Netflix’s latest original program is better than whatever you’re doing right now, and here’s why:
1. Crazy Eyes is awesome
Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite TV character:
After Susanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren’s very brief first scene, you think you can pretty much tell what you’re getting: a kookily over-the-top, addle-brained, possibly-dangerous, thoroughly-entertaining nutjob. Little do you know, you’re just scratching the surface. It’s rare in a series that the most intriguing character turns out to be the one you least suspect of depth through half of the first season.
The scene where Crazy Eyes performs Shakespeare to a group of Scared Straight kids is reason enough to check out the whole series. Actress Uzo Aduba is a real breakthrough, here.
2. Whatever you’re doing has fewer boobs involved, I promise
I tweeted about this when I first watched it:
Orange is the New Black clearly knows Tucker’s #1 TV Rule: if no boobs in first 7 secs of pilot, I’m out
— Tucker May (@TuckaMay) July 17, 2013
But at a certain point, it just starts to seem like they’re baring breasts because, ‘Eh, why not?’ Apparently answering to Netflix is quite different from answering to Network executives, and creator Jenji Kohan lets this series get nitty and gritty right from the get-go.
3. The Return of Hot Donna
On That 70s Show, Laura Prepon‘s character Donna Pinciotti was consistently referred to as the “Hottest Girl in Point Place” — which honestly always kind of puzzled me, especially considering some of the guest stars they had on that show. Well, Hot Donna’s back — only this time she’s about 100 times hotter. Not just because she plays a commanding, lesbian drug-ring kingpin, but because she shows off some serious acting chops that her days in the 70’s only hinted at.
4. At no point does Jason Biggs sexually assault a pie
Yup, Jason Biggs is in it, too. I’m almost ashamed that the first thing I brought up about him is the fact that he once banged a pie. It feels almost lazy nowadays. But, for better or worse, that is how most of us remember him.
In the first few episodes, he does a pretty good job of reminding us why he was so enjoyable in all those broad, goofy comedies. In the final few episodes, he does a pretty good job of reminding us why he’s really only enjoyable in broad, goofy comedies.
5. It’s shockingly familiar
For a brand new show, watching the first season even the first time through gives you some strange deja vu. The theme song will definitely remind you of Weeds and the fadeouts will definitely remind you of Arrested Development, which both make sense considering the creator and “network” behind the show.
Fortunately for us, those are two of the most enjoyably distinct things about those respective shows. Orange is the New Black may feel a bit recycled at times, but it sure is polished.
6. Streaming is the way of the future
It’s official, America: we’re no longer tied to our televisions for quality original programming. Netflix nabbed 9 Emmy nominations for House of Cards (including Outstanding Drama Series), 3 for Arrested Development and even, somehow, 2 for the unbearable Hemlock Grove. Emmy nominations are not necessarily an indicator of quality, and often times it seems like the nominations are made by drunk and blind monkeys, but I still believe it’s significant.
The next couple years should only bring more and more high-quality shows from more and more non-traditional sources — might as well embrace the wave while it’s young. The future is now. And it’s binge-able.
7. It’ll motivate you to stay out of prison
I can comfortably say that I would never, ever survive in a women’s correctional facility. Like, not for a day. I feel confident making that statement because this series was not only exhaustively researched by Jenji Kohan and her writers, but it’s based on a memoir about a real-life lady named Piper.
Secret bonus reason #8: WOMEN!
At the risk of sounding like the pandering man, it’s pretty cool to see a show featuring a deeply diverse and talented — not to mention HUGE — ensemble of women. Orange is the New Black is a treat and, if it’s not clear by now, I strongly suggest that you check it out.
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