Getting Ready for Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black (Photo: Netflix)
Orange is the New Black (Photo: Netflix)

The WEIO Team is gearing up for the return of Orange is the New Black. Mike shares what he loved about season 1 and what he would love to see in season 2.

In case you haven’t heard, Orange is the New Black drops its second season on Netflix on Friday. As we get ready to rejoin the women of Litchfield, the WEIO team who will be covering the show wanted to offer some perspective on what we are looking forward to when the new season begins. All three of us—me, Mooch, and our newest writer Ryan Brazell—are approaching the show from quite different perspectives, so we hope this will be a good conversation.

As we were planning our coverage for the series, I started keeping track of how much of the first season I could recall without prompting. Although I could not provide a chronology or match stories and events to a specific episode, I found myself remembering many of the character names and backstories—way more than I would have expected. Considering Wikipedia’s list has over 50 characters, being able to identify at least half on sight or with a vague hint is quite an accomplishment. I’m certain the storytelling style of the first season is the biggest contributor to overcoming my unimpressive memory.

However, My biggest concern with how the second season of OITNB will play out has to do with the storytelling. The throughlines for season one did not leave much of an impression on me, mostly because almost all of them involved Piper. Yes, she’s our entry point into this world, but her struggle—even against Pennsatucky—has the lowest stakes of just about every other inmate. Maybe since the show is her story, I don’t care about Piper’s backstory the way I do with Sophia or Red or Taystee or Yoga Jones. I don’t recall how far into Piper’s 18-month stint we got in season one, but if she finishes out her sentence and is written out of the series, I wouldn’t complain.

But with so many of the OITNB supporting characters having already revealed their backstories, I’m curious to see if that storytelling method will be employed in the upcoming season. I would like to think it would—these characters are not defined by a single vignette. My concern is that we might be introduced to a dozen more new characters entering the prison, overwhelming what is already an overtaxed system.1 The first season proceeded with confidence, so I hope the writers are able to continue on that trajectory. But this is the team that was behind Weeds

Tomorrow: Ryan weighs in on his experience with Orange is the New Black and his hopes and dreams for season two.

  1. My brain. OH! I see what they did there.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv