What’s everyone’s favorite prison? Seems like an odd question, I know. However, if I were to answer it myself, I would say Azkaban. I mean come on, if you’re a 90s baby or even a millennial and beyond, and you don’t like some HP, we are not starting on the right foot.
For now, though, let us move beyond prisons of the mystical and magical world and talk about those in reality. We hear of prisons, whether it be Guantanamo in Cuba (fact check) or even the Baltimore County Detention Center. The reason I mention the latter is because I listened to a report on NPR, and learned about some of the violence, drug dealing, prostitution, and other not so pretty things about the Baltimore County Detention Center. The general stereotype about jails and prisons is that they are not the place to be. Yet, Netflix has brought to life the Litchfield County Prison, and I can say there are quite a few times where Orange Is The New Black made you want to join Piper and the gang.
Without further ado, here’s why we’d like to spend some time in Litchfield County Prison:
15. The Beauty Of Less Chores
I don’t know about you, but I for one hate doing chores. Can you imagine getting to wear underwear and not have to follow through with doing laundry? The dirty laundry business that Ms. Piper Chapman got running was genius. She got her connections set straight on both the inside and the outside. She definitely managed to get a whole crew of ladies behind her to do the hardest part: sew the panties and wear the panties. This was all followed by the brilliant Chapman brother, who managed to help Piper smuggle off the panties, to then be sold to creepos who liked to smell them. I can’t be one to judge, after all, someone could think things I do are weird, but dirty panties people… dirty panties.
14. The Definition Of “Squad Goals”
OITNB made it clear from season 1 that the women of Litchfield are divided by bunks and also by race. Now, we live in a world where we have seen a lot of division of race, especially recently, but the general positive message is that we embrace all races and cultures as one. I’m on board, but I do have to acknowledge the loyalty these women have to each other, especially their own squads. They look out for one another and they always have an open shoulder for one to cry on, as well as a helping hand in every scenario. Whether it was Lolly helping Alex in season 4 or Jefferson standing by Crazy Eyes in every situation, we couldn’t help but love it. In fact, a unifying act was demonstrated by Piper when she got on the table with Flores in an effort to stand up to the guards in a time where there was a quite a drift among the varying “squads”on the show.
13. Indulging In The Beauty Of Nature
Yes, I realize prison is not a happy place and it is not an environment that is designed to be comfortable, enjoyable, or even safe for the matter. Nonetheless, the women of Litchfield are assigned different tasks. We see construction, maintenance, electrical, housekeeping, kitchen services, and the like. We also see gardening, and that we see quite a bit of in season 4. Cliché as it might sound, our world has become transformed by the presence of technology. We have lost sight of our connection with nature, more or less. I, for one, would love to learn gardening. I enjoy cooking, so it would be nice to pick my own vegetables. People, flowers are pretty, so why not learn how to grow them? These women get to do exactly that.
12. Learning The Art Of Resourcefulness
Resourcefulness requires brainpower. Piper made eye slips out of period pads. Like what?! Brilliant. I would not have thought of that. If you are an avid OITNB fan, then you know that the commissary does not provide the inmates with everything that they need, especially when there is a shortage of sorts. That being said, inmates of Litchfield learn to adapt to their living circumstances and resourcefulness is a word that is added to all of their vocabulary, in order to better their housing conditions. Besides the pad incident, I give Red and Gloria major props for the various food options they provided, considering how crappy some of the food ingredients are. What about Sophia? Let’s be real, there is no way the commissary has the appropriate tools and materials that other salons do, but there is no stopping Sophia.
11. Family By Love, Not Blood
It’s a beautiful thing, that four-lettered word we call love. As viewers of OITNB, we see many forms of love throughout the four seasons – mother-daughter, guard-inmate, and lesbian lovers. The one form seems to be the most consistent out of all of them is that of family; Jefferson and her mom, Maria and Daya and their mom Aleida, and Red and Nichols. The other two mentioned mother-daughter relationships tie them together by blood, which is of course a nice sight to see when the prison environment itself is like. Yet, Red and Nichols are not related. No matter how many times Nichols falls for the devil of drugs itself, or even when Nichols stole her precious mirror, Red never gives up on her.
10. Your Ride Or Die
Pennsatucky and Boo, Pousse & Jefferson, Alex and Piper, Nichols and Morello, Flaca & Maritza, Gloria & Aleida… the list goes on and on. These are some of the most seen examples of BFFs, for lack of better words. These pairs of ladies demonstrate, time and time again, the definition of friendship (what we call in modern pop-culture as your “ride or die”). I’m gonna stop you for a second to mention one little thing: prison sucks. I hope that does not come off as a “shocker” or an “eye-opener,” but a fact is a fact, am I right? Now Alex and Piper have a bit of a romantic history, but they too after time and time again, show their loyalty for one another.
