As much as I praise Netflix and everything they do, I had zero interest in watching any of their original series, like House of Cards with Kevin Spacey or Hemlock Grove with no one special. BUT with all the buzz and direct recommendations from my closest friends, I sat down and watched Orange is the New Black.
More or less an American Pie reunion, the casting in OITNB is not half bad. Jason Biggs plays Larry, the unfortunate fiance of Taylor Schilling’s – the Lucky One who got to be in romantic cahoots with Zac Efron in the Nicholas Sparks adaption – character, Piper, who is headed to prison for fifteen months after a drug crime she was involved in ten whole years ago. Apparently, prison doesn’t believe in “the past is the past.” Natasha Lyonne, who plays Jessica in the American Pie trilogy – a character that I personally think is underrated – stars as Nicky, a more main than minor role as Piper’s initial roommate. Laura Pepron, Donna from That 70’s Show, plays Piper’s ex-girlfriend and technically the reason for her sentence, Alex.Now, the number one thing people think of when watching a show or film that even references incarceration is – is prison really like that? Orange is the New Black definitely has me asking that question often. Hopefully I’m not coming off as ignorant. OITNB makes it easy to understand how the relationships and hierarchy of the prison work, even if you’re clueless on the topic. It’s interesting to see all of the different types of characters from all different situations. The show is set in the present, but in and out with individual flashbacks about the prisoners and how they ended up in jail. I thought it would have been awesome if the show continued to work in flashbacks, but didn’t reveal the prisoners crimes until the very last episode. This could have worked for any show about prison, not just this one (hit me up, NBC.)
Orange is the New Black flows so well. It constantly presents the viewer with more and more questions. The audience can slowly put together a profile of each character as the episodes go on. By episode 6 “WAC Pack,” you still wonder if Mr. Healy has good intentions and if Alex actually gave Piper’s name in court. Nothing makes a drama better than never-ending questions. I would not only consider OITNB a drama, but a comedy. Except not a straight dramedy. Literally a mix of a drama and a dark comedy. There is not nickname of genres to describe it, which is a good thing.
With the perfect amount of socially relevant references and characters with names like Poussey and Pornstache, Orange is the New Black is a must-see. Plus, the main character Piper is almost too relatable. We would all be
hanging in there freaking out if we were in her position.
Did I mention a theme song by Regina Spektor?