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Orange Is The New Black is Back!!

Updated on June 12, 2015
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What is Orange Is the New Black?

Orange is the New Black is a series that was made by HBO. It has been remarkably successful, having more viewers in the first week of it's first season- more than Netflix' 'House of Cards' had in an entire season. The third season started last night, 6/11/2015. Netflix announced a surprise and had the show start early, as it was supposed to start at midnight.

Orange is the New Black is critically acclaimed. The popular review site Rotten Tomatoes rates it at an unusually high score- 93%. Hank Steuver, critic for the Washinton Post, actually gave Orange is the New Black a perfect score. The show has been nominated for over sixty awards, and has won several- including three Emmy Awards at the 66th Primetime Ceremony.

Based off a memoir by Piper Kerman 'Orange is the New Black, My Year In a Woman's Prison,' the series features several very interesting prisoners, their backgrounds and relationships, and the hierarchy of the prison system based of Kerman's experiences.

The first series focuses on Piper and how she enters prison and tries to get used to the odd rules and the prison caste system so to speak. As a rich privileged WASP, her family is horrified when they discover she has to go to prison. Her fiancee is extremely upset, especially since he finds out that Piper's ex girlfriend (she is bisexual), is housed at the same prison. To complicate matters, that same ex girlfriend is the one responsible for ratting out Piper and getting her thrown in jail in the first place- for something she'd done years and years ago which involved helping in a drug smuggling ring. Now that Piper has her life straight and she's getting ready to marry, she finds herself off to prison to serve a sentence for something that she thought was long forgotten.

As we continue with episodes of Orange is the New Black, the series starts to focus on the other inmates as well as the staff. We come to know the others as people, with families, children, mothers, and pasts. The characters are very rich and I find myself empathizing with nearly all of them. The story makes you think of exactly what you would do to protect the people you love in life.

The prisoners become families because of their situation. They do what it takes to survive. Some of them would never associate with each other outside the walls, but some of them would. There are groups who are tight, and groups that fight among one another, and there is segregation- and there is co-operation and a lot of backstabbing. There are good guards and crooked guards and politicians. The story is ripe with interesting plots and background on the characters, and it's no wonder that people look forward to 'binge-watching' the seasons.

Main Characters

Piper- Main Character- Bi-Sexual privileged girl trying to find a way to fit in with the prisoners
Piper- Main Character- Bi-Sexual privileged girl trying to find a way to fit in with the prisoners
Alex- drug smuggler, Piper's ex girlfriend and prison girlfriend, very intelligent, condescending, sexual, manipulative
Alex- drug smuggler, Piper's ex girlfriend and prison girlfriend, very intelligent, condescending, sexual, manipulative
John- kind prison guard who falls in love and impregnates Dyanara, has intentions on marrying her when she finishes her sentence
John- kind prison guard who falls in love and impregnates Dyanara, has intentions on marrying her when she finishes her sentence
Dyanara- daughter of a fellow inmate, grew up in a very abusive household- sweet person, falls in love with John, gets pregnant but blames 'Porn Stache' for raping her
Dyanara- daughter of a fellow inmate, grew up in a very abusive household- sweet person, falls in love with John, gets pregnant but blames 'Porn Stache' for raping her
'Porn Stache'- guard, despicable (yet comedic) prison guard who makes gross comments and is the subject of the girls' ridicule
'Porn Stache'- guard, despicable (yet comedic) prison guard who makes gross comments and is the subject of the girls' ridicule
Sam- prison guard/counselor.  He has a Russian Male Order Bride and wants to make his marriage work desperately, and he gets the help of Russian inmate 'Red' to help him communicate with his wife
Sam- prison guard/counselor. He has a Russian Male Order Bride and wants to make his marriage work desperately, and he gets the help of Russian inmate 'Red' to help him communicate with his wife
Carrie 'Big Boo'- plays a very pride, open lesbian with a quit wit and great sense of humor, says she plays 'herself' and the director kept her on because they liked her character so much
Carrie 'Big Boo'- plays a very pride, open lesbian with a quit wit and great sense of humor, says she plays 'herself' and the director kept her on because they liked her character so much
Lorna- ultra feminine girl in prison for her obsession with a man she went on one date with, and stalked he and his wife for years.  Also, she was busted for credit card fraud- but character is so sweet, lovable and kind
Lorna- ultra feminine girl in prison for her obsession with a man she went on one date with, and stalked he and his wife for years. Also, she was busted for credit card fraud- but character is so sweet, lovable and kind
Poussey- openly gay girl, daughter of military officer, busted for trying to kill her father when he took her away from her girlfriend in Germany- very nice, funny, and in love with her best friend Taystee, who does not return the love
Poussey- openly gay girl, daughter of military officer, busted for trying to kill her father when he took her away from her girlfriend in Germany- very nice, funny, and in love with her best friend Taystee, who does not return the love
Red- Russian business owner and busted for dealings with Russian Mafia.  Well respected, known as a mother-figure but tougher and meaner than nails
Red- Russian business owner and busted for dealings with Russian Mafia. Well respected, known as a mother-figure but tougher and meaner than nails
Nicky- ex heroine addict, proud lesbian- made her very rich mother extremely embarrassed during her last OD episode, tough, rough and full of spunk- always looking for ways to cheat the system and of course, have sex
Nicky- ex heroine addict, proud lesbian- made her very rich mother extremely embarrassed during her last OD episode, tough, rough and full of spunk- always looking for ways to cheat the system and of course, have sex
Taystee- actually was released from prison but did something purposely to get herself back in because she has no place to go on the 'outside.'  Best friend of Poussey.
Taystee- actually was released from prison but did something purposely to get herself back in because she has no place to go on the 'outside.' Best friend of Poussey.
Pennsatucky- red neck reborn Christian in prison for shooting a woman at an Abortion Clinic- even though she had seven abortions- leader of the meth heads
Pennsatucky- red neck reborn Christian in prison for shooting a woman at an Abortion Clinic- even though she had seven abortions- leader of the meth heads

