Orange is the New Black: Torturing myself one episode at a time

orange_is_the_new_black_musicJune 18, 2014 – Any fans of “Orange is the New Black” out there?

I am more than half way through the second season and I am still not sure if I like the show. I’m leaning towards no, I don’t care for it, but something keeps me watching.

I felt the same during the first season, and pushed through to the end anyway, certain that I wouldn’t waste my time with the second season. Yet, when Netflix released it in early June, I gave in a few days after its debut, telling myself I’ll just watch one episode to see what happened after the cliffhanger. Just like M&Ms (I don’t particularly care for them either), one led to another, and then another, and so on.

The series, about a seemingly normal woman in her early thirties from an upper middle class background, who is sentenced to a year and a half in a federal prison for a drug-related crime she committed almost ten years prior, is praised by many. The series writer, Jenji Kohan, is the same writer who created “Weeds” for Showtime, and the premise is compelling. What’s not to like?

Still, I despise the feeling of dread I have at the end of each episode. I watch slowly because binging would throw me over the edge, and affect my dreams. I need time to forget what I experienced before I move on to the next episode.

That doesn’t sound like something you want to watch on television, does it? My harsh opinion has nothing to do with the acting. These characters have fine actors playing them. It doesn’t have anything to do with the writing, either. Kohan is a solid writer, and I enjoy her other work. My biggest gripe, besides finding it depressing, is that it’s difficult for me to watch women aggressively attack each other like they were … gasp! … men.

I’m not sure why it doesn’t seem as bad when male characters act violently on television and in the movies. Could it be it’s what we expect from them? I’m all for equal opportunity, even in prison. I suppose anyone who is locked up like an animal may act the same way, male or female. It says a lot about human nature, but I expect more from women.

I’ve never spent time in prison, yet the show is believable (and racist) depicting white women having heir own “neighborhood” in the big house, and the same for Hispanic women, and black women, who’s area is known as “the ghetto”. There’s plenty of interaction between races, but when it comes to sleeping, bathing, and eating, each race stays with their own. The prison guards are also portrayed poorly, as is the assistant warden, who is as corrupt as they come, accepting government funds to upgrade the prison, yet spending the money on her own needs so she can live in luxury. I’m sure it can happen. It is, however, cliché, and seems to be written like that only to make the female criminals look less guilty, and create a conundrum about who really belongs in prison.

Bottom line, it’s simply not entertaining to watch women act like barbarians. At least not to me. If anyone who reads this enjoys the show, please comment and tell me why. I’m curious.

So, why do I continue to watch? I’m not sure. It is a question I’ll have to tackle on another day. I’m pretty sure that after this season though, I won’t watch it again. Well, maybe just one episode if there is a cliffhanger.

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A girl trying to live the dream.

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