Aside from the absolute horrendous opening credits that everyone should fast-forward (every. time.), this provocative female drama is modern magic. Mixed with flashbacks reminiscent of Lost, witty banter straight out of a Sorkin production, and too many shock factors to even keep count–it’s no mystery why girls everywhere are madly obsessing.
However, Blush feels that OITNB is offering something more than a catchy plot line–it’s offering TV that females, and only females, can fully relate to. Like, no dude will never understand the “two hole” lunch convo. Laughing–for–days.
It’s for the girls, it’s by the girls, so it definitely has the Blush stamp of approval.
LADIES, HERE ARE THE REASONS YOU SHOULD BE BLUSHING OVER OITNB. OR, AT THE VERY LEAST, BINGE WATCHING IT THIS WEEKEND:
1. Legit Girl Talk
Have y’all heard of the entertainment standard called the Bechdel Test? If not, listen up. It’s supah simple. Basically in order to pass the test, a film/show/whatever must have the following three criteria:
- It has to have at least two women in it,
- Who talk to each other,
- About something besides a man.
Seriously. That’s it. And unfortunately, not many films or shows today pass. But, I think we can all safely say, Orange is the New Black has it covered.
The obvious reason for its A+ marks is because of its exceptionally limited setting: female prison. There be very few boys. However, most of these girls have husbands/boyfriends/fiancés (we know this from their painful visitation scenes), and yet, we’re not hearing very much male pining. At all. Think about how many conversations leading lady Piper Chapman actually has about her fiancé, Larry. I mean he might be kind of lame, but he still exists. Instead she’s worried about Pennsatucky beating the snot out of her or whether or not the assistant warden is embezzling money for her gay husband’s political campaign. Yep. Larry is totally gonna lose out to that dramz.
These conversations aren’t always full of puff either. OITNB girls be talkin’ race, religion, activism, social hierarchy, sexuality, literature, current events, and more. They make Carrie Bradshaw seem like the plight of feminism. Of course, it is rather irritating that one of the few Bechdel friendly series on air right now has to be filmed in a dang female prison in order to escape cliche “girl talk” at the local wine bar, but at least it’s happening somewhere. And we could use more of it. Nudge, nudge–we’re lookin’ at you, HBO. (¡Viva Khaleesi!)
2. Beauty Redefined
Popular beauty trends have been spit up and chewed out by the cast of OITNB, and honestly, we’re loving it. Here are just a few of the ways this show is revolutionizing what girls are seeing through the other side of the looking glass.
So….first of all, there ain’t no Maybelline walkin’ through the halls of Litchfield. That is, unless they’ve smuggled some crappy lip gloss in from the sewer or Murello got a hold of their naked eye lids (we will never look at instant coffee the same way again). So, if we’re excluding the under-eye circles or grotesque battle wounds, these ladies are definitely not wearing makeup. Yes, we know, they’re in PRISON, but it’s nice to see real women on TV. It’s also interesting to note that during the flashbacks or furloughs, it’s almost strange to see Piper & co all dolled up. You start to wonder which way you like them better…pretty ground breaking for modern-day cinema.
Second, having a flawless body is not OITNB’s jam. As you devotees already know, episodes without flashes of naked women are complete anomalies (and not near as fun). But instead of seeing the ex-porn stars of GoT, they’re kickin’ it au naturale. Thank goodness we’re not seeing a bunch of incarcerated Victoria’s Secret models—OITNB totally rocks the HBO GIRLS look. (Lena, you’re our boo). In summary, Photoshop is straight up being kicked in the jugular by the ladies of Litchfield.
By the way, we must also note that on the show, being skinny isn’t super glam either. Hot C.O. completely bee lines for Daya, a fuller figured tough-as-nails woman, instead of pursuing one of her traditionally “hot” and sassy Latina friends. Similarly, fit and feisty Poussey vies for the attention of curvaceous Taystee (***love***) only to be softly rejected as their friendship grows. Oh, and can we please not forget the hilarious “Big Boo” totally crushing American Pie alum Nicky Nichols in a hook-up contest, while completely overlooking Piper as a conquest due to her frail nature! (She gets a 3 out of 10 on the points scale–ouch!!)
In all honesty, this isn’t about the thin girls losing or the bigger girls winning–it’s about having an appreciation for all body types. And in order to do that, especially in Hollywood–the mecca for beauty standards–we gotta make sure our feminine agenda gets across. Bravo to you Netflix for being one of the first ones outta the gate.
3. Role Reversal
It’s not that we don’t love men, but it’s about time we’re seeing some role reversal on TV. Even though female leads are definitely comin’ in hot in Hollywood–Scandal, Divergent, GIRLS, Hunger Games–there is ALWAYS a “worthy” male love interest playing her opposite. Don’t get us wrong, we love Theo James as much as the next human being, but sometimes these male roles overshadow or undermine the female lead’s legitimacy. Even in the Netflix OITNB rival, House of Cards, Claire doesn’t really light candle to the fire storm Mr. Underwood is brewing up on the Hill. We love her, but it’s true.
If you think about the male roles in Orange is the New Black, there is ONE backbone being shared between the lot of them, except for Pornstache Mendez and he only makes a glorified cameo in Season 2. But, seriously, though. Hot C.O. who lost his leg in a gross jacuzzi is practically the pet of his baby mama’s crew, Mr. Healy gets his feelings hurt every time some prisoner looks at him the wrong way (Safe Place? Really?), Caputo threw a hissy fit and FIRED his girl crush when she didn’t reciprocate, and fiancé Larry falls for anyone who gives him the slightest bit of attention. (You know what I’m talking ’bout). And, let’s not forget that for pretty much all of Season 2 we desperately wanted Alex, a female, to come back and sweep doe-eyed Piper off her feet. Oh c’mon, you know it’s true.
All in all, we’re not saying that Hollywood has to completely abandon men, but it sure is nice to see them take the back seat while the girls take care of business. Plus it’s hilarious to see grown men scared of lesbians.
4. Freedom of Female Sexuality
Let’s begin with Laverne Cox, who plays Sofia Burset, and has launched herself into stardom as one of the first transgender stars on TV. She’s beautiful, she’s sassy, and she’s incredibly talented. Her character has depth, empathy, sincerity, and an allure that completely captivates you as her interesting story unfolds as a transgender woman in prison. Although Season 2 doesn’t showcase her journey as much as Season 1, she is a valuable character on the show and brings more humanity in a few minutes than most secondary characters do in hours. Get it girl.
Not surprisingly on Orange is the New Black, lesbian relationships are not limited to just the transgender. In fact Sofia is yet to have a true love interest thus far! (Booooo.) Instead, Alex, Piper, Big Boo, Nicky, Murello, and the rest of the gang take care of that for us. Lesbian love runs rampant throughout the jail walls of Litchfield, and it’s not just for scandal. Alex and Piper for example have a pretty complicated history that spans far beyond a “phase” in college. Nicky and Poussey struggle living as seasoned lesbians amongst women who are newly exploring their own sexuality (Murello, So-So, and even Flaca and Maritza!).
Overall, all of these women are deeply entrenched in their own self discovery and they actually have the freedom to test their limits amongst their own gender. It’s great to see love, intimacy, lust, and any other spectrum of female emotion displayed proudly via pop culture.
All right, have we convinced you? Good. Enjoy your marathon this weekend, and we’ll see you on the other side.
PS–When you are completely saddened that you have to wait til NEXT JUNE for Season 3 to drop, we’re here for the support. (You’ll know what we mean soon.)