Orange-is-the-New-Black

We don’t have cable. I obsess over TV series by getting V to download them. V does the downloading because he promised to when he cut the cable. He’s also more enthu about needing to watch something. Usually, I let him discover a show, sample it and then decide whether I want to give it a shot. Girls was the exception.

I skipped Breaking Bad which he really really got into. He watched the entire thing binge-style, downloading episodes on his phone and watching on the MTR even. In a month or so he was done. With the entire thing.

Then there was True Detective. I got into that. It was beautifully shot and while there was no great big twist at the end, it was more about the characters of the two detectives. I started to get into Fargo but V watched it too rapidly for me. I couldn’t keep up and I couldn’t watch it alone.

And then he downloaded Orange is the new Black. It’s a surprising choice for him because it’s a female-centric show and he’s not into that. I guess what he enjoys is the edge of grit (because let’s get real, this is not an accurate depiction of prison) and the prison humour.

But I, I love the show. It’s a girl-fest, what can I say. Women in a fishbowl, almost undiluted by the presence of men. There are straight-up lesbian plots, multiple lesbian plotlines in fact, probably for the first time in television and it’s done so nonchalantly that it’s the new normal. So it’s women, their conversations, their backstories, their petty and their grandiose machinations, their power. And by their, I mean our. It must mean something that this can only happen within the literal walls of a prison.

There are of course problems with the show. Straight up, the protagonist is white and well-to-do. The show acknowledges this privilege but it sticks to it. A white yuppie in prison draws attention in the show, and the show itself didn’t have the balls to do a black or Hispanic protagonist. There was a scene where I could see black women in the background topless, but not the white girls ever. There are loads of protagonists of colour with powerful backstories though, so we’ll take what they’re giving. Feminist critiques of the show here and here.

After the husband and I watch our nightly episode, he turns over and begins snoring almost immediately, just like after other satisfying acts, while I lie awaking, tossing and turning, thinking about the characters and their pasts and futures.

 

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