You haven’t watched Orange Is The New Black yet?! I know you totally have Netflix. Or someone who will let you hack into their Netflix. And, uh, if you don’t here’s a link to a one-month free trial. So no excuses.
I’m here to tell you it’s going to happen. You’re going to give in and spend twelve-odd hours with the ladies of OITNB. In all likelihood you’ll lose control, forego sleep and all other leisure activities and tear through all the episodes in about a week.
And it’s totally worth it.
If you don’t believe me, here are five compelling reasons why -
One - The best TV isn’t predictable, but it certainly doesn’t have to be devastating. All too often, shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones use shock and awe techniques, suddenly killing off main characters in the interest of being ‘unpredictable’ and ‘edgy’. Don’t get me wrong, I adore WD and GoT, but OITNB surprises in small and often delightful ways. I won’t give anything away, but the way in which the main character Piper deals with her first prison conflict totally sold me on the show. I had very little idea of what Piper was aiming for as she solicited various items throughout the second episode. When the reveal finally occurred I felt a tiny bulb of happiness light up in my heart. OITNB is chock full of these unexpected moments.
Two – Kate Freaking Mulgrew. This woman is a bad ass. It’s damn near impossible to choose a favorite character on this show, but Mulgrew’s portrayal of the sharp and tough Russian prison momma ‘Red’ wins my vote. Her performance is so compelling that I was six or seven episodes deep before I realized that Red used to be the Captain on Star Trek Voyager in the 90's.
The Borg have got nothin’ on either of these ladies. Although I'm not too sure how the one on the left would do in prison….
Three – It’s a show that is tackling daringly original topics. Maybe the topic of untreated mental health issues leading to a life of criminal activity isn't a fresh idea, but the OITNB writers present it from a different angle. The character Crazy Eyes (Suzanne) is initially portrayed as an 'insane' person, but the show shrewdly and gradually reveals glimpses of her world that suggest a life of tortured genius. In addition, it's definitely the first time I have ever seen the story of a transgendered male to female. Especially a story addressing all the struggle and sacrifice that transformation entails. I watch a lot of TV, and the majority of this show feels new and relevant.
Four – Feel something. I cried all sorts of tears – sadness, joy, laughter - and enjoyed every minute as I snuffled my way through a box of tissues. Even if you’re not prone to emotional eye leakage like me, I guarantee the show will make you feel feelings of all sorts. And you’ll hate when it’s over, and kind of want to move into a prison. What? Not really….well…maybe…..
Five – Binge watching. I LOVE binge watching. This show begs to be binge watched. All the episodes are there. Waiting. To be viewed in a row. That means absolutely no commercials, no overproduced ‘Next Week On…’ teasers, and no manipulative cliffhangers. Because the next episode is actually next. And they’re all just a click away.
So what are you still waiting for?