Wednesday, 14 May 2014

We've Been Procrastinating With: Orange is the New Black

‘Orange is the New Black’ is a Netflix original comedy-drama series first released in July 2013 and based on Piper Kerman’s memoir ‘Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison’. It focuses on the main character, the upper-middle class New Yorker Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), and her time in a women’s prison for transporting money from smuggled drugs 10 years earlier. The series has recently received an award for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards and the brilliance of the cast was also recognised at the 2014 Satellite Awards.

Alongside Taylor Schilling, ‘Orange is the New Black’ also stars Jason Biggs as Piper’s fiancé, Larry, and Natasha Lyonne (both from the ‘American Pie’ series) and Laura Prepon (‘That ‘70s Show’) as Piper’s ex-girlfriend, Alex, who is serving time in the same prison for drug-smuggling.

What really stands out in ‘Orange is the New Black’ is the mixture of personalities amongst the characters. Each episode has a main storyline focussing on Piper’s attempts to adjust to life in prison and the (slightly predictable) love-triangle between herself, her fiancé and her ex-girlfriend, however each episode also has flashbacks which allow the watcher to piece together the individual histories of the other women in prison, and which are also used as a comparison with Piper’s privileged life before entering prison.

‘Orange is the New Black’ is worth checking out for the opening credits alone if the idea of a prison comedy-drama doesn’t appeal to you. They feature Regina Spektor’s song ‘You’ve Got Time’, which is incredibly catchy!

As someone who is fascinated by prisons and is studying Criminology, I binge-watched all 13 episodes of the first season in less than a week and can definitely recommend that you do so too, especially if you’re looking for a way to avoid the revision/coursework drama typical of this time of year. If the first season just isn’t enough, ‘Orange is the New Black’ returns to Netflix with a second season on June 6th.

Words by Hannah Barnett

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