Is orange the colour for summer?

We are a little bit late to the party, but have finally marathoned the new series of Orange is the New Black and be warned: there are spoilers ahead.

The third season of OITNB picks up not long after the last seasons climatic events and things seem to be quieting down at Litchfield Penitentiary. Perhaps a little too much after two seasons of moral ambiguities and criminal turmoil. This season strides away from the explicit content in the previous seasons; there are no extremely graphic prison beat downs, and a lot less lesbian sex.  However, we did get to see a nude Ruby Rose who definitely made me question my sexuality every time she was on screen.

That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of controversial mature issues in this season. In fact, under reassessment, there might actually be more mature content than ever before, but the overall tone of the season is a lot more comical than the initial two seasons. It seems the OITNB writers have finally found their harmonic balance between drama and comedy. I barely noticed any of the depressing scenes of rape, drug abuse and homophobia. Who would amidst panty gunge, Crazy Eye’s Fifty Shades of Orange and the rise of Judaism. So maybe it’s not a harmonious balance at all. Should a prison drama undermine the realities of prison, should it make the audience laugh and jeer ‘OH PIPER YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN YOU SILLY GOOSE, WHAT WILL DO WITH YOU!’

There was only one issue that packed a punch, Pennsatucky’s sexual assault, and maybe another handful that made you think beyond the present scene, such as Big Boo’s flashback to her struggle with her identity, Nicki’s drug habit and Soso’s depression. The extremely long final scene where everything works out just peachy for the majority of characters didn’t seem to sit well with the rest of the series. Some of the character development throughout the series was jarring but to suddenly solve their problems in one scene with a flick of the writers’ pen seemed even more so.

Will I be that person, with her head so snootily tilted upwards her nostrils absorb light, proclaiming ‘It’s not as good as the first two seasons, I preferred it when it was less popular’. The first season was fresh and new and in the second season the prison was rife with war and corruption. This one was fun! I enjoyed the series thoroughly, but in the same way I enjoyed desperate housewives.

OITNB season three is almost definitely worth the watch despite its shortcomings, such as Piper’s futile character development. The emotional investment the viewer has in each inmate from the previous seasons and the new character flashbacks means it is one of the better things you’ll watch this summer.

Of course, it all really depends what kind of program you like, but personally I prefer a little more of the morbid, dramatic black in my orange.


Lauren Emina-Bougaard


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