10 Reasons Why I Love Orange is the New Black!
Orange is the New Black is the newest Netflix original series loosely based on a book of the same name (by Piper Kerman). I binge-watched all 13 episodes of season 1 in an 18-hour period. That show is EVERYTHING! If you don’t have a NetFlix account, get one (or ask one of your friends who have it for their login info).
“Orange” is about Piper Chapman, who ends up in federal prison serving a 15-month term for carrying drug money once, 10 years before. She was a naive drug mule for her then girlfriend, and two years before the statute of limitations runs out, so does her freedom. The show follows Piper’s journey in prison, weaving in the lives of her fellow inmates and how they got to where they are.
It’s SO good and I am now obsessed with it so I gotta tell you 10 reasons why I love it. No worries, I don’t include plot point spoilers.
10 Reasons Why I Love Orange is the New Black
1. The theme song is an ear worm – The opening of “Orange” is the song “You Got Time” by Regina Spektor, and it goes for a minute before every episode (over a montage of various women’s eyes and mouths in close up). I found myself singing it along with the opening credits by episode 3. And even after I finished season 1, I was humming the song. It’s an ear worm and I have no defense against it.
2. They jump right into the action – In the first seconds of the premiere episode, we see two women in the shower getting it ON and it’s like “well damb.” No they don’t offer you a seat and a glass of water when you come in. They steal your shoes from you and tell you to STFU. And you do. OITNB hooks you before you can even decide if you want to be. I’m a fan of shows that just get right into what they’re doing instead of giving us long setups.
3. Piper’s Walter White-esque transformation – Piper Chapman walked into prison as a rich, blonde white girl who wanted to just do her time and be out. She was an “other” in that she didn’t fit the mold of someone you’d expect to go to be where she was. She wasn’t a junky, her crime wasn’t violent, she was college-educated and overall pretty privileged. However, the more she tried to stay out of drama, the more she got woven into it. Her season 1 reminded me of Walter White’s from Breaking Bad. You can’t be a part of the ugliness without getting ugly yourself. And her evolution in prison is so interesting to watch.
4. The camaraderie rocks – Although the show centers around Piper, it’s also about the other women around her and how they’ve created this community in prison. I think what I love the most about “Orange” is seeing the camaraderie of these women who are sharing their lives behind the real life version of Azkaban (if dementors were corrupt guards with porn moustaches).
For them to be able to forge these deep relationships is a testament to the human need for connection, no matter the circumstance. And the running theme in shows like this (The Wire, Breaking Bad etc), where everyone is basically a “bad guy” is that they all have a code. And that code is often that they form tribes and look out for each other in those tribes.
Characters like Red, who is the head chef of the prison kitchen. Or the friendship between Poussey (pronounced Poo-say) and Taystee. And the kinship between the Latinas. Even the pitiful “God squad” got each other’s back. In a world where these women have so little control over their coming and going, it’s dope to see this.
Also, off camera, the cast of the show actually LOVES each other. They’ve been tweeting and Instagramming pics of themselves hanging out and being adorable. And I’m a sucker for finding out that on-screen friendships extend to real life too. AAWWWWWWW.
5. It’s so diverse – Might I add that it sucks that I even have to put this as a plus? I look forward to the day when seeing a show or movie’s cast look like the real world is no longer impressive. “WHOA! THEY GOT DIFFERENT PEOPLE! YAYY!”
Anywho, they got all types of women in OITNB and I do appreciate that. One of the ways that “Orange” really stands apart from other shows is that they have a transsexual woman playing the role of a transsexual woman! And that is ridiculously novel.
We can’t even get Saturday Night Live to hire a Black woman for their show, instead of getting Kenan to play ALLTHEBLACKWIMMINZ. So this is incredibly impressive of “Orange.” BuzzFeed has an article about how Laverne Cox broke the Trans glass ceiling.
Sophia is a trans woman who was a husband and father pre-transition, and is now struggling with how her gender switch changed her family dynamic. And I like that Sophia was one of the first characters besides Piper, whose background we got to explore. Which brings me to the next point.
