Orange Is the New Black, Season 2: An Excuse to Sit On Your Couch for 12 Hours Straight!

5 Jun

OINB2

Last summer, I started hearing a lot of chatter about some show called Orange Is the New Blackairing on Netflix. Here were my initial thoughts, in this order:

1. Is it about fashion? That sounds fun.

2. If it’s not about fashion, it’s probably a violent drama and I already hate it.

3. But if I like it, it’s on Netflix, which means that I can watch the episodes at any pace that I want, which is so appealing.

4. If so many people like it, it’s probably very good, therefore I will probably not like it. I am quite contrary, and I have questionable taste.

5. I’m hungry. I want a hoagie.

Then I probably went and ate a hoagie. Man, that sounds so good right now. What were we talking about?

After a month or so, I just got so sick of hearing about how it’s so well done, blah blah blah, that I decided to take a huge leap and give it a try. Dan was in pure shock. I usually ask him if he wants to watch a good show, followed by “…on the computer with headphones so I can watch the new episode of Good Luck Charlie?” (Side note: if you don’t know what Good Luck Charlie is, it is on the Disney Channel and you are missing out. The last season just ended, but that does not mean that you can’t start watching. It’s also on Netflix. Even Steve Carrell thinks that it’s great). But this time I meant that we watch the same show together, at the same time, that is not on a channel meant for children. This is a grown-up show! The premise is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, who spent a year in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking, 10 + years after she committed the crimes. Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman (Her name is Piper like the author’s name! Get it?!), a woman who much earlier in her life was in a relationship with a drug dealer, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon). Piper assisted Alex, and many years later was sent to prison for her part in the drug trafficking. That’s when shit gets CRAY-ZAY!

After Dan picked himself up off of the floor, we started episode 1. Luckily, the first episode, while not mind blowing, was quite good. (SPOILER ALERTS A-PLENTY, FROM HERE ON OUT). The audience gets eased into the first episode by spending a lot of time getting to know Piper’s current upper middle class life with her fiance (Larry, played by Jason Biggs). The first 20 minutes or so involves watching Piper come to terms with the year ahead, and saying her goodbyes to close friends. Once she gets to prison, there are a number of flashbacks to reveal the story of how Piper went from living a picturesque life in New York City to sharing a cell with three other women in a minimum security prison. And the big kerplunk at the end of the episode is this – her former girlfriend, Alex, is in the same prison! Ruh-roh!!!

Alex Vause

As episodes go by, we slowly get to meet the other prisoners, and are left wondering what their stories are. I think the most brilliant part about this show is how they sneak in occasional flashbacks, just when we need them, in order to learn more about each character. It gives the women depth, and a deeper understanding of where they are coming from, which almost always makes the viewer root for them.

Since all of Season 2 will be on Netflix TOMORROW (!!), I thought it would be a good idea to do a little review. So here’s a quick rundown of where we left off:

Piper Chapman

Piper

Last we left Piper, she was beating the shit out of Pennsatucky after Pennsatucky tried to kill her with a shiv made out of a wooden cross. If I had a dime for every time I’ve been in this situation…

Pennsatucky is the one with the handmade cross shiv. Piper is the one not holding a handmade shiv.

Pennsatucky is the one with the handmade cross shiv.

I’m assuming that since the real-life Piper only served 12 months, that they needed to do something to keep the fictional Piper in jail, at least for another season. I don’t think they’ll kill off Pennsatucky, so I’m guessing she’ll be very badly hurt and will get her revenge by Season 3.

I go back and forth with Piper – sometimes I really respect her prison decisions and think, “If I were in prison, I would hope that I could make a healing lotion out of random items at the prison store and then give it to the lunch lady so she doesn’t hate me anymore.” But sometimes I’m like, “Girlfriend. Stop being an idiot. Don’t turn in the unstable one for hiding a cell phone. Don’t tell everyone that you read a book about life in prison. Don’t be dumb and carry a screwdriver out into the yard. Just let the crazy Christian baptize you. Don’t yell at Healy while you’re in SHU.” So, I’m torn.

Piper Stupid

Alex Vause

Alex Vause

As I mentioned, Alex and Piper had been in a relationship over 10 years ago, and this is the first they’ve seen of each other since then. There is obviously still love and affection between them, and a large part of the show is watching them navigate the emotions that they still have towards one another, this many years later. Piper thought she had the perfect life with Larry, but being around Alex has made her question that. Despite her lingering feelings, Piper chose Larry and Alex decided that she wouldn’t be the person that Piper runs to anymore. And then Alex got with Nicky (Natasha Lyonne, whom I love), to make Piper feel the burn.

Nicky

Being in love in prison seems kind of ideal, if you think about it. You get to live together, without paying rent (the taxpayers gotcha covered, girl!), or worrying about who is going to clean what (those tasks are assigned). You get to have sex whenever you want, just as long as no one is in the chapel, which is where you sneak off to for intercourse. If you get in a fight, an officer will most likely solve it for you by yelling at your partner and putting her in solitary confinement. It’s perfect!

Alex is another character that I’m torn about. I used to be OBSESSED with That 70’s Show, so I say this with love: I don’t think that Laura Prepon is a very good actress. Sorry, Secret Society of Scientologists that are probably listing my name in some sort of Burn Book right now. I do think for not being that great, she is a convincing lesbian prisoner type. I think she’s super hot, due to the hipster glasses, and although I would NEVER see Alex and Piper as a couple, I guess that’s why their dynamic makes sense. It was clearly a relationship based on lust and infatuation that drew these two people, with completely different lifestyles, together. Rumors are flying that Laura Prepon won’t be returning for the second season, but I don’t know who to believe. I think the Piper/Alex relationship is pretty critical, so I can’t imagine what the writers will do without her. Maybe Mila Kunis is free, after she’s done giving birth to baby Kutcher? Now, that would be HOT.

