Back in 2013 Netflix launched it own series called ‘Orange is the New Black’ which follows the character Piper, a very normal woman going to prison. She has a year’s sentence for carrying drug money across country. Piper is not the main character but more the glue that keeps the show together. She very clearly stands out from the rest of the women in prison. The programme introduces you to the backgrounds of the inmates and why they are the way they are and what lead them to prison.
So what is this blog about then? Well, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and me have only just found each other. I ignored it when I heard good things about it. I still wasn’t that convinced that it would really be that good. A series about prison? How far can this go? How wrong I was….. So this year for the 3rd series Netflix surprised all viewers by airing all 13 episodes in one go. My social media for the next few days was just full of ‘Orange is the New Black’. It would seem like I was missing out. Which lead me to watching. I won’t say how quickly I got through the first 2 series but safe to say I was late for quite a few things. But I am being strong and slowly making my way through the third series. I was pleasantly surprised by the show. Of course it is hilarious and enjoyable to watch but there is a different layer to it.
This is actually quite a complex show. Not in the sense that storylines are overly complicated and you have to think about what is going to happen, but in the sense that these are “bad” people who you shouldn’t really like. However, it’s the “good” people who work for the prison who are in some situations which are less trustworthy and more corrupt than the ones which the prisoners find themselves in. Of course the prisoners are corrupt and have a dark quality that lead them to be there, but all them have more than one story. You begin to feel comforted and feel love for your favourite characters and actually forget the fact they are in prison. This leads to questioning yourself if they are really that bad.
So it wouldn’t be a blog post about a series without talking about a favourite storyline within the show. Mine involves the character Jimmy Cavanaugh in the second series. When she first appears in the episode “Looks Blue, Tastes Red” she seems like just your average funny older lady in her late 70’s, she is nothing too scary and a pretty harmless character. It slowly develops and her behaviour seems strange. She is searching for the love of her life, Jack. It becomes clear she is suffering from dementia and seriously struggling. Her two friends try to hide what is happening so the officers don’t intervene in the situation. At this time Piper finds out her grandma is dying. After hearing this she sees Jimmy and begins to look after her, comfort her and just generally care for her. It’s Piper’s way of dealing with not being able to say goodbye to her grandma. The scene in which these acts of kindness happen are only short, but still endearing. They are actually pretty powerful and indicate the different levels the show will take and the different emotions they want viewers to feel. The storyline sadly results in them letting Jimmy out for early compassionate release which actually means effectively dumping her on the side of the road.
So not just a show about women in prison then. There is a bit more to it.