Since its debut in 2013, Orange is the New Black has been critically acclaimed and wildly popular among viewers. The riotous prison dramedy series has garnered numerous award nominations and wins; it serves as no surprise that the show was renewed for another three seasons earlier this year, with season five premiering this summer. That’s right, you can rest assured that you will get to see at least three more seasons of the criminal cuties that you have come to know and love! The hit Netflix original series was adapted from the memoir of Piper Kerman, a Boston native who was indicted on charges of money laundering and drug trafficking in 1998. Kerman served thirteen months at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. She released her book, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison in 2010. Now, she can watch a slightly embellished version of her prison stint on Netflix. From the moment you hear the catchy opening song, “You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spektor, hilarity, odd friendships, crazy plot twists and all kinds of lady love await. Check out these behind the scenes candid shots that make us believe prison can actually be fun sometimes.
15. All Smiles
These ladies know how to have a blast on and offset. In between takes, the Litchfield lovelies somehow found the time to gather in close and flash those pearly whites for the camera. Orange is the New Black (affectionately abbreviated OITNB) was created by Jenji Kohan who adapted the concept of the show from the aforementioned memoir of Piper Kerman, obviously the inspiration behind the show’s main character, Piper Chapman. Unlike broadcast television shows, Netflix series viewership and ratings are hard to pinpoint. However, twelve Emmy nods in the show’s first season help to paint the picture that the ladies in orange are here to stay. Cast members from left to right are: Danielle Brooks who plays Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, Uzo Aduba who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Taylor Schilling the series star, Piper Chapman, Vicky Jeudy who plays Janae Watson, Adrienne C. Moore who plays Cindy “Black Cindy” Hayes, and lastly an unidentified crew member.
14. Friends Who Watch Videos On Their Phones Together, Stay Together
“Black Cindy,” Poussey Washington, played by actress Samira Wiley and Janae appear to be watching an intriguing video in this photo. In its pilot season, OITNB won Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. During the show’s second season, it became the first series to be nominated in both drama and comedy categories, which landed it safely in the dramedy category. When thinking about these three in particular, it is hard to decide which moments of the show are their most memorable. Is it “Black Cindy’s” (not to be confused with White Cindy, a fellow Litchfield inmate) conversion to Judaism for the sole purpose of receiving Kosher meals which were undoubtedly tastier than regular correctional facility cuisine? Or is it Poussey’s tragic death at the end of season four which had us all donning “Rest in Peace Poussey” t-shirts the following day? There have been so many quotable moments, it’s hard to pick just one.
13. Oh Hey!
OITNB got lots of media attention and Emmy nods for its first three seasons. However, they only garnered one nomination for casting for its fourth season which has fans and blogs wondering if the thrill is gone for critics. Will season five put these ladies back in talks of Emmy nominations this year? Guess we will have to wait and see! In this photo are meth enthusiast, Leanne Taylor played by Emma Myles, the dim-witted but lovable Marisol ‘Flaca’ Gonzales (affectionately named Flaca by her bestie and fellow inmate, Maritza, who said her head was full of caca) played by Jackie Cruz, and Carrie “Big Boo” Black played by Lea DeLaria. Emma Myles along with thirty two other cast members of this show have also appeared on Law & Order. Wonder what the connection could be there, cue the infamous Law & Order sound effect!
12. Looney Lorna Morello
Squeaky voiced and lovably insane Morello is played by Australian actress Yael Stone. With her 1950s Hollywood glam hairstyles (kept flawlessly intact by being rolled with tampons every night), coffee ground eye shadow and ever present ruby red lips, Morello kept us laughing, crying, disturbed and secretly hoping that her fantasy wedding to her imaginary fiancé Christopher would actually come true one day. Morello was serving time for aggravated stalking, violation of a restraining order and attempted murder after breaking into her pretend fiancé’s home and strangling his girlfriend; that’s right, Morello was actually not his girlfriend, not even a little bit. She carried on a racy relationship with fellow inmate, Nicky Nichols, for seasons one and two. That is of course until she met and married her pen pal, Vince Muccio. These two prove to be a match made in psycho heaven. We will have to wait and see how their relationship plays out in season five.
