I'm in 17C today.
No first class upgrade for me. This means I will not be getting my breakfast serving of dehydrated eggs, with a side of exploding yogurt. Have you been a victim of first class exploding yogurt? Not sure if its the pressure or what, but no matter how slowly I peel back that lid, there's always a backsplash of something containing Splenda that winds up on my nice, freshly laundered dress shirt. Today, I'm in coach with the other plebs, making a meal out of my 4 pretzels. You can keep your Splenda 2C. At least there's wireless to keep me occupied. Even coach gets access to eBay.
I've found that my GoGo is way too SlowSlow, which means that I will not be able to stream my latest binge, Orange is the New Black. If you're looking for hard hitting, gritty, true tales of life behind bars in a women's prison, I suggest you watch Locked Up Raw instead. Reincarnation of Oz it is not. It's more like The L Word goes to Shop Class, and is about as gritty as Oprah's camping trip was with Gale. Except this crew gets donuts. And shoes that look like Toms.
Are we that starved for cute gays on TV that we'll tune into Orange in droves? Yes. I suppose so. Yet this show's popularity and "must see" chatter has reached near cronut worship, which I think is a bit over the top. Before I strip-search this show, let me first start with the good.
The girl went to Smith. Any school with an A capella group called the Smithenpoofs deserves a prime time shout out. And it's pretty accurate that most Smith girls are LUGS. Lesbians until graduation. Is LUG an outdated term yet? That's what we called them in 96, when I graduated. Maybe now it's "lesbian until transitioning" which seems to be a lot more common now than it was back then. But I digress. Smith girl makes good on her felon past, entertains the masses in the process. Win Win.
What this show does very well is the backstory profiling. Jenji knew she couldn't film the entire series behind bars, which is a real victory for the viewer. Because of this, we get to see Red (aka, the Moscow Mule) speed walk with the Russian mob wives and then slowly blossom into the den mother meets Scarface character that she does so damn well. She's one of my favorites and one of the very few who doesn't appear to be pretending to be on a show about women in prison. My money's on her having gotten very Rain Man about her role, spending time in a women's prison, living and breathing the culture that shapes her character.
I'm also a big fan of Crazy Eyes Suzanne who does an excellent job at looking menacing, twitchy and creepy at the same time. When we finally meet her parents, I loved every second of that quick glimpse into what shapes her.
Some of the other women need a bit more Stanislavski in their jumpsuits. Nicky Nichols, aka Natasha Lyonne, perhaps best known for her roles in But I'm a Cheerleader and American Pie, hasn't won me over yet. That accent is distracting, as is her unkempt hair. Ok, we get it. She was a junkie so always has to look a shade of crazy, down to the sticky mascara. Her accent is right out of the 1982 Annie movie, borrowed from one of those scrappy New York orphans. I keep waiting for her to say "Why I Outta!!!" while grating her knuckles against someone's scalp. Not a high point for me. There's another member of Red's crew who sounds like she's gargling marbles. Lorna Morello, aka Yael Stone. Not sure where she's supposed to be from, but she fades in and out of something that slightly resembles Bronx meets West Side Story meets cottonmouth. I need subtitles for her, not the Russian. Did they run out of money when it came to the dialect coach?
Piper is what I like least about the show. She reminds me too much of Marsha Brady to take her seriously. I keep waiting for Ben Stiller to make a guest appearance as a porn stashed guard who makes the women play strip dodge ball. I know she's supposed to be a fish out of water, a delicate wallflower. But most fish, if flung from the confines of their palatial bowl and castle, will do anything in order to breathe again. She clings to the doe-eyed bambie number a bit too long into the season. Even Martha Stewart, within the first 48 hours, knew she had to be someone's bitch in order to get access to icing sugar. Pipers don't thrive in prison, they get swallowed up by bald, tattooed power lifters named Sweet Pea who are convicted of second degree murder and then make you their inside spoon. Hoping that she becomes a three-dimensional character at this point.
I love Jason Biggs, but I don't love him in this role. I don't believe the relationship between him and Piper, and there's zero chemistry. I'd sooner see Jason Schwartzman in that role than Jason Biggs. At least he has good hair.
Despite all of my bitching, I'm still watching. I'm still jonesing for this show. No one is dragging me kicking and screaming to my Apple TV and force-feeding me this show. Why do I keep coming back for more, when it's flawed, cliché and gratuitous? Because MadMen is over, and I need a new summer fling to tide me over until I can get a hold of that crystal blue on Breaking Bad August 11th. These women could all use a little Jessie Pinkman workshop, bitch. Next time they get busted, I suggest they call Saul and skip the second season all together.