Orange is the new Black: S1

orange is the new blackJenji Kohan’s (Weeds) new Netflix series, Orange is the New Black takes a few episodes to get its sea legs.  Episode 3 firmly establishes the excellence of the series with crazy Kate Mulgrew’s Red softening up to Taylor Schiling’s Piper, discovering the history behind the love story between Piper and the insanely perfect Laura Prepon’s Alex, Uzo Aduba’s comic relief as the love-stricken Crazy Eyes (I will never look at a chocolate and vanilla swirl soft ice cream cone again and not smile), and Laverne Cox’s hormone dilemma and captivating family back story of Sophia’s transformation from fire-fighting family man to female convict.  The show is real, gutsy, gritty, funny, fresh, in-your-face entertainment you could only find on premium cable and now original programming outlets such as Netflix.  Wish Lea DeLaria had a bigger role.  Her eating corn on the cob during movie night was a snippet of what she’s capable of and more.  The stories and tension grow throughout the 13 episode arc.  The finale is shocking.  This is the kind of show where you fall in love with certain characters.  I love Alex, Miss Claudette, Sofia, Nikki, John (sigh), Big Boo (go Lea!), Poussey, and Sophia.  The men are mostly secondary, although you even get to know the guards, administration and Piper’s fiance and brother well enough to feel a kindred spirit.  But this is a women’s show and wow do these women shine.  I love that I couldn’t categorize this show.  It’s sort of a cross between a hard drama, satire, and more than a touch of Reno 911!.  How do they do it?  The writers, directors, and actors all walk this fine line between the different styles beautifully.  I fell in love with Orange.  I believe you will too.  5 out of 5 for this original and instant classic.

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