ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

Orange Is the New Black Season 3 was a very strange beast indeed. Compared to Season 2, it felt like a hangout show, with characters simply existing alongside each other and being funny. But when you think about it, Season 3 had the most dark and dramatic moments of any period in the show's history. We had Sophia's feud with Gloria which ended up with the former thrown in solitary. Fan favorite, Nicky ended up in max, likely not to return. We had Daya's pregnancy turn out in about the second worst way it possibly could. And oh yeah, Alex Vauss might be dead. No biggie, show. You don't have to inform me or anything!

Despite all that conflict and turmoil, many fans noted that Orange is the New Black Season 3 actually seemed to be kicking back, and taking it easy for a year. Now I'm not here to demand the show suddenly adopt any strict structure. It's Orange is the New Black's ability to simply depict people existing that has made it one of the most profitable titles for Netflix. However, what with the potential stories being set up for Season 4, there's a chance we could see Orange is the New Black take a turn from its usual jovial persona in future!

Is Orange is the New Black a drama or a comedy?

Maybe Piper won't be so goofy for long.
Maybe Piper won't be so goofy for long.

One thing that makes Orange is the New Black so hard to predict is the fact that it's particularly hard to categorize, especially between the genres of drama and comedy. The show constantly flits between the two, and when at its best, manages to posit them side by side. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Season 3, where traumatic and life-changing events were going on all through Litchfield, except around Piper, who was busy driving what seemed to be the comedic subplot of the season. This move is understandable when you consider that series creator Jenji Kohan doesn't even like categorization. Could this callous approach to genre bring us something not so fun in Season 4?

What's a brewing for Orange is the New Black Season 4?

Perhaps the most beautiful moment in Orange is the New Black season 3 was seeing the inmates enjoy a few moments of freedom in a lake outside the prison gates, blissfully unaware that the private organization to have bought up Litchfield was at that moment bringing in dozens of new inmates to double the prison population. It's a moment that borders on dramatic irony, and would likely make most viewers a little worried for Season 4!

At least we had this while it lasted!
At least we had this while it lasted!

Doubling the prison population means doubling the amount of conflicts that could kick off, and means a stark drop in resources and basic needs for the women of Litchfield. Now I'm not saying I watch a show about a women's prison to see people having a fine and dandy time, but Orange is the New Black is always most entertaining when characters are "making do" so to speak. Perhaps that's the very point, however, with Jenji Kohan wanting to lull us into a false sense of entertainment, only to hammer home the reality of the penal system in modern America.

Is this a turn you're happy to see Orange is the New Black take, or would you rather the show remain the strange hangout it's always been? Let us know by voting in our poll, or by leaving a comment below! For my recap of Orange is the New Black Season 3, check right here!


Are you ready for Orange is the New Black to take a darker turn?


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