Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Girls Write A Show For Girls...In Prison.

Piper (Taylor Schilling) and her one time lover Alex (Laura Prepon) take a minute to listen to the Piper's scumbag boyfriend exploit her prison experience for a writing gig on the radio.
Finally started watching Orange is the New Black (2013 - ) which is on only every other billboard in Los Angeles county and actually getting good reviews, and it's such a relief to be feasibly impressed with a show. Hasn't happened in a while. Especially considering most shows featured on Netflix are overrated and Netflix originals like Arrested Development Season 4 was a ridiculous let-down.
I know that everyone on the face of the planet has gone on the 'overrated' train with this one just because people like it and it's way overexposed at the moment, but you know what? It's not half bad, and if ya did your goddamn research, you'd know it's actually based on a memoir a woman wrote about her year of incarceration. So it wasn't just plucked from obscurity by some TV executive because they needed to fill that niche of lesbian prison shows and they were clear out.
Here's what I like, though the writing is somewhat trite, I can relate to the main character. She's on the cusp of 30 and is realizing there are serious amends to be made for living life so dangerously while she was still able to  back in the day. No I'm not an ex-con mofo's but I get what her character arc is. 
And that's basically what I really enjoy about it; the writing of the characters. As a writer who writes excellent characters (horn toot) and sucks at structure, I can fully appreciate that even if some of them are somewhat cliche.
'Red' (Kate Mulgrew) and Miss Claudette (Michelle Hurst) share some home-made hooch after hours. Two of my favorite characters.
I like that Taylor Schilling's character Piper Chapman is the 'straight man' of the series, a deadpan white girl stuck in a prison full of nut jobs and jaded inmates. One of my favorite characters is Galinka or 'Red' (Kate Mulgrew) who does such a superb Russian accent I was surprised to hear she was actually American, usually, Russian accents are totally butchered, especially by American actors. She runs the kitchen and is basically queen bee, whom everyone wants to please, and through her backstory we learn how ironic that really is.
Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren (Uzo Aduba) is one of the funniest eccentrics on the show.
The love story that develops between inmate Daya (Dascha Polanko) and one of the prison guards, Bennett (Matt McGorry) is particularly touching and one that I would consider going to prison for in order to experience. It doesn't seem contrived and that's always a good thing.
Anyway the best thing about it, is just like in a Joseph Mankiewicz film, the women have the best roles, and are the most dynamic. If you don't get this parallel then you're an idiot. The interesting part of it is, is that now you can tell that it's a group full of women writers sitting in a writers room thinking this stuff up hopefully with a giant picture of Nora Ephron as their patron saint hanging on the bearing wall with scented candles decorating her beautiful aura.
The very talented cast of characters.
I feel like Nora Ephron herself could have written this show and that's comforting, it's very difficult to combine black comedy with a hint of tragedy, pathos, and unpredictable character arcs, something only the Great Ephron was able to achieve, and I'm glad that this is a show finally for women by women that is NOT on the Lifetime network. Bravo Netflix. I now forgive you for the 4th season of Arrested Development. It's unique and wildly original. It's not just for chicks don't get me wrong, I think it's universally funny and challenging. Aside from that it's just plain old brazen and down the wall unapologetic. It gets my thumbs up. I'm excited to see what becomes of it.

Below some clips and interviews. Enjoy! 

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