11. Trust No B—
Ruby Rose’s character, Stella Carlin, also known as Justin Bieber, was gone almost as quickly as she arrived as she appeared briefly in seasons three and four as Piper’s love interest. Of course this was to her former lover Alex Vause’s (played by Laura Prepon) dismay. Piper and Stella worked together on Piper’s illegal panty operation which sold panties worn by inmates to perverts online (gag). Piper soon learns that Stella, although charming and ridiculously good looking, is not to be trusted. She learns this after Stella gives her a very telling tattoo on her arm and also after she steals the proceeds from Piper’s panty business. Piper retaliates by planting forbidden items in Stella’s bunk before a routine search which landed Stella in maximum security at the end of season three. Well played, Piper. Well played. As her tattoo clearly states… well, you know what it says! If you don’t, fifty bucks says you are googling it right this very second.
10. Murder She Wrote
Alex Vause (played by Laura Prepon) and Lolly Whitehill (played by Lori Petty) are pictured here bruised and bloody after they just finished dismembering and hiding the body! One of the most scandalous plotlines of the show’s fourth season involved the murder of a prison guard who Alex believed was sent to Litchfield by her former drug lord boss to kill her. She beat him to the punch! With the help of another inmate, Frieda, Alex and Lolly dismember the guard’s corpse and stash his remains throughout the community garden. After all, decomposing corpses make for good fertilizer, right? Unfortunately, Alex’s little murder plot goes viciously awry when Lolly’s psychosis starts acting up again, don’t you just hate when that happens? During a session with Healy, Lolly confesses to killing the guard but Healy believes that she is making it all up; she is crazy after all. Once the dismembered body was found in the garden, Healy realizes that she was not making it up at all.
9. Litchfield Ladies Love Lattes (say that fast five times!)
Poussey and Crazy Eyes are seen here with Dayanara “Daya” Diaz, played by actress Dascha Polanco and Gloria Mendoza also known as Mendoza, played by actress Selenis Leyva are pictured here enjoying some caffeine in between takes. Writers of this show have shown us that they are all about using this platform to tackle some difficult issues facing our society. For example, Poussey’s death in season four sparked a lot of conversation. The circumstances of her death were intended to mirror the controversial deaths of Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York in July 2014 and Mike Brown of Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. A prison guard held his knee in her back as her thin frame was forced against the cold cafeteria floor during what started as a peaceful protest. A riot quickly erupted and the officer could not hear Poussey yelling and pleading that she could not breathe. Sadly, she suffocated. Her body was left on the cafeteria floor for several hours until the guards could figure out how they would spin this with authorities and the media.
Here we see the hated but later beloved Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, played by actress Taryn Manning, taking direction on set. After being an antagonist when she first appears in season one, Doggett later has a change of heart. A born again Christian, precious Pennsatucky makes it her personal duty to spread the gospel to her fellow inmates at Litchfield. Her character’s storyline also bought attention to the issue of mistreatment and sexual assault of inmates by correctional officers after she is raped by an officer in season 3. Her sympathy and continued attraction to him made viewers uncomfortable. In an interview for Cosmopolitan, Manning said that it was difficult for her to film the van rape scene but even more disturbing for her co-star, James McMenamin. “So when he got the script, he was rather pissed. Pretty, like hurt. I guess he had just done a play where, I don’t know if he played a rapist or there was a rape scene, but he wasn’t happy about it, let’s just say. He just had a baby. So it’s like, I don’t know if this is not going to go over good with his wife, or— this is just not what he wanted to be doing.”
7. Pregnant In The Pen
Maria Ruiz, played by actress Jessica Pimentel’s pregnancy on the show started the conversation about the issue of women giving birth while serving prison sentences. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 6-10% of female inmates are pregnant. It is estimated that 1,400 women in the United States give birth while incarcerated in the United States. In the heartbreaking moments after Ruiz gave birth to her baby, she had to part with her to serve the rest of her sentence which was initially six additional years. Her sentence was extended after a bitter war ensued between she and Piper who snitched on her and got her an additional three to five years at Litchfield. Boys and girls— well girls— the moral of this story is, don’t get pregnant and go to jail.
