Maybe You Should Watch Orange Is The New Black, Too
I began watching Orange Is The New Black back during the release of its pilot episode, I Wasn't Ready, which premiered on July 11, 2013. Other than for its high comedic value (so I've heard), I didn't expect to get much out of it - okay so maybe a few nice songs like Regina Spektor's You've Got Time.
After all, it's a show about women in prison. What could it possibly teach me?
But a few minutes into a show with a diversified set of characters, I realized one thing: I was wrong. I was such a snob.
OITNB hits too close to home in a non-nostalgic fashion.
It shows the often tough realities of life - both the fair and the unfair ones - and tackles important issues and social causes such as LGBTQ+, drug addiction, mental health, the flawed prison system, corruption, rape, love, betrayal, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
It also hands out a dose of sage advice that isn't hard to welcome.
It's a Walk in the Park!
Albeit prison-themed, watching OITNB is comparable to a walk in the park because it acknowledges - and addresses - the above-mentioned issues and other universal problems in a lighthearted approach.
Otherwise, it wouldn't be much of a hit… not to me, at least. I get bored easily and quickly - and I lose 100% of my interest in something fast if boredom starts to sink in.
Plus, I'm almost always ready to ditch something that is not the least bit relatable.
Fortunately, this wasn't the case. OITNB is actually entertaining and at the same time, relatable.
Surprisingly, a plethora of relatable moments was all over the show. One moment, in particular, was the start of Piper Chapman's "prison journey". I have never been to a prison and I have never been imprisoned nor do I think I'm "bad" enough to be get imprisoned.
But I could relate to it. Yes, a show that revolves around a prison system and with prisoners, COs, and executives of a prison system as the characters is relatable to me.
"Maybe it's because of its predominantly female cast and the fact that I'm female," I thought to myself at first.
Maybe so. But beyond that, I find it relatable because of the encounters in the show. These encounters are not far from happening in real life. The mundane existence of the inmates reflects my own mundane situation.
Kudos to the show for injecting witty, original humor - humor that I can understand easily. Kudos to its creator, Jenji Kohan.
I remember laughing my heart out during the cafeteria scene, wherein Galina "Red" Reznikov gives free yogurt to Piper, and then Piper comments that "the food here is disgusting" without knowing that Red was was actually in charge of the cooking.
Red takes it as an insult. Well, of course. So she refuses to give food to Piper, hence, starving her. And there I was, thinking… "Woah! I've never heard of such brutally genius punishment!"
I laugh a lot at the show's dialogues because they're realistic and they're my kind of realistic.
Like Piper, I have a "bluntness" and fondness for making-friends-without-knowing-the-facts, too. And whenever both of them kicks in, I get in trouble.
For the record, I usually don't intend to injure someone with my poor choices of words when we first meet. I may even mean well in such situations. It's just that… I sometimes don't think.
With the angsty initial encounter between Piper and Red, I believe that was the case. If Piper thought of her words before letting them out and to whom she was speaking to, Red would've spared her of her wrath.
And Then It Continues
What I dislike about OITNB is its vulgar nature. Call me old-fashioned but I find cursing, badmouthing, and dirty situations unattractive. Sad to say, all these are woven into the show.
Luckily, though, I can cast aside my dislike for vulgarity because I believe the show NEEDS it to deliver some points effectively and well, realistically.
For instance, there's the character of Nicole "Nicky" Nichols. If she didn't curse as much, I don't believe she'd be able to deliver a laudable performance.
Besides, vulgarity is hardly an issue because my focus is on the fact that I've learned a lot from the show. For starters, I, now, know the meanings of SHU, CO, Max, and Minimum.
And now OITNB just capped off its sixth season - and it has gone far from what it was in the beginning. In fact, the pilot episode showed Piper's journey into the prison. Well, in the finale of the sixth season, Piper officially exited prison.
With Piper (as the nominal character) exiting the prison, wondering whether or not the show will continue isn't supposed to be an impossible thought. But… it is. It is impossible because OITNB is more than just Piper's journey into prison.
Of course, I'm wondering about what will happen. I don't have any expectations for the next season, really. Surely, though, I'll continue tuning in to OINTB because of its value. It's entertaining, informative, and relatable. I also happen to like it.
*also on Medium