A Look Back At OITNB: What Made It Soo Good?
Well, it’s finally here. The 7th and last season of Orange Is The New Black. The hit Netflix series ends it’s run today, and I get a little emotional to tell you the truth. Not because I’m going to be having a hard time finding another great show to watch. Far from it. They’re a dime a dozen. In fact… I’m planning on watching The Boys tomorrow with my fiancée. He’s a huge fan of the comic book, I’m a huge fan of Karl Urban. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
But I digress.
Back to the topic of Orange Is The New Black. I’m about to binge on the last season, and I can hardly wait to be honest. Over the last 6 seasons, I grew to love the characters (well most of them), the actors and the writing in the show. Now, there was a decline in the quality in the past 2-3 seasons (I’ll have to admit), but overall it was a good show. When it was good, it was good. But when it was really good…. it was actually brilliant.
And it was. Don’t deny it. No show before featured so many female characters all in one place. And there were TV series before that were set in a prison, but they were mostly populated by men. I remember watching Oz back in the day. It had 3-4 female characters and 95% of the other characters were played by men.
Jenji Cohen changed that. She set the premise in a female prison and portrayed the real-life trials, tribulations and the real-life struggles of the female inmates. And don’t think for a second that just because OITNB wasn’t as dark, gritty and depressive (well not as compared to Oz) it wasn’t real. The humor didn’t diminish the impact it had on me, and a lot of other women just like me. And no, it didn’t glorify the penitentiary and the prison system just because it had humor. And beautiful women. Women do a hard time for crimes they committed as well.
And I’m really glad that the show-runners touched on so many issues (feminine or otherwise) respectfully and poignantly without patronizing us. Sexual harassment, discrimination, addiction, mental illness, racial profiling, deportation, neglect, death, abortions, and even menstruation. Most of the men don’t have to worry about that shit. Especially about tampons.
And when I think of it…. That’s what made Orange Is The New Black good. The showing of that brutal realism through humor. It wasn’t so much the cast or even the fancy directors (like Jodi Foster) they had on board. No. It was how they showed the real America. Not just the prisons in America. The real America. With all it’s flaws and imperfections.
Needless to say, the acting was impeccable as well. I was impressed by the always lovely and talented Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba, Lea DeLaria, and the fantastic Miss Kate Mulgrew. Stunning as ever. Talented as ever. So, yeah. I’m going to enjoy watching the final season of Orange Is The New Black. Or OITNB as it’s known among the fans.
So, long and thank you for the realism. And the horror. And the humor. And for pushing through the horror with a dash of humor. It was much appreciated.