6. The flashbacks – “Orange” does a brilliant job of telling the story of the women in the Litchfield Federal Correctional Facility through intermittent flashbacks. Because knowing where they are now makes you want to know where they came from. These women aren’t “bad” per se – they all just made bad decisions at one point or another. Like Poussey said “we all just made a wrong turn going to church.” We’ve been given the backgrounds of folks like Miss Claudette, Sophia, Tricia and Watson and I look forward to learning more about the others, especially, Crazy Eyes.
7. It is full of teachable moments – I’m drawn to shows that feel like documentaries, educating and entertaining at the same time. I’ve already mentioned The Wire but what draws me to stuff like that is the drama but also the real-life commentary they make. This show clearly touches on the prison-industrial complex, the various shades of sexuality, privilege (cis-gender, white, male, educated) and racism. It also doesn’t skim on facing the emotional turmoil of what happens when you have nothing to face but yourself in prison and there are some poignant moments that we see because of this. Some of those moments had a goon’s thug about to fail. Whooooo!
8. It’s hilarious – This show can be dark but it’s also funny as hell. So many quotables, like when Red says “All I wanted was to eat the chicken that is smarter than other chickens and to absorb its power.” Or Crazy Eyes’ poem. “I have been starved out, felt up, teased, stalked, threatened and called Taylor Swift.” It’s equally as funny as it’s heart-breaking and tragic. And that’s no small feat.
9. It’s in your face – “Orange” takes what makes us uncomfortable and throws it in our faces. The lives of these women are complicated and messy and in all shades of gray and OITNB shows it with no sugar-coating. It’s not “Oz” but it is crass and in your face.
If taking about race makes you cringe, well you gotta sit there and deal with a show where everyone’s social group and allegiances is based on their ethnicity and color. If nakedness makes you squirm, well you’ll see a naked body in the first 2 minutes of watching. And if sex between two women makes you uneasy, you’ll be treated with scenes where Love Pockets are breakfast and dinner.
And if you choose to watch it, you gotta deal. This might mean it’s not for everybody but I highly recommend it.
10. It’s just REALLY good – It just is! It’s smart, funny, compelling and just downright awesome.
If you haven’t watched Orange is the New Black yet, I’m actually jealous of you because you have a chance to watch it for the first time. And also, GO WATCH IT!
I’m looking forward to season 2 already and I gotta wait until 2014. ARGH!!! I need to get more of Chapman, Nicky, Alex, Pennsatucky, Red, Poussey, Taystee et al. I am SO ready!
Have you been watching this show? If so, do you love it? If you haven’t seen it, do you plan on catching it? Let a homie know!
I too am obsessed! I am reading the book now too.
Lemme know how the book goes. I’m pretty sure I’ma get it too.
I read the book years ago when it first came out. The book is GREAT. The plot lines in the TV show are almost all fictional- just based on the book. for instance, Alex and Piper are not really in prison together (which I think is a great addition in the show). There is not as much turmoil between Larry and Piper. She has a strong support of friends (not just Polly) that come to visit her regularly and send her stuff.
A few other things too but those are pretty much the main things.
I LOVE both the book and TV show. I was beyond ecstatic when the show came out. I binge watched it too :/
Love it! The scene where Black Cindy (I think that’s her name) talked about the Amalakites gave me all kinds of life!!
I watched the whole series over the course of a weekend. Excellent television. Or Netflix…whatever.
I love Black Cindy. Her Lady of Rage afro puffs give me what I need.
I love Black Cindy’s initials corn rowed in the front of her hair. Hil. Arious!
Speaking of which, how about when Tricia was referred to as ‘Corn Hoez’. Ish was hilarious and unexpected.
Black Cindy is hilarious. I rewatched that Amalekite scene like three times. I also liked the solution she gave Piper for dealing with her foe . . . “Kill dat muthaf***ka! Out.”
Already binge watched. Now on re-watch. Love it! Yay Netflix. So much good tv these days (if u look around), but this one exceptional
Yeah, I’m gonna have to rewatch it. Because. Yes.
