Review: Orange is the New Black


I was excited to see if this show lived up to the expectations set by the dramatic teasers shown during several commercial breaks. It did. Orange Is the New Black features lots of graphic situations, but somehow it is genuinely hilarious, and thoroughly entertaining.

Based on the memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison written by Piper Kerman, which is a tell-all of her personal experiences while imprisoned. Paired with the creator of Weeds Jenji Kohan, this show definitely delivers.

The show follows Piper Chapman, who has to serve a 15 month sentence at a women’s federal prison. After being convicted, she was loosely connected to a drug smuggling investigation which she was involved in once ten years ago. Piper must gets used to being on lockdown, dealing with a lot of uncomfortable situations and getting to know her other inmates for better or for worse.

The show isn’t just about her being in prison and dealing with typical prison situations, but it focuses on her relationships with her inmates, the long distance relationship with her fiancé, and dealing with the skeletons in her closet.

Throughout the season she learns how to stay alive in prison and who to suck up to. This is the moment when she begins accumulating a whole new set of friends, and even losing ones from outside the prison. It is very difficult to maintain a relationship with many of her friends and family while in prison. She quickly discovers that she must be strong-willed, which she was not when she ended up in prison.

The show is appealing because it doesn’t magnify the typical prison stereotypes, but it focuses on each inmates backstory. The casting was perfect for the show, because each character adds a new layer and personality to the plot. You soon find out who she should trust and who she should plot against.

Her relationships in and outside the prison change dramatically over time. Now she must focus on simply surviving in the midst of: her ex-girlfriend being an inmate at the SAME prison, being hit on by “crazy eyes”, having to impress the kitchen manager to stay healthy, and keeping a strong connection with her fiancé. She is forced to interact with a yoga instructor, a variety of lesbians, a nun, a trans woman, a crazy religious ex-drug addict, and an ex-girlfriend, who may or may not have turned her in.

Meanwhile, the show touches on the popular idea of corrupt correction officers, pregnant inmates, the smuggling of drugs and owning up to the wrong things they’ve done. You realize that she begins to evolve from the I-don’t-belong-in-here attitude, to the I-messed-up-and-that’s-why-I’m-here attitude.

Each character is just as important as the next, which makes this show a hit.

Acceptance, denial, desperation, friendship, and hate play a huge role in this show. It leaves you clicking the “next episode” button until you look up and realize that you have watched the entire first season within 48 hours.

There is no doubt in my mind that you will fall in love with this show, so you should just watch it. Like right now.

Watch this season one trailer:

Update: Season 2 is set to premiere this summer on Friday, June 6th.

Here is a teaser for that (You’re welcome!) :