Orange Is the New Black

The first few episodes, I was mostly bored. The only thing that kept me going was Captain Janeway. She looked familiar somehow, but it took me three episodes to figure out who she was. She’s still in charge apparently, but she looks younger and she’s got cool hair. But it was still boring and slightly depressing. Then it became very depressive. Then suddenly it was totally infuriating, and now that I’m though the first season it’s back being depressing.

Normally when I don’t like a good series, and this a remarkably good series indeed, at least technically speaking, it’s because I can’t find a character to relate to on a personal level. It happens to me with Mad Men, where the only character I care about (Sally Draper) is hardly a regular, with Downton Abbey where basically I feel for the furniture, with Breaking Bad where I like the desert vegetation. Orange Is the New Black falls into this frame, a selfish problem of relatability in serialized series. It offers an impressive array of characters but I can’t find one who talks to me and it’s frustrating, hence the boredom.

But what about the depression? At some point I asked myself why am I finding this so depressing? And why am I suddenly and unexpectedly infuriated. The it hit me. It’s the same problem I have with Richard Yates: male characters being inherently evil or pathetic but still able to function, compared to female character who make bad choices and sink.

It’s probably me. But just as an experiment, consider this. We are presented with consistent arcs for each female character. They all start out as naive and innocent, then they make bad choices and they end up in prison, where they make some more bad choices that can work as narrative engines involving inherently evil or pathetic male characters. Isn’t it depressing? No? Ok, maybe it is just me then.

Anyway, if I ended up in prison, I would definitely skate at the Christmas Pageant, like Crazy Eyes.