I had to get the book too! I’m hooked
Is the book good?
I read the book last year (the title got me). It’s a MUST read! It will never leave you. The names and certain things are different, but it is beyond compelling. I read it twice more and was thrilled to see it as a series!
I watched the ENTIRE season last Satutlrday. That is all. This show is everything!
I watched the whole thing from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. I have no shame.
You are right on with the Walter White reference. I just mentioned this to a friend recently. I frigging love this show. It’s so rare to be able to showcase such drama and also be funny at the same time and OITNB does this effortlessly. I don’t know how I’m going to wait until next year for more of these ladies!
Right??? Piper is SO Walter and that finale episode sealed it.
agree with you on all points! I was hesitant to jump on the OITNB train because of all of the hype but then I realized that there was good reason for all of it. I recently read a vulture article that the actor who plays the male version of Sophia in flashbacks is actually Laverne Cox’s twin brother!
Yeah I read about Laverne Cox’s twin playing her pre-transition. So cool and perfect.
I know her twin brother from California. He’s a performance artist, and my fb friend. He’s pretty interesting.
Looovvvveee this show but I’m pissed because season two doesn’t come on Netflix until 2014!!! Breakout Kings is also a good show.
Whatever happened to Breakout Kings anyway? My husband and I were just talking about that show. I watched OITNB a while ago, and now my husband is hooked and just finished. Really want 2014 to hurry up and get here. That’s just too long to wait for the next season:(
Breakout Kings was Canceled after 2 seasons. I liked the show & was sorry to see it go.
Breakout Kings?? Lemme add that to my Instant Queue.
If you all OITNB you should check out Rectify on the Sundance channel 5 or 6 episodes of pure brilliance.
I started watching yesterday when someone tweeted about it and now I love it! I’m only on episode 5 but I’m hooked.
Did you finish it yet? I bet you did. lol
Yess! I spent the ENTIRE day (shamelessly) watching the rest of the season. This show is so dang good. Why do we have to wait until 2014 for S2?!
What other show on Netflix do you recommend to watch next? Because of your tweets I binge watched Breaking Bad and love it.
House of Cards was excellent as well. Netflix is doing it with the original series’.
Yes to all of this. My husband and I binge watched the entire thing in a day. There is so much great acting all up and through OITNB it’s crazy.
The actors are phenomenal! So many layers.
Finished it on Friday and was sooooooo bitter when I ran out of episodes. I love that all of the women are presented as complicated and well-rounded characters. Even the characters who fill the typical “comic relief” roles are complex–you find that their comedy is a coping mechanism. It’s witty, heartbreaking, and sometimes difficult to watch. Such a great show! “My name is Poussey! Accent a droite, b****!” Hahahaha!!
I say that to my husband all the time now! I’m on my 3rd tune watching the series. You can miss so much.
I was sooo salty when I finished. I was all “what now?” Dang it. They need to come back w/ season 2 asaptually b/c I lack patience.
That “accent a droite” line slayed me!
Been wanting to watch this for a while now. Guess I’ll break out the headphones and the iPad because the kids are hogging up the tv version of Netflix with Elmo and Tinker-bell.
Yup! You gotta. And tell the kids not to bug you as you get your whole life! lol
I started watching I think this past Thursday. Finished it Friday night. I almost had a BF (bitch fit) when I finished episode 13 and Netflix gone talk about “ain’t no mo”. It’s hilarious, it’s tragic, and I love that when I snooped on IMDB to see where everybody is from, this is the first major acting gig for most of the ladies. Might have to run all that back. 2014? Chile please.
YESSS!!! The fact that this is gonna be the BIG BREAK for most of them is so exciting. ALLLLL of them gon be working from now on and I’m here for it.
This show is EVERYTHING, let me repeat, EVERYTHING. Each character is so interesting and dynamic in their own right. I’ve been on episode 13 for the past week because I just dont want it to end. AND LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS.
