In this based-on-true-events story, Chapman's a white, upper-middle-class, engaged-to-be married, Smith-educated graduate who finds herself heading for federal prison on a drug charge from an action in her past. Everything we see points to the fact that this is someone who doesn't belong in an orange jumpsuit. Because she looks like us.
ORANGE is the new BLACK features yet another anti-hero, but here's what I think is different:
- We see a character who is bi-sexual and, despite the complications, is fairly comfortable with that orientation.
- We see prison life from the inside — not the frightening horror stories of a Scared Straight or Oz but the daily, mundane frustrating prison routine filled with injustices big and small and constant reminders of missing freedoms — big and small.
- We see the backstory of all Chapman's sister prisoners — each of these ladies (and the prison staff) could be a series of their own. Chapman is atypical. (Another small loss is your first name because in prison you go by your last name.)
Telling the stories of Piper (and her band of widely diverse inmates) through flashbacks of life before prison, makes these characters human and allows us to feel empathy for them — even prods us to identify with her. But Season One ended on a disturbing note as the weight of being locked behind bars permeates Piper's psyche and explodes with a vengeance.
Guess I'll have to stayed tune.