Sunday, 15 June 2014

Orange is the New Black, Season 1: A Discussion

*The following text contains spoilers for the first season of Orange is the New Black*

I finally started watching Orange is the New Black the other day, and let me tell you - I'm hooked! I wanted to talk a bit about some of the characters, so feel free to leave me messages in the comments section!

The series is about Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling, who looks so much like Katy Perry, my god.), who is doing time for a crime she committed ten years ago; she transported money for her then-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon), who was a drug dealer.

I really like Piper. I think she's a pretty well-rounded character who is likeable, but certainly has a lot of flaws. Although I can't relate to being in prison, I empathize with her in her struggle to learn the ins and outs of prison, and how to survive in there. She makes a lot of mistakes at first, including insulting Red (Kate Mulgrew), which doesn't bode well for her stomach. But as she gets some help from the other inmates, I feel like she adapts pretty quickly, although she never gets used to being there.

Piper also makes a lot of bad decisions for her personal life outside of prison, especially with regards to cheating on her fiance Larry (Jason Biggs). She really messed things up with him by sleeping with Alex. Which, given what we know about Alex (specifically, that she named Piper), will probably come back to bite her in season 2. I'm glad that she stood up to Tiffany (Taryn Manning), although their fight was quite violent in the finale.

In some ways I like Alex, but I'm also very aware that she's the type of person that craves adventure - she doesn't have specific plans and goals, she takes life as it comes, and is ultimately self-serving. She betrayed Piper before by naming her and she could very well do it again, so I think it's probably best that they broke up.

I really love Daya (Dascha Polanco) and John (Matt McGorry), individually and as a couple. They're both so sweet and they clearly love each other - I'm happy they're together and I hope things work out between them. Daya being pregnant is a tough situation for them both; it's obviously bad timing and it sucks that basically the only option that kept them both out of trouble was for Daya to sleep with and frame Mendez (Pablo Schreiber) - he's such a slime ball. It's really upsetting that his only punishment was suspension without pay - for all his superiors know, he raped Daya. It's so messed up that he didn't get fired and/or charged.

Susanne "Crazy Eyes" (Uzo Aduba)  is at first the character that everybody laughs at for being strange, but when we actually get to know her, yes she's weird, but she's also very sweet. It kind of broke my heart when she asked Piper why everyone always calls her "Crazy Eyes". It really reminds me why we shouldn't be mean to/about people we don't understand.

Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) is probably one of my favourite characters, and not just because we share a name. As I've said before, I tend to like the characters who provide comic relief, and Nicky does that pretty often. I find her funny because of all the snark she gives. She doesn't hold back her opinions - people don't always want to hear them, but they're always accurate and said funnily. She's also always there if someone needs a shoulder to cry on, which I think people really appreciate - and it always ends well for her, if you know what I mean.

Taystee's (Danielle Brooks) storyline was plotted really well. I like that they talked about how difficult it is to get your life going once you've got your freedom. Most people are excited to get out of prison, but hardly anyone talks about what it's actually like on the outside after prison.

Sophia's (Laverne Cox) character is so important, especially in this day and age when we don't have a whole lot of representation of transgender women. Her storyline was really moving and sad, but also hopeful. Although I can't even begin to imagine how she feels or how her home life is affecting her, I'm glad to have a little perspective into what transgender people experience. As a character, I think Sophia is so sweet and yet she can also be quite sassy which, as I mentioned above, I really love in a character.

Tricia's (Madeline Brewer) storyline was emotional. She was a sweet kid who was dealt a bad hand. She got into drugs at a young age and it obviously didn't help that she was living on the streets. It was really sweet that although she stole a lot of things, she kept track, always intending to pay her debts. It makes me sad that she never got a chance to do that. Even in prison, Tricia remained hopeful and had she not been around stupid Mendez, eventually she might have been able to do as she intended. I hope that jerk gets what's coming to him.

Tiffany is incredibly irritating, and every time she comes onscreen all high and mighty, I want some to take her down a notch - and I'm pretty sure everyone around her feels the same way.  Her back story was interesting because we learn that she's had five abortions, but calls herself "Defender of the Unborn", a title mistakenly given to her when she shoots the Abortion Clinic nurse who disrespects her. She's living a lie - whether or not she believes what she's spewing is questionable.

I'm really looking forward to learning more about the characters' back stories in season 2, including the ones we haven't learned much about yet.

Have you seen Orange is the New Black? Share your thoughts on the show in the comments below.

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