1. Ms. Claudette is LIFE. She is from the islands and is so full of old woman spunk. i LIVE for it. She’s just there to do her time and not give a damn. She’s too old for the BS and it shows.
2. Crazy Eyes. I love her so much words cannot explain. Like, she is insane, and I’m here for all her crazy girl antics.
3. Taystee & Pousse. Why are they so cool?? Why is their friendship so adorable and heart warming and awwwwwwww? I just….
Listen, I can talk about this cast for a whole week and still have more to say. OITNB is wondrous. Great show.
ALL OF THIS! I’m gonna do a post on my favorite characters and Miss Claudette is at the top of my list. She is everything and everything is she.
I thought Miss Claudette was from an African nation? Looks like she was brought to America via human trafficking and she inherited the business when she was older. But I could be wrong.
Ms. Claudette is hilarious to me because she reminded me so much of my old babysitter way back. As soon as I heard the Haitian creole language in her background/flashback I fell in love with the show even more. So yeah she’s Haitian on the show. The Dominican clique gives me life also. I hope they figure something out for Daya’s baby.
Taystee and Poussey…their BFF-ship can’t be an accident, I’m just sayin =P
Miss Claudette is my favorite, though.
Can’t wait to find out more of Suzanne’s(“Crazy Eyes”) background next season.
I love this show and was so sad when Tricia died!
I also LOVE Crazy Eyes’ “Swirl” song!
Pennsatucky is a mothafuhka, am I right?! Ugh. But that’s the thing about this show, the supporting characters – ALL OF ‘EM – are just fantastic in their own twisted way.
Black Cindy is probably my favorite simply for her “Don’t Forget a BICH” sign. lol
No. I like them all. (actually, I probably care about Piper the least. and she’s the lead!)
Glad you did a write up on it. More people need to watch. There is nothing like good, solid storytelling. 🙂
Am I the only one that hoped Pennsatucky healing powers were real…so that she could perform a miracle of teeth whitener for the Yuck Mouth Krew & herself????
Absolutely LOVE this show! I watched it the first week it was released because im all about this Netflix life. Im having withdrawals and must watch again.
Completely, totally, entirely, obsessively addicted! I also binge-watched over a 3-day period, but could not stop thinking about everything from the Regina Spektor song – YES, an earworm – to the opening montage of incredible facial features to the brilliant character development and fast-moving story line. I, too, am really bummed we have to wait so long for more of this special brand of crack. MORE, MORE, MORE!!
I love this show for all the reasons you listed and then some!!!! 🙂 I must read the book now.
I love how Sophia’s twin brother in real life (M. Lamar) plays her pre-op! Friggin awesome!
I hijacked Hubby’s tablet so that I could watch it. I’m addicted. Gotta stop, the baby will be up in a few hours.
Maaan, I just started watching two hours ago to unwind before bed. Now, it’s almost 1 am, and I’m trying to decide how much caffeine would be necessary to function at work so that I can watch one more episode.
*Should have started watching yesterday*
Lovvvee the show! Watched it the week it came out in like 1 1/2 days then got my bf to watch lol. We were both hooked! Anyone who doesn’t have Netflix should get the free month trial and watch! Now! Then cancel lol
I literally made a mistake and bumped into this show. I became obsessed and literally watched within a day (on my phone and iPad). The concept of the show is brilliant and the story lines are so real. From the crazy azz Jesus nut to the girl who just wanted to run. The talent was ridic. Like many of you I was def drawn to Lavern Cox story and how I could never imagine her wife leaving through that. Overall great show and I can’t wait for more episodes!!!
This is another to thousand reason why i ride with you luvvie! I watched this show over a two day span when it first hit netflix….then when i realized I had to wait unitl 2014 for a new season I hit an epic wall slide and almost cried….it was close to my Olive Pope breakdown but thats another story for another day. Im glad netflix is stepping up there orginal shows game!
I watched this show last month…maybe three days after it came out and I am hooked! Miss Claudette’s back story all but brought me to my knees and filled a tub up with my tears. LAWD!!! I want her to win so bad. Sophia’s story too…the lesson that she’s learning hit home for me. I can’t wait for Season 2.
