Friday, July 18, 2014

Orange is the New Black, S2

This week I watched all of Season 2 of Orange is the New Black. As much as I really loved S1, I think the show got even better during the second season. It is still very soap opera-y, and I still have an issue with the idea of a prison being used as the set for a dramedy; it seems to trivialize and sensationalize a terrible experience and massive problem in our country -- turning it into something to be consumed as entertainment.

That said, I truly love this show and think it does a lot of good things. It portrays many complex and varied female characters; there are several portrayals of lesbians -- not fitting them into one box of a caricature; it portrays Latina and black and white women, again, in many different characters so there is no token stereotype; there are many older women; it deals with class; it deals with power and corruption; it explores numerous types of relationships: heterosexual romantic, gay romantic, female friendship, female rivalry, inmate-staff, etc...

S2 Orange is the New Black continues the Piper/Alex storyline, but it takes more of a back seat as many of the other inmates in the prison become even more fully developed. The backstories continue to be interesting, but a central drama develops over the power dynamics between two older women who are each head of families. V the head of the black crew and Red the head of the white crew. At times this began to bore me a little bit, but that may be because I watched the show in two or three episode chunks. Both these over 50 women gave remarkable stand out performances and the multiple dramas that surrounded this conflict were very interesting, particularly the relationship between Tasty and Poussey.

I love this show and can't believe I have to wait a whole year for the next season!

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