Friday, May 30, 2014

Review : Orange is the New Black

Oh man, this show, Orange is the New Black...

You know, I was excited about this show. I love what Netflix is doing with tv (and maybe Hulu, not sure yet). I love that they allow artists to be artists and that I can watch a full season all at once with no commercials. I love that Netflix shows tend not to be held back by whatever it is that sells everything else. I thought that this show was gonna be great, like a feminist savior or something. Finally, a multi-cultural and multi-racial, nearly all female cast...an opportunity to tell women's stories without the interference of all those male counterparts that seem so necessary in most tv and movies. But I was so wrong.

I'd say I made it through 8 or 10 episodes before turning it off in disgust. It started out sort of ok; the Great White Blonde managed to get her innocent self in trouble and now was thrown into a world where her race wasn't going to matter. Did I have problems with a white lead? Sure, but my standards are so low, at least the rest of the cast featured other races, right? At first, her struggles were somewhat amusing and interesting. As she was hazed and broken into the prison system, as she had to learn that the pretty face and the nice words and the bullshit that went on outside of the prison walls wouldn't cut it there. All of this was ok and interesting. However, over time, it became clear that the writers were not actually interested in really developing their characters.

While the flashbacks of each episode began to tell the back story of each of the characters, the development stopped there. Quite frankly, the flashbacks weren't enough. Most of the episodes were spent with women bickering, being catty and petty, exacting revenge over the smallest incidents. There was not really any solidarity, it was every woman for herself, and I just don't find that interesting at all. Taryn Manning entered the cast, nearly unrecognizable, only to be the most petty and catty bitch of them all, hell bent on getting even and fucking over the lead at all costs. Ugh, like just ugh.

If I wanted to watch women behave badly toward each other, all I'd have to do is go out in the real world and strike up a conversation with nearly any girl. I've worked on crews of women, all stuck in the cultural cycle of gossip and backstabbing and hating other women just because...because women in America are taught to be enemies. I don't need to turn on entertainment in order to watch exactly what I can experience in real life. Furthermore, the writers of the show are doing a disservice to themselves by refusing to create a new and interesting tv show and instead sticking with the same standard of one dimensional female characters that we can see in any romantic comedy. Color me disinterested.

It saddens me that "Orange is the New Black" has taken off and become so popular. I wish I could convince everyone not to click on that damn picture when they log onto Netflix.

4 comments:

  1. Or if you wanted to see catfights you could watch reality TV. Ha!

    I actually can't judge this show because I haven't seen it, but I've heard the book was good. Maybe it's better than the show (this is usually the case). I want to check out both just to see for myself!

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    1. Yeah, catfights are one of the main reasons I don't watch reality tv. It seems reality tv is all about people being mean to each other. Not interested.

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  2. I agree that it was overrated. I did get hooked on wanting to see what was next and marathon-watched the whole thing but I thought it was way more trite/formulaic than it was letting on. Some ideas had merit but yeah, not as ground-breaking as it's pretending to be. Note how all the nudity is in the first few minutes of the first episode to "hook" and "reel people in" - then it's gone and the tone changes to goofy sitcom, almost.

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    1. WORD. And it bums me out that no one sees through this. There is an opportunity for a great and interesting show, but all they're doing is the same shit in a new setting.

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