‘Orange Is the New Black’
On the NYR blog, April Bernard writes:
Is it possible to feel more ambivalent than I do about Orange Is the New Black? I love the actors and most of the writing and direction. I especially love that it is about a culture of women. It is good to see a light shed on the disgraceful situation of jails and prisons in this country… But on the other hand, the experience of being highly entertained by this soap opera—which is also, often, extremely funny—turns the viewer into a tourist of suffering
Created by the well-known television writer and producer Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black is both more violent, and much more entertainingly wacky, than the book on which it is (with increasing looseness, in this second season) based. Piper Kerman’s best-seller of the same name, published in 2009, chronicles her own experience as an upper-middle-class, educated young white woman convicted of serious drug crimes… Each episode, while following events in the lives of a dozen or so inmates, also focuses on an individual, providing some of the backstory that led to her being behind bars. Most moving is the story of Taystee, played by the extraordinary Danielle Brooks, who as a foster child was taken in hand by a charismatic Harlem drug dealer, Vee, played by Lorraine Toussaint, a fierce actress who is unafraid to be hateful. Vee shows up in the same prison, and the combined love, exploitation, and betrayal in their mother-daughter relationship is painful and wonderful to behold.
The second season of Orange Is the New Black is now available on Netflix.