Red

Red

Red (Kate Mulgrew, who I could not place for the first 10 episodes) is kind of the prison mom, if you will. The kind of mom who tries to starve you if you don’t like her food by only serving you dirty tampon sandwiches, but a mom, nonetheless. When we ended, Red had been framed for smuggling drugs into the kitchen, which she was in charge of, even though we all  know it was that horrible Mendez. Ooh, he gets me so riled up.

It irks me that Mendez is quite handsome in real life.

It irks me that Mendez is quite handsome in real life.

Red was angry that the Hispanics are now running the kitchen (it’s not racist to say “the Hispanics” in this context because they all group off in prison, and that is how they refer to one another. But it always sounds racist when you have to say that something isn’t racist, so I should just stop talking), so she rigged the oven to explode, in order to get them fired. Her plan backfired (do you see what I did there???) and now the Hispanics are starving her. Again, that last sentence is okay.

Miss Claudette

Miss Claudette

Miss Claudette is Piper’s roommate. She has been in prison for so long that she is allowed to make soup in her cube, and to tell everyone what to do. She appears very cold and stern and awful at first, but she warms up to Piper after a while, and you learn that she went to prison for killing a man that violently raped one of her young employees. When we left off, Miss Claudette was refused parole, and out of anger, attacked a guard. Oh guys, it’s so sad. Miss Claudette was in love with a man and he said that he’d take her to a nice restaurant when she got out and then the parole board said no! I know she was angry, but doesn’t she know she can get in trouble for attacking the guard? Choking someone to death in prison (or out of prison, really) is never the way to go, ladies and gentlemen. Just count to 10 and walk away.

In real life, Michelle Hurst, the actress who plays Miss Claudette, was in a terrible car accident last fall, and put in an induced coma for 16 days. I don’t know if she was able to film the second season, which is obviously the least important thing about this event, but it makes me sad, nonetheless.

Suzanne “Crazy Eyes”

Crazy Eyes

Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), called that because of her crazy eyes, is my favorite character. She brings the humor and the heart to the show, just when it needs it. And, of course, the crazy. Suzanne decides, very early on, that Piper is her wife, and she lovingly refers to her as “dandelion.” Piper doesn’t know how to break up with Crazy Eyes, but eventually she just tells her it is not going to happen. So Crazy Eyes does what any sane person who’s been broken up with would do – she pisses all over the floor of Piper’s room, in the night. That’s about as dark as it gets, though – Suzanne just longs to be a dramatic actress, and to find true love. She also has adopted white parents, that she acts completely different around when they come for visits, which are some of my favorite scenes. When we left off, Suzanne confronted Piper about Larry’s revealing radio interview, where he shared all of Piper’s thoughts about the inmates, and told her she was just plain mean. It was such a good moment, because you would never expect this “crazy” character to be able to affect Piper so deeply.

Crazy Eyes Pie

I love her. I really do. I hope she never gets parole.

Dayanara Diaz

I have a good idea. I'll get you pregnant in prison!

I have a good idea. I’ll get you pregnant in prison!

As you might recall, Diaz (Dascha Polanco) is pregnant with Bennett, the prison guard’s, baby. She tried to set up Mendez, so that the prison would think he is the father, and then they’d fire him. He would be gone and Bennett would be off the hook. Win win. Wrong, Diaz! Wrong! Now Mendez is in love with her, Bennett is mad at her, and she’s going to get stretch marks. Here are the two things I don’t get about this situation: having unprotected sex with an inmate, and Bennett not quitting and finding a different place to work. I mean, it doesn’t seem very nice there. Isn’t there a Starbucks hiring close by? They have very nice benefits AND unlimited pumpkin spice lattes! But he probably doesn’t want to leave Diaz, who he is in love with. I get that – sometimes I think I should throw away the Doritos before I eat the entire bag, but I love them too much.

Larry

Larry

Larry (Jason Biggs) finds out that Piper and Alex have been sleeping together in prison, which makes him mad, seeing as they are engaged. He goes to confront Alex, who reminds him that Piper is crazy and that everything is her fault, and then he decides to break up with Piper. Piper breaks up with Alex BEFORE knowing this, and then she is super duper sad because Alex has already told her to f-off (that’s short for fuck off, not foff, with an accidental dash. I don’t even know what ‘foff’ means). I guess this is sad, but Piper clearly likes Alex more and she had zero chemistry with Larry to begin with. I don’t know if Natasha Lyonne just owed Jason Biggs a favor from the American Pie days, or something, but it is a mystery to me how he got cast in this role. I actually like Jason Biggs, and his character, but I don’t like Larry and Piper together. They don’t make any sense. But maybe that’s the point? This is getting way existential right now.

That is the real-life Larry on the left. I guess I get it now.

That is the real-life Larry on the left. I guess I get it now.

And that is where we left off, folks. Now go pee, grab a bottle of wine, maybe a nice Manchego cheese with a complementary sturdy cracker, and make yourself comfy for the Season 2 marathon.

Crazy Eyes 2

 

2 Responses to “Orange Is the New Black, Season 2: An Excuse to Sit On Your Couch for 12 Hours Straight!”

  1. mthep June 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    well now i want a davanni’s turkey hoagie and a day off tomorrow. and i get neither! it’s basically like i’m prison.

    • Alex June 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

      That’s like the worst kind of prison imaginable! No Davanni’s?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: