What I Hated the Least Today 173/365: Orange Is the New Black

Orange & Black
Orange & Black

A whole new series of Orange Is the New Black has been released a few days ago. Since I act like I had no work to do and since I like a challenge, I challenged myself to watch all the thirteen episodes in a single sitting. I failed, but it was a borderline fail:

  • day one: was warming up and saw three episodes
  • day two: saw eight episodes and consequently went to bed at seven am
  • day three: finished off the two remaining episodes

I arrived at several conclusions:

  • Binge watching is harder than it looks. Even sitting is harder than it looks.
  • People are getting increasingly weird. As I was searching on YouTube for some clips of my favourite scenes, I found plenty of videos recording individual viewers’ immediate reactions when watching an episode. That’s even less interesting than watching someone unpacking an iPhone. It made me feel extremely embarrassed for them. It was mostly millennial kids, who are notorious for doing awkward things online. This is currently my number one on the list of lame things to do online (says a lame blogger who posts pictures of her shoes).
  • All TV shows, even those that are supposed to entertain rather than educate, have an annoying moral. The moral of the last series of Orange Is the New Black, pressed hard in heart-to-heart talks and would-be-teary scenes repeatedly throughout each episode, is that people are persons. I like neither moral lessons, nor statements of the obvious, nor pointless talk. An idealist man will spend time vainly asserting that he is entitled to something on the grounds of his being a person; a practical man, seeing that being a human doesn’t entail that one lives under humane conditions, will zip it up and deal with it.

I enjoyed the series more than it probably looks. I would even go so far as to say I hate it the least (at least for today). Despite the inevitable presence of ideology, the series has redeeming features, such as my absolute favourite character of the Russian-born Red, whose quote from the previous series that I saw a year ago is so to the point that I still remember it and recycle it in conversation: “Nice is for weak people and democrats.” You can’t argue with her.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

33 thoughts

  1. Wow. I haven’t watched even a snippet of Orange is the new Black. I’m vaguely aware of that it’s about a women’s prison. I do know something about binge watching, though.

    Already back when we rented video cassettes, I did binge watching. My (then)husband was at sea. I was pleased to see, in the video store window, that they had Winds of War (by Herman Wouk). I’d read those books countless times, and was eager to watch it. Went in, told the guy I wanted to rent Winds of War. “Sure”, he said … “which part, there are 18!”. I lived next door to them, so I just went back and picked up new ones as I kept watching. That was probably the worst binge watching I’ve done 🙂.

    “Damages” with Glen Close on Netflix … that was a bad one too, but one of the better shows I’ve ever seen.

    “Nice” must be the most over-used word in the English language, but so damned easy to turn to when you can’t come up with anything better. It’s nice to have. Duh!


    1. Yes, Orange Is the New Black is set in a woman’s prison, which is quite an interesting premise. I think the series is well done, it’s critically successful and popular among viewers. So, I guess I can recommend it, if you fancy watching something new 😉

      I used to rent video tapes a lot when it was a thing. I would sometimes watch a feature film a day. But then, I also had a period when I was watching soap operas. I’m still ashamed of myself for that 😮

      Haha, yes, nice is sometimes nice to have, but I always prefer direct people rather than nice people, and it’s tough people, not kind people, who have my respect. Sadly, I’m very much of a nice person myself, and it’s not getting me anywhere.


      1. Interesting. Just started to think about what people have my respect. Depends on a few things, I guess, but people with brains, but not just that … it also depends on how they conduct themselves towards others.

        I doubt I’m even nice LOL … I don’t know. I’m sure not getting anywhere, but I’m fine with that.


        1. Smart and sensible people are probably worth respect… My point was that I incline to be nice and help others at my own expense, which is so not getting me anywhere. I wish my parents had been a bit more realistic and had brought me up for this world, not an ideal world.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Red too. I really enjoy the show but still have 4 episodes to go. I too had the plan of binge-watching but so far it has taken me 4 sittings I think. One more!


    1. Great to meet a fellow Red fan 🙂 I’m surprised that other people like her too, I wouldn’t call her exactly an endearing character. Enjoy the final episodes, I think you won’t find them disappointing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure she’s gruff and direct but she has a heart of gold. And she’s hilarious. Thank you, I still haven’t gotten any further. I’ve been busy building a new website for work.