6. All In Together Now
Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, played by actress Uzo Aduba, was the second breakout star of OITNB, second only to the show’s main character, Piper Chapman. She won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in the show’s inaugural season. She went on to win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in season two. She also won a SAG award for Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for seasons two and three. When the circumstances surrounding sentencing unfolded in season four, it left us all wondering, should she really be in prison? With her childlike innocence and obvious battle with a mental illness resembling schizophrenia, her behavior begs the question, wouldn’t she be better suited at a psychiatric facility? Crazy Eyes is definitely a fan favorite but the ladies of Litchfield know not to cross her. If crossed, she can develop a mean streak that no one wants to be on the receiving end of.
5. Sweet, Sweet Revenge
Was anyone else completely unable to focus on anything or anyone else when Blanca Flores, played by actress Laura Gomez, was in a scene? The captivating powers of her unibrow are second to none. Although quiet and seemingly sinister, we learn more about Blanca in later seasons. For instance that she was madly in love with her boyfriend Diablo whom she met before Litchfield while working for a mean old lady. She and her man got “creative” in seeking revenge on the old lady who employed them both— Diablo was her gardener and Blanca was her caregiver. When Millie, the elderly woman they worked for, found out that the two were attracted to each other, she fired Diablo and replaced him with a different gardener. If you haven’t already, you’ll have to tune in to episode nine of season four to see how Blanca and Diablo have their revenge on Millie. Nobody fires Blanca’s gardener boyfriend and gets away with it!
Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson is the bodacious yet intelligent tough girl who is serving time for heroin trafficking. Upon her release date, she realizes that she enjoys life at Litchfield more than life on the outside and decided to intentionally violate her parole in order to return. During seasons one and two, she spends her time working in the library and having intellectually stimulating conversations with her bestie Poussey. Things take a turn for the worst when Poussey kisses her and Taystee rejects her. Unfortunately, their friendship became very strained and awkward after that and the two are rarely shown together again in the following seasons. Although a bit rough around the edges, more than likely because she spent the majority of her life bouncing from foster home to foster home, Taystee is highly intelligent and ambitious in spite of her current circumstances.
3. Pipes Hanging Around In The Restrooms
Piper’s transition from privileged, docile WASP to cold, calculated prison mean girl was nothing less than legendary. In an interview with People Style last summer, Schilling talked about her favorite aspect of playing Piper. “I think it’s very liberating to play a character who doesn’t wear makeup. It knocks away one level of artifice, and I think that is what I appreciate most about acting. It’s trying to drill down to the truth of a character, or situation or a circumstance and in some cases, lots of makeup helps with that. In this situation, in the story of Piper Chapman, it really illuminates interesting parts of her that she doesn’t wear any makeup.” Before OITNB, the virtually unknown actress appeared in Dark Matter in 2007. Oddly enough she played an inmate then as well.
2. Ladies Love Joe Caputo
It’s hard to decide what fans love most about Caputo. Is it the fact that he plays guitar in a garage band called Side Boob (their song “You Slay Me” is available on Bandcamp by the way) or his shameless knack for “self love” in his office? Caputo is a softy in a world where being nice is not acceptable. As Litchfield’s Director of Human Activities, he struggles to gain the respect and cooperation of his subordinates. With flashbacks to his glory days as a wrestler and the sad story of his wife leaving him for another man, we can see that Caputo is soft because he’s been hurt and seems to have a trail of disappointments behind him. Fans are curious to see if Caputo will eventually find his strength and play a stronger role in coming seasons.
1. Randomness Ensues
This photo was posted by Uzo Adoba with the caption: “Just another day at the office. Don’t ask me what we’re doing #tbt #oitnb.” In an interview with TV Guide this summer, OITNB creator Jenji Kohan opened up about her motives behind the storylines of the show. “I love that our way in was this kind of yuppie white girl story, because if you go to a network and say, ‘I want to talk about Latinos and blacks and their prison experience and the cycle of poverty,’ it’s not going to be a big sale.” Kohan says. This interview for TV Guide was conducted amid online grumblings by fans that Piper’s storyline had taken a backseat to the storylines of the other women in the prison. Whether you tune in for your love of Piper or because you are intrigued by the female prison system, the fact of the matter is— you do tune in. More than likely, you will be tuning in this summer when season five debuts as well. Perhaps now is a good time to begin binging on previous seasons to refresh your memory on exactly what it is that makes you love those Litchfield ladies so much. With humungous dramatic prison shoes to fill, season five better not disappoint.