I got my husband to watch it, but Iw asn’t able to finish them all with him. I told him not to watch the rest without me and he did it anyway. I LOVE the ending and I am really wondering what’s going to happen…like someone finally getting some new teeth….lol. I’m listening to the book and I don’t like the lady who is narrating and some of the names are different. The show is better in my opinion.
Crazy Eye’s Shakespeare performance during the “scared straight” demonstration had me rolling!
Nothing like a good story and this show is full of them!!! Watched the entire season in 18 hours,ended up watching it a second time via text message with my boyfriend (got him hooked). And I’m sure I’m about to watch it a third time with his mom. Imma be too hurt whenever Piper’s year is up!!
I just finished the Scared Straight episode. A couple of declarations…
1. Poussey is adorable.
2. I can’t wait to hear Crazy Eyes’ backstory. Her older white parents, coupled with her Shakespearean knowledge are a potent combo for some deep ish.
3. I had convulsions when Pennsatucky tried to faith heal the girl in the wheelchair. Then I was close to death when she got maced. That girl is HILARIOUSLY crazy.
4. Tricia’s death was the saddest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
5. Daya is dumb as bricks but not too different from many young girls that I’ve met who learn very early to trade their bodies for some type of affection.
Girl No you didn’t watch all 13 episodes! Cut it out, it is a female version of OZ. I knew what would happen cause I was an OZ fanatic.
I’ve been watching too. I have 2 episodes left. I was ready to quit Netflix before I found this. It makes me want to check out Netflux’s other original series, House of Cards, next
Go. Do it. House of Cards was great drama.
I had never heard of the book or the series before your post, Luvvie. I work as a coordinator in a male correctional facility so the nerd sociologist in me would like to see the parallels and differences between the sexes.
I finished the last episode today. Healy got some serious issues with Piper…wow. cant wait til 2014 for season 2. Also makes me wanna check out house of cards and finish the sci-fi one…that was pretty good 2.
Started watching this Saturday afternoon watched until 3 am until my eyes couldn’t take it no more. Overslept and missed church and channeled Pennsatucky and convinced myself God wanted me to finish watching it. This show is everything!! The stories of the younger ladies Daya and the track star reminds me of kids I know and makes the show that much more realistic, they just took a wrong turn. The comedy of these women is the greatest. Crazy eyes poem in the beginning of the show had me crying! I’m waiting for her story, Taystee’s, my girl from the Bronx and of course the nun’s. I love that you don’t even have to see a long drawn out flashback for the girls, by the first flashback you get the picture real quick and can deduce what will lead them to their incarceration.
I forgot I had a life the past few days. I’ve been out in public hacking into peoples wifi not giving two dambs about what they thought. I finally finished today, after dividing it into three days worth of watching and I has the sads. What is my life now? I am torn because I just wanna talk about this with everyone who will listen and I NEED people around me to watch it so I have someone to discuss it with. I am officially obsessed.
Sounds like I should wait til Christmas break to watch this so that I dont go through long withdrawals. Plus I’ll need a Breaking Bad replacement…
Also: Kate Mulgrew is fantastic as Red! Stellar show all around.
just finished binge watching season 1. thoroughly entertaining show from women’s perspective. Red is my girl! Can’t wait for the next season!
I just binge watched Season 1 and I’m hooked too. Season 2 starts next month, and I can’t wait to read Luvvy’s recaps and commenters.
[…] LOVE Orange is the New Black and I wrote a post on 10 reasons why when I binge-watched it last year. Jenji Kohan’s […]
I planned my day off so I could binge watch tomorrow. This show is everything! TAYSTEEEEE!!!
I binged on this show 2wks ago… so ready for season 2. Every character has a great story line… come on Friday!!!!
I am currently binge watching…..I did not leave my house on Saturday 6/14/2014. I made it all the way to Season 2 Episode 2 as of yesterday. Can’t wait to go on my lunch break, so I can watch a little more because I do have Netflix on my iPad, iPhone and PS3! 🙂