Other Characters

Aside from the characters mentioned above, there are several other recurring characters that help with the stories. In season two, a lady named 'Vee' comes to the prison and tries to control the minds of the black ladies and causes turmoil. There are regular junkies who engage in the shenanigans with Pennsatucky's church revival meetings. Several other guards are featured.

The beautiful part about Orange is the New Black is that every character becomes real. If you've ever seen 'Lost,' you know that the show flashes back to scenes that show the people on the island in their real lives, so you get a sense of who they were before the island. Orange is the New Black does the same thing. It flashes back to the prisoners' regular lives where we see how they lived and what led them into prison. The show also flashes back to the lives of the guards and shows what they do in their personal time.

I have two favourite 'flash backs' or story lines. The first is about Crazy Eyes. She's absolutely nuts, but she was adopted by a rich affluent white family when she was young. Despite her parents' greatest efforts, Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' just doesn't ever fit in. She's not invited to the other girls' birthday parties and she always makes scenes even though she doesn't mean to. Now, as a result of her privileged upbringing, she has a fairly articulate vocabulary among her crazy episodes- she's truly a remarkable and original character and I love watching her.

I also really liked the flashbacks, not in a good way, but in an empathetic way- of Nicky and her mother. Nicky was always a rebel and she was very much ignored by her mother growing up. She was raised by her nanny and had no attention. Those scenes are so touching and so real- and heart breaking. I find them beautiful.

Fan or Not?

Are You A Fan Of Orange Is The New Black?

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My Favourite Recurring Cast Member- Sophia (Laverne Cox)

Lavern Cox was the first transgender person to ever appear on the cover of TIME magazine.  She is a wonderful actress, and in Orange Is The New Black she is the hair stylist and has a wonderful storyline- as she makes amends with her confused son
Lavern Cox was the first transgender person to ever appear on the cover of TIME magazine. She is a wonderful actress, and in Orange Is The New Black she is the hair stylist and has a wonderful storyline- as she makes amends with her confused son

Binge Watching

Netflix has become the place to go for binge watchers (like me), and they continue to release Emmy winning shows that are critically acclaimed, bold, different and addictive. I would recommend paying the $7.99 per month for Netflix and watching all three seasons, which are 13 episodes long, in one sitting. I know, that's probably impossible- however it will be something to look forward to before and after work, and in the wee hours of the night!

You will never be sorry for enriching your life with 'Orange Is The New Black' and any of the other Netflix original series. Ok, well maybe 'enriching' is a little strong. However, it's wonderful, cheap entertainment that gives you plenty to think about and.. talk about with friends.

Incidentally, I have read the book and watched every episode, and the book is sort of like the show but the show takes things much deeper. The show takes the characters that Piper originally met and expound on them further- they do not lack in depth. The show is brilliant because it takes a little and creates a lot- and it depicts what prison for women must be like. It's not a place that I would do well in.

Orange is the New Black is the hippest show on TV and the third season just came out! It's dark and comedic, and I guess it would be categorized as a 'dark comedy' but it's much more than that. It's gritty, feeling, loving and hateful, spiteful and beautiful, funny and terrifying, hilarious and terribly sad. It's every emotion that a human can feel, all in one show. Get caught up, watch, and enjoy as much as I do. Everyone is talking about it for a reason!

Orange Is The New Black Official Season 3 Trailer

Sources

Wikipedia

Orange Is The New Black- NETFLIX

<iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kdht_LMDQv8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> (YOUTUBE)

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