“Wow, and I do mean wow. Have you seen [Orange is the New Black] beyond the trailer? It doesn’t glorify prison at all, if anything it highlights the problems also seen in real prisons in the US, while being enjoyable enough to watch. I think you are jumping to conclusions due to some wish for conflict, even when none exists. Make some popcorn and watch the show. If you still don’t like it watch something else, the cool thing about netflix is the inherent ability to watch or not watch whatever you choose. Don’t try to ruin it for the rest of us who enjoy it, simply click the I’m not interested button and be done with it.” — a comment on Dear Netflix: Thanks for Making Prison Cool
A TV show about being in prison that is “enjoyable enough to watch”? The idea makes my skin crawl. “That’s entertainment!” Imagine how popular public executions will be? Or maybe just floggings to start… I guess we don’t have to jump to the extreme. Let’s work our way up to it.
Whatever happened to tap dancing? Clearly, we are so numb to violence, we don’t consider caging humans a violent act. It can actually be entertaining!
What I mean by “glorifying” prison life is NOT that this show makes prison life seem fun and fantastic, a goal to which every young girl should aspire. Although with today’s overly medicated youth, it’s not out of the question.
I mean that it normalizes prison life. By the end of the first season, watchers will no longer be horrified by seeing a friend’s daughter go to prison for a year for smoking pot: “It won’t be so bad. I watched a reality show about this very thing. I’m now educated on what real prison is like. She’ll survive it.” Then everyone will set their alarms so as not to miss the next exciting episode and no longer worry about the real young woman in jail. She’ll be fine and everyone who watched the show knows this. Heck, it could do her some good.
Research the effects of TV watching. It’s a hypnotic device, hence a training device. Even if you are smarter than the show, human’s are so easily hypnotize-able. This is what marketing is all about: hypnotizing us, changing how we think about things.
I used to LOVE cop shows but I can’t enjoy them anymore for the same reason: they glorify cops who, with rare exception, are always moral. They normalize the idea that cops who break the law to get the bad guy are somehow still law-abiding. They are forced to work outside an imperfect system to protect us. Uh, baloney.
And the bad guys just kept getting badder and badder! By the time I stopped watching, the bad guys were such monsters, they made Hannibal look sane.
We start to “know” that horribly scary bad guys are right around the next corner, and that cops are so brave to continue to do what they do. More baloney.
Lawyer shows do the same thing: normalize the court system, make lawyers out to be noble, and the court system, except in very rare instances, the last bastion for the free man. Sit in on your local courthouse proceedings one day and you’ll see that nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all about revenue generation and the poorest among us are its victims.
The last lawyer show I watched was a Harry’s Law episode. I am a huge Kathy Bates’ fan and watched the show just to see her. During that show, they put a pot dealer away for 10 years and were patting themselves on the back for it! This sends a message that the drug war is good, pot dealers are bad and a decade in prison is a suitable punishment. It disgusted me.
I do watch The Good Wife online. In a recent show, the son recorded a cop, a real bigshot, while he pulled them over, verbally harassed them, then performed an illegal search.
The lawyer’s kid DISOBEYED THE OFFICER’S ORDER to delete the video. Then the kid posted it on youtube. It got hundreds of 1000s of views and the cop had to eat crow. Although the ending was not real life — cops get away with murder in real life — this was a good training.
Imprisoning people has become a money-making business. The U.S. imprisons a larger portion of its population than any other country in the world. And not by just a little bit. It has twice as many people in prison per capita than places we have always considered communist hellholes, like Russia and China.
The prison industry no longer has anything to do with justice. It is all about money for prison corporations. Do you know what the largest most powerful lobby is in CA, home of the entertainment industry? The prison guard union. The more prisoners and the longer the jail terms, the better for them. This is what they lobby for!!! Sick.
I love profit, I’m all for the free market. Today’s prisons are not free market. They are government-sponsored monopolies and they make money by putting human beings in cages for victimless crimes. This is insane, it is tyrannical. The normalization of prison life for the financial benefit of the state and the prison industrial complex is not entertainment.
