The Netflix prison drama is back — orange you glad?
all it a comedy, call it a drama. Hell, call it a dramedy, but either way Orange Is The New Black is arguably Netflix’s most bingeable original series. over the past three seasons, we’ve seen nice-girl Piper (taylor Schilling) go from wide-eyed noob in litchfield Prison to a criminal kingpin (ruling an empire selling inmates’ used panties to web pervs — it’s that sort of a show).
along the way, the show has been praised for its unflinching portrayal of issues such as gender identity, racism and rape. last season turned a spotlight on the US prison system itself, as a for-profit corporation took over litchfield with predictably horrendous results. and it looks as though Season 4 will turn that screw even harder. on our tour of the set, Empire clocks that the already-cramped beds in the sleeping quarters have been replaced with bunk-beds — suggesting more new inmates. “there’s gonna be new blood — and that’s gonna make blood boil!” Selenis leyva, who plays leader of the latina clique Gloria, whispers to Empire. and even though she’s got a smile on her face, it’s hard not to believe her.
We come to an overcrowded cafeteria, where the atmosphere is rowdy and relaxed. dozens of beige-clad women (orange is relatively scarce) are watching, weirdly, The Wiz, but it’s here where the show’s true power hits home. the nearly wholly female cast is powerfully diverse, in age, ethnicity and sexuality ( you’ve never seen a women’s prison shower scene like the ones in this show). actresses who spent careers playing wives and girlfriends are now centre-stage, and having a blast. “We don’t stay in our dressing rooms. We all pile into one and talk about J-lo, or what food makes us gassy,” laughs leyva.
With three more seasons newly ordered — taking us up to Season 7 — it’s clear that this is one orange that won’t run out of juice. But given Piper was initially serving a 15-month sentence, that is something the show will have to revise if Schilling’s going to stay the course. it seems Season 4 may be taking care of that.
“She’s still pushing at her limits,” says Schilling. “this season she’s going to break through to the other side.” Sounds like Piper might be about to break. the litchfield redemption has been postponed. SARAH MORGAN
Orange Is The new Black season 4 is on netflix from June 17.