We’ve resisted watching Netflix’s original series, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, mostly cuz, well, women’s prison stuff, you know? But Ken Levine has convinced us to give it a try, mostly cuz, hey, women’s prison. What can you do?
by Ken Levine
From the first moment there was pay cable there were women-in-prison movies. It’s almost as if the delivery system was invented just for that purpose. They came on late at night and were ridiculously gratuitous. After all, since you could now show naked women on TV, why not show them naked all the time? Like reading their mail while showering.
These movies were all singularly awful, filled with sadistic lesbian prison guards and showgirls gone bad. There was so much silicone the prison could float. In every film the girls plotted their escape, carving guns out of soap and turning nail files into knives. Of course, where were they going to hide them since they were always naked?
When I saw that Netflix announced a new original series based on a woman’s prison I thought, hey, I’ll give this a chance. After all, I’m a red blooded heterosexual male. I like watching women carve soap.
And what was the first scene of the pilot? Naked women prisoners showering. But something was different. Off. Shocking even. The breasts were real. They were in proportion to their bodies. What’s going on here? It was then I knew – this was like no women-in-prison movie I had ever seen. In fact, as I continued to watch I realized that ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK may just be the best new show of the year (Sorry DADS).
What a revelation! A prison drama where you care about everybody, even the scumbags. Jenji Kohan has taken a book by Piper Kerman and turned it into a riveting drama that will have you at times gasping, crying, and laughing out loud. You totally forgive the episodes where there is no nudity.