We are talking about an entirely female prison, so naturally, my choice of titling this section HBIC is not much of a stretch. The characters seem to have a rise and fall at one point or another: Red in the kitchen, Gloria in the kitchen, Sophia in the aesthetic scene, Judy King in the popularity sense, and Miss Piper with her panty parade. However, the one that always seems to make a comeback is Red, the Russian Mama. Gloria is the feisty Hispanic mama. While she might be their head boss, she came into the kitchen as an underdog. Piper played the role of the rookie with her panty business. Red, however, is like a boomerang – she always comes back. Queen Red embodies the acronym of HBIC to its core with her fiery red hair, thick Russian accent, and endless sarcasm; she definitely knows how to give the guards a run for their money.
8. “Hey There, Ladies”
Is it a coincidence that the producers of OITNB have chosen a cast of women who are quite the lookers? There is no denying that the combination of hideous clothing and unsanitary environment has given an image of a majority of the cast that is not entirely pleasing to the eye. My friends, I invite you to take a look beyond the screen. Also, have any of you seen images of these ladies off screen? Not just one, but the entire crew definitely knows how to clean up when they aren’t wearing that jumpsuit. Shall we mention when Ruby Rose joined the cast? Her character was short lived, but she definitely was a much longer hit on social media.
7. Making Time For Yourself
Again, there is no glory of being in prison, but think about it… the ladies of Litchfield have recess. There is a friggin’ track there. We see Piper running from time to time. I for one, would come out a track star. Also, there is a library. Not to sound like a nerd (not that there is anything wrong with that), but I would hit up the stacks and come out like Aristotle or Einstein even. Am I the only one who sees this side of it? As far I am concerned, these inmates spend so much time with drama, drugs, and romance, that no one really sets any time aside for themselves.
6. That Rule Breaker
I would like to take a moment and show my appreciation for Joel Luschek. There are quite a few guards who break the rules, or even laws. We got guards who sleep with inmates, sabotage inmates, pressure inmates, and then we have one that does drugs with inmates. Technically, he is a criminal and his butt should be in jail, but I think we can all agree that he is by far the most fun of all the guards. The dude is funny. He is the one that manages to get himself in some sort of mess time and time again. Of course, Luschek usually doesn’t find out, because if he did, things would not be pretty.
5. Freestyle Rapping
It is not something that comes up in every episode per se, but there was a scene, and if you are an OITNB lover, you know exactly what I am talking about – the scene where the cast broke out freestyle rapping. Freestyling is a serious art that many rappers have and use freely. It is very difficult to just come up with rhymes on the spot with absolutely no preparation. It is truly incredible to see any rapper freestyle and see what they can come up with. When this came on the show, I was amazed and it was definitely a scene I will never forget. Who could have thought that a scene like this would come up on the show? These women are not only great actresses but they are also great rappers.
We are lucky enough to live in an amazingly diverse country. Diversity is knowledge; it is growth. For many of the women in Litchfield, they were victims of circumstance (and some definitely were not). Yet, they were brought together under one roof. When you live with others, you learn a lot about them. More times than not, you learn things you do not want to. For example, there is no privacy in prison – you SEE and HEAR everything. I’ll let you think of the rest. At the same time, though, it is a learning process for yourself, internally and externally. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture, but there is a takeaway with every episode, a special meaning that could speak volumes if well understood.
3. Are you DTF?
Call me crazy, but human beings have needs… sexual needs to be specific. Well, I would say that that is not necessarily an issue for the women of Litchfield. With every passing season, we see new characters and new relationships start and end, but there are a few that are always the same, including the stars Chapman and Vause. Morello and Nichols were a thing for awhile until Luschek ratted her out, leading to Morello getting hitched. In season 4, Nichols is back and quite frankly, her feelings for Morello have not died down in the least. And of course, a majority favorite: Daya and Bennett and their innocent forbidden romance that ultimately got ruined. More times than not, it leads to drama and awkward encounters between partners, but love is like a boomerang…it always comes back (and so do sexual partners).
2. Weekly Movie Night
Uh, yes. Please. There is quite the beef over who gets to control the TV at what hours on what days. Since a family of five (my own) can’t even share the numerous TVs in the house, how is one supposed to comprehend a correctional facility of many, many women trying to share a TV or two? My sister would tell me how residence halls at her undergrad would have movie nights, but once a blue moon. Seriously, though, weekly movie nights? For free? Sign me up. I would be the first one on the list. It is one of those things that gets discussed and then no one would follow through.
1. Who’s Coming Next?
Crime is not prejudice – it reels in people of all color, races, religions, social class, and economic status aka celebrities. Prime example: Judy King. Half of Litchfield went nuts when they found out that this Martha Stewart-equivalent became a criminal and ended up in a correctional facility. Well, this celebrity, because it is completely fair, received special treatment. She got her own room. She got a soda maker. She got herself some drugs. She pretty much got whatever she wants, except when Caputo forced her to teach cooking skills to the other inmates. Let’s be real, she was not feeling that. Regardless of the fact, these women got to interact with a celebrity. Hey, some even got SUPER close to her with the paparazzi photos and relationship scam. Yeah, Judy King definitely brought a new face to Litchfield and a lot of attention that I am not sure Caputo wanted.