UPDATE: I’ve done a 165 on the show (although not on the politics). Please read my comment here. Thank you.
Hey Chad, let me address your ad hominem attack because it will be so much fun.
Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts here plus 30 years working in live theatre, both acting and directing. I know bad acting when I see it. Nothing deep going on in the show, no acting below the surface. It was practically mugging.
I do have a clue what prison is like, actually. I have done long stints off and on doing volunteer work in prisons. I also have friends and relatives who have been inside. At the moment, I don’t have any friends barbaric enough to work in a prison system, aiding and abetting the caging of human beings for victimless crimes.
I never claimed none of it happened. I have no doubt it does. But that’s besides the point. It’s not what happens inside prison walls, but the normalizing of that experience for television audiences that I object to.
I tried very hard to see it with an open mind. I had cashews and kombucha and sat in the comfiest chair just like when I watch good shows. The explicit sex in the opening was so exactly what I suspected, that it was almost impossible to keep an open mind after that. I did watch the whole thing. Yay for me.
Nobody’s opinion has any more weight than anyone else’s. Unless you are looking for agreement to give credibility to your own.
I lived in Key West for 30 years, and in Manhattan pursuing an acting career for six before that. I do, of course, have transgender friends. There is nothing you can teach me about alternative lifestyles. That woman was practically a caricature right out of Chained Heat. I found that offensive.
Watching people take their punishment is not entertainment. This show is propaganda that being in prison is a normal circumstance and it could happen to anyone.
Bad writing and acting? I’m not sure we are watching the show, because you can’t find either of those in this show.
“Too much makeup”? Do you have any actual clue what prison is like? Take it from someone who has countless family members and friends who work in prisons. A lot of the stuff you apparently find to be ridiculous…happens. You have some of the most ridiculously petty critiques of this show. It’s obvious that you were never really willing to give it a chance. You went in with an “I’m going to hate this” attitude from the get-go. Romy is right in that you are completely wrong about the show making prison cool or “normalizing” it. Sorry, but in this case, the real Piper’s opinion (which Romy linked to) has a bit more weight than your own.
Also…”boy-girl”? Nice ignorant transphobic comment. What you meant was a transgender woman. It may comes as a complete shocker to you, but they do exist and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I watched the first episode. Epic fail: bad writing, bad bad acting and predictably pretentious. Opens with a lesbian sex scene followed by a hetero sex scene… followed by shower scenes with more lesbo action. Everybody can relax: there’s plenty of nudity and graphic sex to go around.
Inmates wearing too much makeup or none at all, including at least one boy-girl, inmates playing crude tricks on each other, guards jacking off after being turned on by a woman in distress, lots of tears, a panic attack and too many references to “your head’s not here yet”. I haven’t seen anything this bad since Borat.
The show is billed as “heartbreaking and hilarious”; I found it neither. Putting people in a cage is not entertainment.
In the name of fairness, I will watch at least a few episodes. I doubt my pov will change. Weeds changed nothing: the DEA is raiding medical marijuana shops in Washington as we speak. Crime shows changed nothing: still got crime and cops are more militarized than ever. In fact, they seem to be platforms to promote the idea that citizens should not have guns. This show will not change public sentiment about prisons. It will only serve to normalize the experience. We shall see. I could be wr-wr-wr… mistaken. But I doubt it. :)
Time will tell on which of the two opinions above will turn out to be the accurate predictor. I am going to watch the show a little bit myself, just to decide. But I already tend to view these things as ugly. I remember the Cops show introduction video had a clip of officers busting a toilet bowl with a sledgehammer. It made my blood boil. I couldn’t watch any more.
Some of the points you are making are completely ridiculous. Although I do completely agree with you that the prison system is disgusting, the show does not glorify prison life or normalize it. If anything, the show makes viewers want to make a change in the prison system. You make the show sound like a piece trash and viewers sound like mindless robots who can’t choose left from right. Read this article, from the actual Piper Kerman. She comments on all the components of prison life and clearly states that much of the show is based on fact and correctly portrays her experience behind bars.
-From one of todays, “overly medicated youth”