I was late to the game, I know. It is my perpetual cross to bear. I already knew that I was missing out on greatness just by seeing people update their Facebook status about it, share Tumblr posts and pictures, and tweet their love to other show fans and the cast. It was literally hitting me right in the face and I couldn't escape it. So I did it. I watched and my world has never been the same since. Neither will yours, because once you go Orange Is the New Black, you'll never go back.
It started out innocently as I watched this Netflix show over my iPad. I was unassuming and still a little bit perplexed as I watched the first couple of episodes. But once my mind was triggered by the tale of these ladies in prison with their back stories, beliefs, struggles, relationships, and their relinquishment of control and freedom, I couldn't keep my eyes off of it. Late nights spent to early mornings transfixed by the voyeurism it provides, I felt like Tricia (Madeline Brewer) or Nicky (Natasha Lyonne), someone who craved a fix trying to chase an almost never ending high. I felt like Alex (Laura Prepon) and Piper (Taylor Schilling) craving an adventure every time I watched a new episode. It was a set of new eyes to a world I wanted to cling to, a world I couldn't take my eyes off of, and I knew I was a part of something spectacular.
Larry's (Jason Biggs) fictional New York Times column may be called "One Sentence. Two Prisoners," but that is not true though when you watch Orange Is the New Black. It is not just one sentence or two prisoners, it's the viewer's sentence too, when you watch you become the prisoner, because this show has just about become the most buzzed about topic floating around lately. It's easy to see why Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon have cultivated such a scorching fan base and have catapulted their stardom. Schilling's portrayal is profound, strong and genuine. Prepon is cunning, intelligent, and quick witted. These two ladies share not just an undeniable spark and chemistry, but their characters seem to share a kismet interwoven bond that can never be extinguished. Much as Piper entered the prison like a sacrificial lamb, watching her I felt like a little fish swimming in a big pond. Every lesson Piper learned, mistake she made, control or freedom she relinquished, I felt like it happened to me. Piper may have felt all alone in the prison at the beginning of her sentence, but she truly never was.
Piper had a lot of company, beyond the viewer, and each character companion is unique and has a special story to tell. All of these ladies, they have something you can relate to in their tales. There is not a story told in Orange Is the New Black that doesn't provide insight or a moral that isn't poignant or provides a lesson learned. These women are an unconventional family, but they watch out for one another, love and genuinely care about each other, fight like cats and dogs, but always have each other's back. Family, friends, and enemies come in all shapes in sizes, and Orange Is the New Black shows you never know who you truly can trust, and that is what keeps the characters and the viewers on their toes and watching their backs.
Love is love, and when you watch this show, you'll find love comes pretty instantly. It's not about the physical expression of love, sure there is that, but your heart will meld to these inmates. I pined for Dayanara (Dascha Polanco) and John (Matt McGorry) to get together, their story made me root for them and at the same time broke my heart. Polanco showcased depth and emotion and she did it subtly and beautifully. Madeline Brewer as Tricia Miler made you ache with hurt and sorrow over her struggles, Vicky Jeudy as Janae Watson made you angry that Janae wasted her track talent, but also sympathize with how much of an outsider she felt throughout her life. Tasha (Danielle Brooks), Poussey (Samira Wiley), Miss Claudette (incomparable Michelle Hurst), Boo (Lea DeLaria), Morello (Yael Stone), Red (magnificent Kate Mulgrew), Crazy Eyes (stellar Uzo Abduba), Sophia (the beguiling Laverne Cox) and even quixotic Tiffany (Taryn Manning) all have their own stories, and each one is a pivotal piece to the incredible success of this show, and it just wouldn't be the same without any of them. Each one is a key that unlocks a bounty of wisdom and showcases what warriors they have to be daily.
They say that there is no place like home, and for many of the women, prison is the only home they will ever know. Orange Is the New Black will tug at your heartstrings, make you feel like you're going crazy, laugh, cry, and yearn for more. Savor every minute of this truly touching, passionate and graceful program. Heart, humor, humility and harrowing tales will leave you feeling like a prisoner to Orange Is the New Black. If loving this show is a crime, then lock me up.