I’ve taken enough time to let it settle in, rewatched a few episodes with my boyfriend who is late to the party, and already mourned the fact that I tore through it so quickly. I think it’s safe to say that OITNB lived up to the hype of its first season and continued to provide great entertainment, social commentary, and depth to a series that could easily become imbalanced and exploitative.
My favourite episode was the Valentines episode, which offered too many quotable lines to list, and provided viewers with a gentle reminder: love is simple, love is universal, and love is free. The season centered on the black women’s rise to power, led (astray?) by frightening, beautifully executed Vee, played by Yvonne Parker.
While the tensions within and between the black group and other inmates was a source of frustration for me throughout the season (LISTEN TO POUSSEY!!) it provided a lot of great character development for
Crazy Eyes Suzanne and Cindy, and created continuity throughout the season that didn’t rely on the snooze complaints of Piper. Larry and Polly provided some cringe-worthy scenes to get a snack during, and shockingly, I actually smiled when Pornstache returned! Pennsatucky somehow managed to deliver some of the best one-liners of the season (although her lack of religious vigor was a bit strange), and Soso replaced her as the most irritating prisoner.
Some politics, social issues (brought forward most evidently through the golden oldies), and corruption kept the humor in check and made for an overall solid second installment. I may have changed a few things, and could have done with a bit more Nickels, but the back stories were brilliant (I’ll even concede that Rosa’s was wonderfully entertaining, regardless of the fact that it was the least similar in terms of mannerisms/accent/looks) and the messaging supreme.
I read the book before the premiere, and during the first episode feared that I had ruined my viewing experience. Instead of a cheap laugh, the “vaseline glob” was presented in the memoir as a vital tip for the flight that would last for an undetermined length of time, depending on how many prisoners were being picked up, and where. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the discrepancies after reading “very few fights were seen” in the book and being treated to a rather violent brawl in the first episode. Still, as the focus shifted away from Piper and back to daily life at Litchfield, I happily watched and loved the second season.
This series will remain among my favourites, hopefully for a long time to come. Is it time for Season 3 yet?