If there’s one thing Oz taught me, it’s that I do not ever want to go to prison. I could maybe handle county lock-up for a night, but straight up federal prison? No way in hell. I’m not ready for that jelly.
And neither is Piper Chapman. Orange Is The New Black begins on the eve of Piper (Taylor Schilling) surrendering herself to a women’s correctional facility in order to serve out a 15-month sentence. Ten years prior, Piper agreed to transport drug money for her lesbian lover (Laura Prepon). Now, Piper is no longer a lesbian and is engaged to the very understanding Larry (Jason Biggs). Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for her crime was just about to run out when her ex was busted and Piper was prompted by her attorney to plead out and take the 15 months.
Armed with all the knowledge she could find in books on prison – Incarceration For Dummies, maybe? – Piper arrives at the prison a quivering, scared mess. And it would seem that her trepidation was for naught. Her cellmates seem harmless enough and even downright helpful. Save for a creepy run-in with an inmate in the shower, in which the woman can’t help but marvel over Piper’s perky, ‘TV titties,’ prison life doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that bad. She even got a nice prison employee to let her use his phone for a quick call with Larry. Sure, he jerked off immediately after she left the room, but whatever.
But just when Piper is feeling like the 15 months in the big house might be somewhat manageable, she inadvertently insults the kitchen manager (another inmate), and this earns her a bloody tampon in her english muffin. Disgusted and scared, Piper races from the cafeteria for some fresh air and comes face-to-face with her ex, the person responsible for her incarceration.
If you enjoyed Jenji Kohan’s Weeds, you’ll dig her new baby, Orange Is The New Black. A friend described it as, “What happens if Nancy Botwin went to prison,” and that’s not far off the mark. I’ll do my best not to marathon the entire 13-episode season, available on Netflix instant viewing, and review each episode once a week for Project Fandom.
Did you watch the first episode of Orange Is The New Black? What did you think?