At least that’s what I tell myself in order to feel better about being behind on things. The truth is, it’s probably something that just naturally happens as you get older. Your finger slips from the pulse. You fall out of touch.
One minute, you’re putting them in stitches with some kick-ass Keyboard Cat reference, and the next, you’re secretly Googling “WHAT IS A GANGNAM STYLE” so you don’t continue to stare at someone with dead-eyes when they make a Psy reference.
And so it goes.
So I was a little late to the Orange is the New Black party, but not by a million miles, I’d guess. Since discovering it on Netflix—like House of Cards and the latest installment of Arrested Development, it’s a Netflix original—I haven’t shut up about it. And honestly, I feel like a lot of people have heard of it, but haven’t yet given it a shot.
Those people are making a huge mistake.
Co-workers ask, “Hey, who do you think the Royals will target this offseason in terms of second basemen? Who’s available?” And I say, apropos of nothing, “Have you seen Orange is the New Black? What?! You HAVEN’T?”
My wife says, “Brandon, I really think I need to get this cut on my leg checked out. It’s emitting a foul odor and if I touch it, everything goes gray and the room starts to spin,” and I say, “No doubt. But first, let’s watch one more episode.”
And now that I’ve finished the first season—I managed to spread the 13 episodes out over a month or so because I like the prolonged gratification—I feel empty. Don’t get me wrong, Hell on Wheels is back and I’m watching, The Bridge has just enough intrigue to keep me going, and—I’m not gonna lie—Under the Dome keeps me tuning in each week, but none of those shows can hold a candle to OITNB.
Not even close, really.
For those who’ve been living under a rock (or, you know… those living a normal life with only a moderate amount of media exposure), I’ll elaborate.
Orange… is the story of the adorable Piper Chapman (relative unknown Taylor Schilling), a hip, fashion-conscious New Yorker who runs an artisan soap making company with a friend and is engaged to journalist Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs, American Pie). Her life, it would seem, is the complete epitome of normalcy.
But that would be a really boring fucking show, so we learn—from the beginning, really—that Piper is going to prison in upstate New York to serve a sentence for drug running. Her lawbreaking occurred in the wild, lesbian years of her youth, under the strong-arm of her violently-eyebrowed girlfriend/drug boss Alex (Laura Prepon from That 70’s Show). So of COURSE—
***MINOR SPOILER ALERT***
–Alex is in the hoosegow with Piper, and maybe they’ll stab each other or maybe they’ll rekindle their old, torrid love, or maybe both of these things will happen and maybe neither will.
Therein lies some of the beauty in the show; crafted by the creators of the acclaimed series Weeds, there’s some masterful storytelling the covers the full spectrum of emotions and keeps the viewer locked in and constantly guessing. One minute you’re cringing as Larry’s mother tells him that “guys need to cum, honey,” when he’s pitching a magazing article about “edging” and the next, you’re dying with laughter as one of the more amazing inmates spouts Shakespeare to at-risk youths during the scared straight program because she wants a chance to really show her acting chops.
The storylines are great, it’s brilliantly scripted and engaging, and the acting is nothing short of astounding. There really isn’t a weak link in the cast, and that’s pretty amazing given the emotional range nearly ever character is required to display, often from one scene to the next.
Season two is currently in production, so you’ve got plenty of time to watch the first 13 episodes. If you pass on it, don’t say I didn’t warn you: Orange… is a triumph of Netflix original programming and unlike anything else going at the moment.
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