The Styley

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August 14, 2013

Styley TV: Orange is the New Black

According to the inimitable Oscar Wilde, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” That’s so my jam, at least with regards to the new Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.”

I don’t know who mentioned the show to me, but a couple of weekends ago, my friend and I were sitting around in Watermill wondering what to do with ourselves. We started poking around Netflix. When I saw the icon for “Orange is the New Black,” I said, "Hey, I’ve heard that’s good," so we decided to watch it.

And then we basically didn't do anything else for the next eight hours.

I’m talking about addictive behavior at its finest. Seriously. After I went back to the city all I could think about was when I’d be done at the office so I could go home and watch more. Now I’m done with the first season, and I’m totally verklempt. Apparently they are filming season two, but who knows when that will be finished? What am I going to do?

What I’m going to do is tell you why it’s a great show. In a word: narrative. TV is a great medium for character-driven stories, and this series fully takes advantage of that fact. The show is set at a women’s prison, and while the plot unfolds in real time, there are flashbacks that reveal how the different characters ended up behind bars. And the actors are awesome, particularly the supporting actors, like Natasha Lyonne and Kate Mulgrew. I had trouble warming up to Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman, the protagonist—did I mention that the show is based on Chapman's memoir?—but by the end I’d come around. I’ve loved Laura Prepon since That 70s Show, and on "Orange Is the New Black" she kicks ass in general, plus her eyebrows are sick. The biggest surprise is Taryn Manning, who is so believable as a white trash religious zealot that I may start having nightmares about her. Seriously.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.