Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Orange Is the New Obsession

Over the weekend, like almost every other lesbian, I binge watched “Orange Is the New Black.” I did this because I physically could not stop watching. After seeing just the first episode it became an imperative need to immediately consumer the entire first season. If it hadn’t been for the pesky need to sleep, eat, bathe and make a living I would have watched all 13 episodes in one sitting.

I don’t know what else I can lend to the already rousing chorus of praise for Netflix’s newest offering. The series, about an upper-crust white woman’s immersion into the at times harrowing, at times hilarious world of incarceration in a federal women’s prison is magnificent. Words like “rich,” “complex,” “layered” simply cannot be overused here. From the acting to the writing to the casting it’s practically perfect. The ability to both warm and break one’s heart, sometimes in the same episode – fuck sometimes in the same scene – is one not many shows can master.

But here is a show that is able to lay bare some of the things we try not to talk about in polite society – white privilege, racial separatism, cultural elitism, religious fundamentalism, how to make shower flip-flops out of maxi pads. And it does it all with one of the most diverse casts on televisions. (Yes, I know, some take issue with a show with great diversity being set in a prison – but statistics will show that’s the shitty, shitty truth of our shitty, shitty justice system). I love how almost all of the women get a chance to tell their stories. How they got there, why they got there. Who they were, who they want to be. Nothing in “Orange Is the New Black” smacks of tokenism (well, mustachioed men might have a legitimate gripe – you guys are simply awful in this show).

And we haven’t even gotten to the lesbianism, which believe you me is front and center and glorious. The sexual spectrum, including trans stories, is handled deftly. Again, it’s not done for show, it’s done for authenticity. Sometimes gay women go to prison, sometimes women who had a same-sex relationship 10 years ago go to prison. And sometimes those same women run into their exes from 10 years ago at that same prison. And you thought your ex-relationship was complicated. Amateurs.

Still if none of that manages to convince you this show is indeed worth 13-hours of your life, there’s also the delightful game of “How Do I Know Her?” you can play throughout. Hey, where do I know that prison cook Red from? Fuck, that’s Captain Janeway/Kate Mulgrew! Hm, that hippie yoga instructor’s voice sure sounds familiar. Wait, it’s Evelyn Couch’s friend from the vagina workshop in “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Man, I know I’ve seen that meth mouth Tiffany before. Shit, she was Britney’s BFF in “Crossroads” (I’m told, I proudly have not seen that movie). And there’s also Natasha Lyonne and Lea DeLaria and Laura Prepon. Sweet fancy Moses, there is Laura Prepon and her irresistible, inevitable bespectacled swagger. I’d go to prison just to watch her take her glasses on and off. I mean it.

In conclusion, the sleep deprivation is totally worth it. Orange is better than the new black. It’s your new TV obsession.

p.s. Isn’t Regina Spektor’s theme song “You’ve Got Time“ just fucking perfect? Also, I can’t stop humming it.

p.p.s. SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS: Can you believe they ended the season like that? Holy fuckity fuck. But seriously, she is fucked. Or at the very least doing more time. Fuck. Hurry up, Season 2.

p.p.p.s. MORE SPOILERS: I fluctuated for a while between feeling sorry and annoyed for Larry. But then he exploited her experiences for his career, without even asking full permission first, he became insufferable. So, hope your NPR tote is really useful in hell, Larry.


;) babs said...

captain janeway and natasha lyonne!!
where can I watch it?

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching all 13 episodes!!!!


I want more episodes!

I'm so glad Netflix did this show! Can't wait for next season.


Anonymous said...

I love how this show has just hit the internet all in one go. A part of me would have loved the drip feed reaction week after week; but this way has avoided some of the horseshit you get when lesbians love a tv show, like everybody whining at the end of an episode that the writers are tanking the lesbian relationship or love Larry or some shit like that. It's just all out there, we can dissect it all at once. The only problem is the wait. Oh god, the wait. That's gonna be bad!

That fucking ending!

Anonymous said...

Is Alex smarter than Piper or just more cautious or both?

Maybe it's twisted, but that relationship, chemistry, etc. totally makes sense to me.

I don't get the attraction to Larry (and I'm not just saying that because I'm a dyke). The more we get to know him, the more clueless and weak he seems.

So much so interesting in this show.

I for one am glad that Taystee came back.

FL SHANNON said...

I LOVE This Show - It's totally my new obsession. I binge watched all 13 episodes over a 2 day period and am so jonesing for Season 2.

This is a really great and diverse cast of actors and characters!

I got a Netflix subscription just for this show and I'm glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Haven't watched the show as I don't have Netflix. However I have every intention of reading the book that the show is based on as its someone's true story. Can't wait till it arrives :-)

Anonymous said...

Such a brilliant show! I love Piper's monologues, filled with clarity and wisdom. But then she's riiiiight back to her seemingly clueless self. That's how great this character is!

Larry represented the hope and optimism from the outside world. Without him, will Piper get into a darker place (I guess she sort of did at the end of the season)?

Last but not least, I hope to see this show and Taylor Schilling at Emmy's and Golden Globes! Go Orange!

Anonymous said...

I don't see hope and optimism in Larry. He never asks Piper if he can use her story. He never considers how what he says might have dire consequences for her. That's huge. He's so concerned with his own ego he puts her in danger. If he's really a writer, can't he find something else to write about? I mean he can't even come up with his own ideas on what to write about?! So for me, Larry is selfish, clueless and pretty lazy and really not very smart.

Anonymous said...

For Janeway fans, you had to love when Nikki (I think it was Nikki) told Red she was her "Spock"!!!

Carmen SanDiego said...

Spoilers ahead
I gor teary eyes by the lesbian camaraderie across racial (sorry, tribal) lines when Poussey brought that bottle of alcohol to Big Boo to mourn Tricia's death.
And that ending was killer (was it? She didn't kill her with her bare hands, did she? Hope not)
I need season 2 now please

Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVE THIS SHOW! I'm so glad my gf made me watch it, and then it turned into me making her watch the rest of the episodes so I could see what happened:) Aaaagh the wait for season 2 is going to be excruciating!

And that ending??? Aaaaaah!!

Kristan said...

Oh fine, you win. I was on the fence, but I'll definitely check it out now. :P

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Laura's glasses, a .gif of her taking off her glasses would be perfect!

stephanie said...

episode 3 (lesbian request denied) was directed by jodie foster.

jodie. foster.

yes, yes i have watched that episode three times.

PatsyBailey said...

OMG I can't with this show. It is SO GOOD. I binge watched it just like everyone else and I swear if there were more episodes I don't think I'd have a social life left. The ending though!! I want to see what happens!! Aargh! Snarker, it is so nice to share this excitement with the right people on the internet (meaning mostly you and your readers). Awesome bunch.
*off to convert more people to this show*

tlsintx said...

I hate Larry!!

I have two more episodes to go and then I'm gonna start over and watch it again and again until there's a second season.

Lily said...

I like most of it but I am troubled by the stereotypes. It's a dramedy and it explores characters further, some at least (not Boo, for example, shocker!) but it starts with stereotypes and makes it easier for some viewers to stop there.
Mulgrew and Lyonne are in top form there. Love their parts and how they play them.

I don't feel sorry for Larry (Jason Biggs couldn't lend personality to the cardboard cutout anyway) but I kinda feel sorry for Paolo Shreiber who deserves better than a one-dimensional mustache twirling villain, but then when female characters are the ones getting the depth and the male characters are the cardboard cutouts for a change, who am I to complain?

Anonymous said...

I loved this show. Like all you other ladies I binged and watched the lot in 2 days. To avoid waiting for season two I have ordered the book. I mean who can really wait to find out that happen next? I LOVE Alex ..she could be my prison wife any day of the week :-)

Anonymous said...

The book will not necessarily reveal the plot. I read an article in which Jenji Kohan stated that they are using the Piper Kerman memoir as their foundation but Kohan has taken her own liberties and will be traveling a different path. As an example, in real life, Piper and Alex were not incarcerated together for most of Piper's sentence. I am willing to wait and be further surprised in Season Two. The diversity of the cast is amazing. Everyone is so invested in their parts. Groundbreaking TV.

Sammy said...

I tried to watch this show an episode a week and failed miserably. One thing I noticed is that this show has pay-offs to pay-offs, because it is so well structured.

Do you think there could be more to the Alex glasses on-off moments than just pretty? I want to rewatch the season but this time with an eye on those moments. Late in the season, Alex says that without her glasses she's not blind but things are blurry. Note how many times she takes off her glasses talking to Piper. Is she willfully blurring things she doesn't want to see clearly?

Anonymous said...

So, question: are you a dryer gal? Or more of a dishwasher gal?

P.S. I would have loved to have been Natasha Lyonne's hand in that secret Santa scene. Yum.

Erin O'Riordan said...

It's unanimous: Larry sucks. And his mom is as much a Jewish mother stereotype as Howard's on 'The Big Bang Theory.' I hate that.

Fortunately, there is so much to love.

Anonymous said...

Just finished watching the show and i was like whhaaattttheeefuccckkkk??? Why did end it like that? Leaving me wanting more of course! More pipex in season 2 please, its so sad when they said alex is rumored to exit in season 2. No funnnnn!!! ='(

Anonymous said...

And another one, like reallyy? Alex and nicky? It kinda disgust me. Haha i mean they are like sisters. And alex just broke up. How could she do that?