September 13, 2013 |
"What do you think of 'Orange Is the New Black?'" Since Netflix's series about life in a women's prison premiered this summer, I've fielded the same question from almost everyone I know. I guess it's because I have some experience on the subject. Before I got clean, I spent many years in and out of jails and correctional institutions. I did a short stint at New York City's Rikers Island in 1995, and participated in a six-month alternative-to-incarceration program administered by the Women's Prison Assn.
September 11, 2013 |
By cultural indications, the Netflix original series 'Orange Is the New Black' appears to be a hit. The prison comedy, based on Piper Kerman's autobiography about her 15-month incarceration in a federal correctional facility on a decade-old drug offense, has garnered extensive media coverage -- and a parody photo featuring the puppets from the Broadway musical "Avenue Q. " But the precise size of its audience remains cloaked in mystery --...
August 15, 2013 |
An hourlong comedy about women in prison. Released in summer. Without the requisite big-name lead. On Netflix. Television just does not get any more experimental than that. And, as Mary McNamara and Yvonne Villarreal discuss in this week's Talking TV video, "Orange Is the New Black" proves precisely why experiments are so important. Lacking the A-list hype (Kevin Spacey! Robin Wright!) surrounding "House of Cards" and the anticipatory lovefest that led up to the resurrection of "Arrested Development," Jenji Kohan's adaptation of Piper Kerman's memoir, also called "Orange Is the New Black," not only seems buzzier than both those shows combined, it's way more important.
August 12, 2013 |
The women in this summer's lauded Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" are as colorful as the orange jumpsuits worn by the inmates of Litchfield Prison where the show is set. Though they live within the confines of the same barbed wire fence, the prisoners' backgrounds are radically different, forming a mosaic of backgrounds and personalities. "As the show goes on, they peel back the layers, and you get deeper in knowing who these people are," says Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, one of the series' breakout characters.
July 11, 2013 |
"Orange is the New Black. " Jenji Kohan's serialized adaptation of Piper Kerman's memoir about doing time in a women's prison, proves that Netflix isn't just delivering original content in a unique way (i.e. a season at a time). It's also delivering unique content. Smart, funny and surprisingly moving, "Orange is the New Black" dares to suggest that the pretty, white, middle-class gal that television so loves to position as an Everywoman is nothing of the kind. As Piper Chapman, Taylor Shilling has all the high-maintenance, obliviously entitled tics down pat. Having finally gotten her life together -- the nice apartment, the devoted boyfriend, the artisanal soap business -- Piper is more than a little outraged that she is going to be punished for the youthful "indiscretion" of carrying drug money for an former drug-dealing girlfriend.
July 11, 2013 |
Piper Kerman was a comfortably settled member of the Manhattan creative class on the day in 1998 when two police officers knocked on her door, telling her she'd been indicted for her brief but fateful involvement in a drug-trafficking operation years earlier. By the time she finally went to prison six years later, she was engaged, in her 30s and desperate to get her 15-month sentence over with. “The beginning of the sentence was the beginning of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kerman said this week, over a late lunch of heirloom tomatoes at the trendy New York City gastropub the Breslin -- a far cry from the iceberg lettuce and mystery meat she subsisted on while locked up at a federal prison in Danbury, Conn.