When I was young, I remember telling people that my favorite color was orange, only because no one else ever said that color and I wanted to be different. Well, this was a prophetic move because orange has become my new obsession in the last few days.
I am in love with Netflix’s new streaming series, “Orange is the New Black.” The story of a good girl gone bad (years before), “Orange” follows Piper, a privileged “Connecticut WASP” as she navigates inside a Litchfield, NY women’s prison. I won’t spoil how she ends up there, but it’s safe to say Piper is pretty out of place among her new cohabitants. The show stars the adorable, terrific actress Taylor Schilling (“The Lucky One), who pretty much had me at “hello.” She is cute, likable and extremely relatable. Piper’s fiance, Larry, is played by American Pie’s Jason Biggs, who is perfectly cast and excellent in the role (this show happens to be a bit of an American Pie reunion). This two-some was so instantly believable as a newly-engaged couple that they had me tearing up within the first half hour, as Piper said goodbye to her lovable “Jew-boy.” Schilling and Biggs have amazing chemistry and I was as sad for Larry to drop Piper off at jail as he was to do it. After binge-watching the first 6 episodes over the weekend, it is highly fascinating to see the way the distance and the weight of Piper’s experiences are affecting their relationship. It’s clear that her new surroundings are changing her emotional and mental well-being and this show leaves me thinking long after each episode ends….How difficult it would be to hold on to their relationship, to keep their incredibly tight bond despite being physically apart and having such separate new identities.
What also makes this show so good is the enormous cast of superb featured actresses portraying the smorgasbord of eccentric, interesting, passionate, wonderfully weird inmates that Piper crosses paths with. This cast is a who’s-who of actresses you’ll recognize from somewhere or another. Are you a working character actress? Are you considered strange-looking or “butch?” You may have found your next role. Part of what brings such life to the characters and strengthens the fondness you feel for them are the sporadic flashbacks portraying their lives before prison. These scattered segments also help the viewers to get to know and love Piper as well. My favorite supporting actresses/characters include Natasha Lyonne’s (“American Pie”) outgoing, brash Nicky, Laura Prepon (“That 70’s Show) as contemplative, manipulative Alex, and the gorgeous Laverne Cox as smart, strong Sophia.
When introduced to the captivating and lovely Sophia, you will notice that she is a transgendered male-to-female. Her heartbreaking backstory had me thinking about the trials of being dealt that difficult hand in life and I truly hope Ms. Cox’s performance is recognized this year. The transformations of some of these actresses is mind-boggling. Taryn Manning (“8 Mile,” “Hustle & Flow”), who I think is beautiful, looks completely whacked out as a Jesus-loving hillbilly. The same way some characters have you feeling empathy, other characters will have you laughing out loud. I’m talking about you, Crazy Eyes and comedy duo Jefferson and Poussey, who’s actresses knock these small supporting roles out of the park. This cast of spectacular women will blow you away and have you laughing, crying, thinking, and pining for the next episode. Thanks to Netflix streaming the show’s first season in its entirety, you can get your fill as quickly as you so choose.
The show was created by Jenji Kohan, the creator of “Weeds” and was adapted from the memoir by Piper Kerman. Anyone who has seen “Weeds” knows Ms. Kohan knows expertly how to show a woman who’s screwed up and how it affects her relationships. If you have Netflix streaming, begin watching this show today. This show’s appeal crosses genders, as my boyfriend/amazing roomie Craig is as into it as I am. I can not wait to learn more about these fascinating characters and see where Ms. Piper’s prison experience leads her.
“Orange is the New Black”
Now streaming in full on Netflix