It's good I've heard so much good stuff about this from various people I trust, because otherwise I would have never made it past episode three and missed out. It is sad that Jenji Kohan felt that she needed to use white, blonde, upper-middle-class Piper as a kind of Trojan horse to get people to watch something primarily about women not seen on TV as often—queer women, women of color, women of various body types, trans women, old women, etc.—but I don't doubt its true.
(On a side note, I love how we've finally gotten a few shows with POC in leading roles and already there have been concern troll-y "But what about the white men?!" articles.)
Anyway, once the episodes stopped focusing on Piper, I started liking the show much more.
Spoilers for S1-S3
My favorite part of this show is watching everyone evolve, Suzanne and Pennsatucky in particular right now. I was kind of on the line re: Suzanne's portrayal, especially in S1 with her crush on Piper, but I like how the writers have continually been adding depth to her character, from Vee taking her under wing in S2 to her sister-bond with Taystee after Vee's death and her little fan following. And I'm amazed they managed to make Pennsatucky likable after how terrible she was in S1, but I love her friendship with Big Boo.
I also like how the show has been moving from "how [character] got arrested and sentenced to prison" flashbacks to more thematic ones, where one episode will have flashbacks from multiple characters. It better reflects how the show has become more and more of an ensemble, even as some characters take the spotlight every now and then.
I find it interesting how nearly every male character has a streak of paternalism and misogyny in them that emerges—possibly it would be different if there were male inmates along with the guards, but the power dynamic is so off balance that even the men who do want to help can be unthinkingly destructive. Healy in particular creeps me out, because he's so bought into the Nice Guy view of himself.
Also, the opening song is the best.
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