Orange is the New Black

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Orange is the New Black (2013)
Created by: Jenji Kohan
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Jason Biggs, & a ton more.

Yesterday I finished my second foray into the wonderful world that is Netflix original series with Orange is the New Black, starring a stellar (mostly female) cast. The show created by Jenji Kohan (of Weeds fame) is about a white girl who goes to federal prison for one time picking up drug money at an airport over ten years ago.

I didn't quite know what to expect from the show having nothing more on my record than a speeding ticket. I was interested to see how they would portray a female federal prison. Would they do a whole "scared straight" tactic or make it completely comical and nothing at all like real life?

It seems that the writers decided between a mix of the two that overall seems to work for the show.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about the show, even now. Some episodes were really slow. Some I found myself doing other things while watching them. There were some pretty funny lines throughout the show that mostly come from the black girls. (Everyone tends to hang out with their own race - just like real prison I hear?)

What OitNB had that I was not at all expecting but was happy to see was tons of "foul" language, boobies, and multiple scenes of lesbian sex. I was happy to see this because it serves to reinforce the fact that the show comes straight from Netflix -- no middle man required. There are no FCC regulations put upon the show that would hurt the telling of it. I guess this show could have been on Showtime or HBO but I've never had either of those subscriptions so I don't quite know what is acceptable for them vs regular cable in terms of language, gay sex, or when a vase needs to be strategically placed.

Though the premise is simple: Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) goes to prison and must survive, each episode takes us on a smaller journey. Sometimes you find out the back stories of other inmates and come to see why they are so angry, so closed off. Some deserve to be there and others are a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.The stories are interesting and help you keep track of the, more or less, regulars. But the inmates come and go just like in real life, I suppose.

The first season has 13 episodes. Towards the end there is one character who starts appearing that I cannot stand. I understand why she's there. I guess she could be based off a real person -- at the very least a real type of person. Yet, trying to watch the episodes and see her in them being completely crazy made me want to quit watching right then and there.

I didn't though and was rewarded by a cliff hanger ending to lead into Season 2.

The best thing I can say about this show is the cast. The actors, most of whom I've never seen before, are absolutely excellent. They all seem to be able to run the gamut from tough-hard bitch to completely vulnerable within the course of an episode. Their acting (and acting out) is completely believable and I can't help but applaud them that.

Will you like it? I think this show is either love or hate. Watch the trailer. If it piques your interest watch the first two episodes. If you can't finish then you'll probably not like the rest even though they do get progressively interesting.

I give it 3 out of 5 popcorn.

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