Hi everybody and welcome back to Common Culture! The school year is winding down and I know we’re all running out of steam. My advice for beating the end of school blues is as follows: 1. Spend a lot of time working on schoolwork. 2. Spend an equal amount of time not working on schoolwork. Half and half it; it’s always worked for me. And if you’re in need of a way to fill your lazy half, I’ve got your back with this blog post, which will detail one of my favorite procrastination materials: “Orange is the New Black.” I watched the show last year and haven’t been able to get it off my mind. Luckily, the trailer for Season 2 has finally been released (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e99SkdcB2UU) and the show is looking at a season premiere on June 6.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to finish this blog, then move on to Netflix to watch the show, and then to Google to read as many OitNB posts you can find. This show is a must see for anybody. It follows Piper, a woman who goes to jail after assisting her ex-girlfriend Alex in a drug-smuggling attempt. We watch Piper try to navigate prison and met all of her diverse inmate pals along the way. It is hilarious, emotional and so, so good. A little heads up—this show does feature quite a bit of crude language and material, so beware. Don’t watch it with little ones or your parents. Please. Just don’t do it.
As an attempt to convince those of you who haven’t been wise enough to watch the show already, here are my ten reasons why you need to go fire up Netflix and start catching up immediately.
1. 1. The cast is very diverse. This show has such a wonderful mix of characters. It’s almost entirely made up of women, which is so lovely to see! In a world where women roles are mostly reduced to two-dimensional love interests or a hot toss-in, covered in leather for the sole purpose of pleasing men, OitNB does a wonderful job of utilizing as many women as they can, while making them all fully fleshed out people with their own wants and dreams and desires! On top of this, there are so many different races, gender identities and orientations, ages, religions and personal backgrounds represented with these characters. It’s such a melting pot of people—almost like real life! Weird! I love seeing the differences in these people being celebrated and acknowledged.
2. 2. It’s an interesting look into the lives of inmates. I’ve heard people serving sentences in jail being referred to as “the scum of the earth,” “those pedophiles and perverts” and the like far too many times. The unfortunate truth is, yes, those people do exist in jail, but other stories also must be told. OitNB doesn’t reduce all of its characters to “bad people.” It asks us to see them as human beings and question why they did what they did, and what brought them to where they are. So many of these characters are people we grow to love and understand and empathize with. I love that OitNB doesn’t take the standard perspective on these jailed women but wants us to ask ourselves what we would do in their shoes. We’re all human after all, right?
3. 3. Laura Prepon. My personal favorite point on this list. You may remember Laura Prepon as sweet Donna on “That 70’s Show,” but Donna is not who you will meet if you tune into OitNB. Instead, you’ll be introduced to Alex, a rockabilly chick with an interest in drug smuggling. She’s serving out a prison sentence with her ex-girlfriend, Piper, and… well, let’s just say, they aren’t “exes” for very long. Alex is my absolute favorite character on this show. Laura Prepon is badass, hilarious and so great in her role.
4. 4. Laura Prepon’s eyebrows. They’re so well shaped.
5. 5. Laura Prepon’s glasses. They’re very hip.
6. 6. Laura Prepon’s voice. It’s sort of gravelly. Very nice.
7. 7. Laura Prepon’s face. This one’s self-explanatory.
Need I go on? I think I’ve got my point across.
8. 8. The show is hilarious. I cannot even count the number of times I have cracked up laughing, watching this show. Highlights include Crazy Eyes’s line, “I threw my pie for you!” Or maybe her peeing on the floor in front of Piper’s bed. Or Taystee and Poussey’s banter. Or Red wanting to eat the strongest chicken and absorb its power. This show is full of one-liners that will have tears soaking your laptop, I promise you.
9. 9. The show is emotional. On the other side of the spectrum, this show will break your heart. You will begin to care about all of these characters and then you will watch them get squashed under corrupt prison practices, societal pressures, or just the ghosts of their past decisions. The odds are against these women and watching them try, over and over, to beat them and rise up is moving and poignant.
10 10. The show is addicting. Need a break from studying? Need something new to love? Need a way to spend a day? I promise you, once you start this show, you won’t be able to stop. We all need some “me” time every once and awhile, and if you’re the type of person who loves to binge watch TV shows, this is the show for you.
Season 1 is up on Netflix now, and Season 2 will be out June 6. I encourage you all to watch! You won’t be disappointed!