Martha Stewart going to prison is nothing compared to what ‘Piper Chapman’ is going through in the Netflix hit show, “Orange Is The New Black”.
Set in the lovely environment of an upstate , “Orange Is The New Black” (TV-MA) tells the story of Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Shilling) a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend. She’s ripped from her posh and perfect life with her writer fiancee and dumped into an illustrious upstate New York “Club Fed” (AKA a Federal Prison). Within the space of two weeks she’s starved, stalked, has no prison commissary credit and wasn’t even allowed to send a final tweet before serving her sentence.
And that’s just the first three episodes.
Created by Jenji Kohan, who also created another great show about a weed-dealing suburban single mother called “Weeds”, “Orange Is The New Black” is based on the real Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, about her experiences in prison. Netflix premiered the show last July but after a rather intrusive set of ads I kept seeing on the internet over the past two weeks, I finally gave in, fired up the Netflix and spent a lovely weekend watching a show so witty, edgy and original that it had me completely and totally hooked.
Streaming delivery aside, one of the great strengths of this show is the ensemble cast of characters in this women’s federal prison. We have Russian ‘Red’ (played expertly by Kate Mulgrew) which Piper learns is the wrong chick to piss off, Miss Claudette (Michelle Hurst) who is feared by the inmates as much if not more than ‘Red’, a mother and daughter serving time for getting entangled with the same drug dealer, a chick named ‘Pennsyltucky’ and the list goes on.
Without the graphic violence of Oz but still very much the women’s prison drama, “Orange is the New Black” gradually shows the stories behind what landed these women in prison, and how Piper sees her year sentence in comparison to her fellow inmates. She meets people who definitely belong in prison, and those who seem prison is the last place they should be. Add to that the federal prison workers who range from empathetic to malevolent and you’ve got the perfect formula for a constant dose of enjoyable crazy in every episode.
Episodes from Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black are coming to Netflix starting Friday, June 6th. I suggest being there…with your orange prison jumpsuit at the ready.
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