A Bunch of Complex Convicts

Drama, comedy, and nerve-wracking moments – Orange is the New Black has it all. If you haven’t already jumped aboard this original Netflix series, then you better come along!

The title sequence, filled with images of all kinds of women, captures the essence of Orange is the New Black, a series about the complex and changing nature of women.

Our female protagonist is the sweet and innocent Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who, when she was younger, committed a crime of transporting drug-money, and now, unfortunately, has to go to one of the most feared places on earth – prison. However, this prison is filled with a complex pack of women who don’t conform to the clichés you usually meet on the screen. Maybe you’re starting to think: “Is this just a series about women, for women?” This is not the case.

The character development of Piper is fascinating, but also horrifying in some ways. She starts out as a delicate, scared woman, who’s completely ignorant of the things going on in prison, and she instantly gains the viewer’s sympathy, but through the first season she becomes more aware of the do’s and don’ts of prison, and because of this, she becomes more egoistical and cold. She develops into a kind of antihero, similar to Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) from House of Cards, and slowly she loses the viewer’s sympathy.

A defining feature of the show is its playing with norms of sexuality. Some of the women in the series are clearly homosexual, but others are harder to define. Piper is one of these. She has a fiancé, Larry (Jason Biggs), but her ex-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon) is also locked up with Piper, which complicates things to say the least. Slowly, Alex grows on Piper, and it’s never explicitly stated whether she’s homosexual, heterosexual or even bisexual.

Her situation isn’t unique, as other girls also engage in sexual relations with other women even though they have boyfriends outside of prison. So, is it a question about sexuality, or just a basic need for human intimacy? And this isn’t the only question piling up during the series.

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons for this series’ popularity, and in relation to the increasing consuming of streaming services, it couldn’t be easier to come by.

So, if you like being challenged and entertained, log on to your Netflix account, where Orange is the New Black is waiting.

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