Maybe OITNB Will Become More Like The Blacklist

Orange Is The New Black (Photo:

Ladder dances would be a *huge* boost to Orange Is The New Black’s watchability, no? Mooch thinks so. (Of course he does…)

Oh man did things get interesting at the end of last season of Orange Is The New Black. No, not Larry breaking up with Piper. No, not Pennsatucky trying to kill Piper and then getting… beaten? Killed?1 No, I’m talking about the hints of corruption raised when a reporter sussed out an apparent contradiction between service cuts at the prison and concomitant budget increases, and called the luxury-car driving assistant warden to find out more.

Annnnnd still single… ladies.

Turns out plotlines like this are why I watch a show like Orange Is The New Black.* Not just blatant politics and plots that could also appear on The West Wing2 but these intersections of wants and needs and motivations between characters and the system, or amongst characters thereby creating a system, that drive conflict and community alike. Red trying to hold onto her turf and overreaching/getting trapped by other powerful forces. The group plotting, and replotting, to bust Pornstache. Taystee encountering the severe disconnect between the outside world and what prison expects of her in said world.3

In other words: more sociology of the criminal justice system, please.

My esteemed colleagues have already discoursed better than would I about the show’s shortcomings in the arenas of storytelling and sometimes shallow treatment of the stories they chose to tell. I’d add that after 13 episodes it was clear that not enough came from the Piper/Larry storyline to justify imbalancing the outside=flashbacks, inside=here-and-now dynamic that helped build the characters into a unit.4 So my hopes for season 2 are more of what, in the end, seemed most interesting: conspiracy, skulduggery, embezzlement – you know; crime. – within the world in which these characters currently exist. There’s so much happening just within the prison’s walls that gets emotionally backed by a few flashbacks, so many tales of connection and agency from characters well illustrated by their words and actions in the here and now that New York City can stay far, far away and the people of Orange Is The New Black could really break free.

*The other reason a sensitive yet generally typical straight male would watch any show set in a womens prison is duh. I’m not jumping to skeevy here. Let us remember: OITNB had Laura Prepon topless, in a shower, with another woman in the FIRST TWENTY SECONDS of the premiere.

  1. Okay, that was interesting, and more on that soon.  
  2. Or, and I hope it doesn’t go this tonal direction, Scandal.  
  3. Though Ryan is totally right that this got way-too-short shrift in S1. In semi-related news, this will make you very mad and is also a great piece of journalism.  
  4. Somewhat surprisingly, given that 13 episodes of character-development-by-flashback with a large ensemble trends too easily towards plot-development-by-obvious-metaphor.  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 206 Articles
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