I’m in deep, guys. I went on a 3-day Netflix binge and just finished the first season of Orange is the New Black. I’m not sure if any of you have ever fallen victim to Netflix Streaming Syndrome (the mind-numbing disease that compels you to spend hours watching entire television series on Netflix until your eyes burn). After each episode, I say, “Just one more.” But I know, just like the masterminds behind Netflix, that it’s not over until there are no more episodes left in the queue.
But, back to Orange is the New Black, my latest obsession. The series stars Taylor Schilling (from The Lucky One-- that chick flick with Zac Efron) as Piper Chapman, a thirty-something-year-old woman, who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison for carrying drug money ten years earlier. “I thought I was in love,” She insists, “I was in love.” Chapman (as she is known at Litchfield Prison), was convinced by her ex-girlfriend to smuggle money for a drug cartel. Fast–forward a decade and Piper is happily engaged to a man named Larry and owns a personal bath product line that sells at Barney’s. What first draws you in is the fact that Chapman is not your typical inmate. Litchfield Federal Prison is a far cry from her waspy, Connecticut upbringing. The woman reads up on jail etiquette before she goes in, and resolves to read every book on her Amazon list during her time in prison! (I won’t judge because this is a move I would totally do!)
Of course, Chapman’s plans change when she gets to Litchfield. She learns some tough lessons when interacting with the other female prisoners. (The hierarchy in the prison system is ridiculous!) In fact, that is the basis of the show. Each woman that she encounters during her sentence, has her own story that makes you realize that we are all just one decision away from being in their orange jumpsuits. I love how the show follows women from different backgrounds. And these women look like real women. They are Black, White, fat, skinny, gay, straight... (and even more diverse than my dual references).
Piper’s relationship with Larry, her fiancé is sweet and funny. When Piper makes him promise not to watch Mad Men without her, I nearly died because I would totally say that to my fiancé! The show relies heavily on flashbacks and it becomes clear that Larry is a ride-or-die kind of dude. When Piper realizes that Alex, her ex-girlfriend and the reason she is doing time, is an inmate at the same prison, her relationship with Larry is definitely tested. With that being said, this show is not for the meek or modest. (In the opening credits of the first episode, there is a nude lesbian scene that is steamy, quite literally.)
You’ll be amazed at how invested you become in these complex characters confined to a world where cocoa butter serves as currency and prison guards impregnate inmates. Jenji Kohan, the creator of Weeds, outdid herself with this one!