Like most people, I am a fan of the Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black”. I started watching OITNB when it started its second season and I had to play catch up with the first. There was quite a bit of hype behind this show and I was feeling it. Plus, any show that has Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is worth considering a look at. Piper was a good starting point to introduce the audience to the prison system and the not-so-known problems that plague the for-profit prison system. The cast was a wonderful blend of characters from different cultures, sexualities, and financial background; each showing how sometimes bad choices or even simple mistakes can change your life. You don’t have to be a bad person to go to jail\prison, just unfortunate.
With all of that said, there are a few moments in later seasons that have rubbed me the wrong way. Matter of fact, I can tell you which characters cause me to re-evaluate this whole series. The characters: Joe Caputo, Lorna Morello, and Piper Chapman. I’m going to explain why each of these character’s storylines irks me.
Joe Caputo: As a character, Mr. Caputo always seemed like someone trying to make the best of his situation. In the first 2 seasons; he had to deal with working up under a shady boss while being stonewalled everytime he tries to make an improvement for the inmates. Then when he actually becomes the warden at the start of season 3, he realizes that he would not have the power for good that he wished for. Every character in this show is humanized, but I personally felt like he was probably the most relatable. In his backstory, he always wanted to be the “Good Guy”. Injuring himself just to put over a special needs kid, taking care of a woman and her kid only to be told that he wasn’t needed. I know I might be upsetting some feminist readers with this but it ducking sucks to dedicate your life to someone and their kid only to be told that you should “stop waiting for people to say thank you, and no one asked you for help”. I know this comes at a time in our society when women’s rights and the whole entitlement conversations are happening, but you can’t say that that event wasn’t fucked up. This is more of a personal rant in this case because I don’t want him to be deserving of all the bad treatment, guess I’ll have to wait till next season to see. Now I know he has an entitlement complex but I can’t help but comment on his potential.
Now time for my second most hated character: Lorna Morello. She was a mysterious character for the first season but you could tell that she was a little “off”. It wasn’t until they delved into her backstory that it was revealed that she was\is a stalker, and what’s worse if that she is a violent stalker who uses manipulation to get what she wants. I know she is portrayed in a way that makes it easier for people to feel sympathy for her but I cannot.
Here’s a setup: A man has an unrelenting crush on a woman, he gets rejected by her, he starts stalking her, he finds out that she is moving on so he plants a bomb trying to kill her new flame and potentially her, he briefly escapes prison to break into her home and rummages through her things, when confronted he ends up gaining the sympathy of a lonely loser of a woman who then assaults the original victim as “payback” for breaking the man’s heart, the man gets rewarded with a wife and has no consequences befall him for terrorizing the victim.
Did reading that upset you? Well, this is everything that the character Morello has done but because she is a woman, she is looked upon as a damaged soul\a victim. I would not even be upset if they fixed that in the next season but they just went ahead and kept making her out to be a sympathetic character. And TO BE FAIR, I know that technically she is mentally ill, but that does not make her exempt from her actions. If she knows how to manipulate people, she can be help accountable. I might not be reading the right blogs but I rarely see people criticize her. Quite the opposite, I see people gravitating towards her and identifying with her. I can’t excuse the way sexism allowed men to do this in the past and I will call that out if a popular show did that (but that won’t be necessary with all the Tumblr blogs looking for that kind of shit), but it’s crazy how no one likes to point out that abusive behavior. I sincerely hope they change that in the upcoming season because right now I hate her character….. almost as much as my next one.
The series “protagonist”, Miss Piper Chapman. As a starting point, Piper was a great way to introduce viewers to Litchfield prison. She offered a fresh set of eyes from the perspective an “everyman”, at least till the third season. At the current pace of the story, Piper is quickly becoming spoiled, entitled, privileged asshat who whines, cries, and acts surprised when she faces the consequences of her actions. The biggest and most recent example that comes to mind is when Piper snitched on Maria Ruiz because the latter opened up a rival contraband business. This causes Ruiz to have her sentence extended meaning that it would be a long time before she saw her daughter again. As retaliation, Ruiz and her gang abducted Piper and branded her with a swastika (I totally forgot to mention that Piper also started a White-Power gang in the prison). There are other examples in the recent seasons but that one really stood out to highlight Piper’s victim complex. Simply put, they need a new main character. Someone who is likable but knows how to handle themselves. I would have suggested Poussey but……… ya know.
I hope I adequately explained myself about why I feel the way I do about these characters. I do like the show and most of the cast and I am interested in seeing where this all goes. Wouldn’t it be a little messed up if the upcoming season feces all my criticisms and makes this whole post null and void. Hell, is that happens, I will happily go back and Broken Matt Hardy this thing. Guess we shall see….