          1. I always seem to read your comments while having or needing coffee. Or maybe I just always have or need coffee. It’s 1 degree Celsius right now and I’m snuggled up with a coffee on the couch. I finished OITNB last night and have to admit I cried for the last two episodes. And I still love Red. Even more after this season.


  3. I did watch series one and then found myself bored when series two started. It was an endless circle of woe and grief…I do watch TV series start to finish…I found myself engrossed in Nashville and now await series 4 to see what happens next. I like that there are multiple plot lines going on at the same time…and I love flawed characters, probably because I relate to them…lol


    1. True, it’s not a very upbeat series! Still, it’s occasionally brilliantly funny, and I root for black humour. Flawed characters are my favourites too. It’s the flaws that are interesting, not perfection. I didn’t know Nashville, but I Googled and it’s now under consideration 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It took me a long time to get to Nashville and a few episodes to get into it but as I love performance there are some great moments and for me good music. And delightfully flawed characters.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. They released the new season just as my kids broke up for a ten week summer break. I have kids with me 24/7 now so I’m lucky if I see a couple of episodes a week let alone binge watching. Trying to avoid spoilers for the season is my main challenge right now as everyone assumes that everyone binge watches. I’m with you incidentally: Red is the best character.


    1. You’re up to a demanding summer! Ten weeks? Nice for the kids; we have eight weeks here. I always find it admirable that, besides family duties, you find some little time to be creative and blog.

      I promise there will be no spoilers for the series here. I think it lives up to the expectations, so hopefully you’ll like it. It’s a surprise for me that you like Red, I imagined this character would get more hate than love 😉 I have a weak spot for tough people/characters, that’s why she’s my favourite.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We had six weeks in summer and that felt long. Ten weeks here is ridiculous. We are fortunate in that I have not been in paid employment since emigrating so we don’t have to pay through the nose for summer camp childcare for four all summer. However, I have to keep on top of my kids’ literacy and numeracy all summer in order to prevent educational recidivism. It is too long out of the classroom for them to retain knowledge adequately ahead of the new school year.

        I find time for art and for blogging because my kids are all old enough now to entertain themselves for portions of the day. Breaking projects down into stages helps me find and make time for my art and I absolutely need that creative space and “me time” to decompress from the stresses of the day. It helps that I don’t watch much TV.

        I am always drawn to flawed characters or antiheroes. I think that is why King Lear is my favourite Shakespeare play and Great Expectations is my favourite Dickens novel. Obviously the fact it is a prison drama means the show is filled with antiheroes and flawed characters but I think Red is the best written of those characters with the perfect balance between her maternal, nurturing side and her harsh, coldness. I also think hers is one of the strongest acting performances in the show.


        1. Ten weeks sounds a bit excessive. That must throw the kids and the parents alike out of balance completely. You do sound like you have a good plan though.

          It’s so important to find some time for oneself! Funnily, though I live alone, so it would seem that I have all the time for myself, I’ve also found that I consciously need to allocate some space to myself when I don’t work and just take a rest. I always feel bad when I’m not doing anything useful, but it is essential for decompressing, as you say.

          You’re right, Red is a well-balanced character as you describe it. I find it fascinating how well the actress emulates the Russian accent – I don’t have an ear for accents really, so I can’t say to what extent it is actually accurate, but the impression works great for me. I’m also fascinated with the acting of the Lorna character actress, the pathologically jealous girl. I hate the character so fiercely – which is silly, it’s just a TV character – the point being that the actress performs so well that she makes me hate her character.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I couldn’t get into that series, but I did like Red. My favourite series is Penny Dreadful at the moment. Wonderful screenplay and acting. Gothic done right. Have you heard of it?


      1. It’s set in 19th century London, very dark. Scary but in a different way. Not gruesome, just monstrous… Let me know what you think of it. And avoid all spoilers. I envy that you’re just about to start it!


  6. YES!!! I binge watched it on 3 nights too!
    I agree that binge watching is harder than it looks. I had to endure some long days at work and I was tired because of a lack of sleep. I also agree that unboxing iphones is totally lame, unboxing pizzas on the other hand… 😀


    1. Unboxing pizzas is an act of subversion, and I’m all for subversion. And pizza. Congrats on what I know firsthand to be not a little achievement, watching some thirteen hours of material within three days!


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