Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Orange is the New Black


It got great reviews, so we decided to give it a try, though I admit I was dubious. Premise: A former debutante yuppie gets sentenced to fifteen months in federal prison for a crime she committed ten years before, during her wild youth. I figured this would be a Private Benjamin comedy, with the clueless rich girl complaining because no one left a mint on her pillow. But it’s not. There’s a lot of funny stuff, but Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is quite aware that this is going to be a tough challenge. She has even read books about prison, trying to prepare. All that really gets her is a laugh from her fellow inmates. It soon becomes clear that she really doesn’t understand the twisted logic of inmate culture, and that she had better learn it fast, or she’s going to be in deep trouble.

And in fact she repeatedly does get into trouble, or we wouldn’t have a lot of stuff to watch, would we? But she tries hard. Right up front someone says “This ain’t ‘Oz,’ honey,” referring to the really brutal HBO series set in a men’s prison. And it’s not. But it’s grim enough. There’s the racial lines that must be observed. There is the Nazi bitch who runs the kitchen. There are lesbians all over the place, some of them quite insistent.

We are now (4/25/14) six episodes in, and it still has us hooked. More to come when we finish the first season, but I suspect we will be aboard for Season Two when Netflix airs it.