[Orange Is the New Black](series:761587) is such a great show, I tend to forget it's actually based on real-life memoirs. I read up on the true story of Piper Kerman, and it seems like a cheap rip off of the show I like. Think about that for a moment. Orange is the New Black is so good at creating organic, natural and touching characters, that the very thing it's based on looks like a half-hearted imitation. It's not exactly a pleasant thought when you consider than the show ostensibly charts the experiences of real women doing real time. Orange is the New Black is a show about pain, powerlessness and injustice. Yet, when the trailer for Season 3 was released, I had one thought. "I CAN'T WAIT TO HANG OUT WITH THE GIRLS AGAIN!
Perhaps that's a callous reaction, but it's one that Orange is the New Black no doubt provokes. Few have stopped to point out how weird it is that one the most popular properties on Netflix is essentially a feel-good hang out show about minorities suffering in silence. It's a paradoxical tone, yet the latest trailer rolls with it, and I couldn't be happier.
So from the trailer for Season 3, I can only feel that Orange is the New Black is a fantastic show that doesn't know how to sell itself to a growing audience. Why do I think this? Well, the above trailer feels less like a culmination of plot and tonal details we are to expect, and more like someone showing you round their cool house, just shrugging and hoping you like their stuff.
That isn't to say it's a bad trailer. I'm excited to be back with characters who were built up so brilliantly in the first two seasons. Everyone gets a moment to shine, except Piper herself, funnily enough, and the whole thing is punctuated by moments I can't wait to see. But come on, those weird scrolling inter-titles kill the momentum, and it's scored by Imagine Dragons! How many characters in Orange is the New Black would listen to Imagine Dragons?
So from this weird, slightly frenetic trailer, what can we expect?
The Vee Plot Line Continues
This detail was actually given by a small clip Netflix released last week. Unlike the trailer, the clip addresses much more thoroughly the implications of Season 2. Vee turned out to be a truly despicable villain, with her story arc tearing apart relationships and generally ruining the air of sisterhood that Orange is the New Black displays so nicely.
It seems Suzanne is in denial over Vee's death, while Poussay wants to get it through that Vee is most certainly gone (owing to the only hit-and-run I've ever cheered at) at the hands of Rosa in the Season 2 finale. Can we take a moment to lament the fact Rosa won't be returning? Rosa was so cool, she made Walter White look like the woman from [Weeds](series:720039). Man, who even made Weeds? Oh yeah. It was Jenji Kohan, the showrunner for Orange is the New Black. Well, this is awkward...
Orange is the New Black excels by the sheer force of it's vibrant and eclectic characters. "Don't like or care about one person? How about this one? Good. Now shut up!" is how I feel the show addresses its audience. Put simply, it benefits from a "more the merrier" attitude. It's always good to see new faces, including Lori Petty, AKA Tank Girl, AKA the girl who cleaned free WIlly's tank, AKA the girl who totally did it with Keanu in his weird leather bed in Point Break. It's odd how your memory works when an actor hasn't been in much. It seems she's set to return as Lolly, who was Piper's best friend for five minutes in the super scary transfer prison at the start of Season 2. It'll be cool to see where she's taken, but it's nothing compared to...
NEW New Inmates!
Who is this person? I like her hair! What role will she play? Why is she winking? Who is she winking at? I want her hair!
Turns out this is Stella Carlin, played by Australian actress/model/DJ/ I'm already jealous, Ruby Rose. Little has been revealed about her character, but let's not be silly! She's clearly being used as the biggest spanner possible, thrown into the works of Piper and Alex. It's odd, because those two quite clearly have enough going on right now; an extra love interest will hardly change much. Plus there already was a significant love triangle in the show, but since Larry likely won't be appearing anymore, Stella may be the substitute. So basically, she'll be a more attractive Jason Biggs. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE SUCH A THING!
Relationships Going Places
So here's the big one. What will the fallout be after Piper scuppered Alex' attempts to go into hiding, and got her sent back to Litchfield? It was a shocking conclusion to Season 2, and one that almost makes me worry about the repercussions, and yet in the newest trailer, Alex is not tearing Piper limb from limb for getting her caught. They seem to be on dour yet steady terms, so I can only guess it's because Alex just doesn't know her arrest was Piper's doing. This is extra juicy, as it means Piper will likely have to keep yet another long running secret. DRAMA, PEOPLE!
And of course, Morello completely misses the point. This is honestly one of the most impressive things about Orange is the New Black's giant roster of characters. No matter what kind of turbulent drama some are going through, the people around them remain this strange constant that frames the excitement. This is why, despite there being so many plot details to indulge in, the trailer maintains a jovial and fun tone, because it's from that generally positive air that the interesting stuff emerges.
Relationships Going Nowhere
I don't mean to sound cynical, but the relationship between Daya and Bennet has always seemed weak, and not just because the music used for their romance in Season 1 was so schmulzy it almost made me stop watching. Theirs is a forbidden love between a guard and an inmate, that got Daya pregnant to boot. It should be the most tense, high-stakes plot thread in the show, and yet it stays stagnant. The trailer confirms this, after Caputo has agreed to keep the pregnancy hushed in order to save Litchfield's image. For those who like watching these two fawn over each other, I suppose that's good news. I'm just saying, sooner or later, a baby will have to be born in prison, and that had better be interesting.
It feels weird to complain about the choices made in Orange is the New Black. Being at least a little grounded in truth, it simply doesn't doesn't afford the wild tangential sensationalism of the other big TV contenders today, and more importantly, it doesn't want to.
You can love it or hate it, but Orange is the New Black is nothing if not confident. Jenji Kohan and everyone involved seem to know that when your show this consistently fun, captivating and original, you can be whatever you want to be. A little shamelessness never hurt anyone, and I believe that's put best by Suzanne when her creative writing gets called into question.
It's not just sex; it's love. It's about two people connecting... with four other people, and aliens.