ends with the two of them fighting out in the courtyard with one of them getting the crap beat out of her. There was a lot of punching and a lot of blood. Since the show centers around Chapman’s story (and because this is all based on an actual woman who went to prison and said woman is a consultant on the show…), you can guess whose blood is spattered in the snow. I just hope Pennsatucky is still around for Season 2 because she is such a great character. Scary… but great.
My favorite character on the show is still OC Bennett (Matt McGorry). He’s in love with Daya and she’s pregnant with his baby, but she had sex with Pornstache/Mendez to keep Bennett’s job safe. Mendez got caught and suspended from his job, but he’s in love with Daya and thinks that she’s going to wait for him, when in reality she is in love with Bennett and has no intentions of being with Mendez. It is all sorts of drama and it is going to be very entertaining next season if Mendez ever gets wind of Daya/Bennett’s relationship. Mendez is a scary guy and I can’t imagine he would be anything except maniacal if he finds out the truth and how he was framed.
The love triangle between Chapman, Vause and Larry is my least favorite aspect of the show because I’m more fascinated by the supporting characters (and I’m just not a huge fan of Laura Prepon or Jason Biggs…). But, it helps drive the story and I will gladly tolerate it so long as I get to find out more about the other ladies in the Litchfield prison.
I read somewhere that this show is a comedy. I don’t believe that in the slightest – it’s definitely a drama with aspects of comedy in it. It’s definitely not a laugh-out-loud all the time kind of show. These women are in prison. There is harassment. There are fights. There is death. It’s not funny – it’s life. Life in prison. (Or a few years, I guess… depending on one’s sentence.)