TV w/ a Prof: Orange is the New Black
I started watching Orange is the New Black a couple weeks before the second season was released. In true college student fashion, I watched the entire first season in just a few days. Luckily, I did not have to wait long to binge watch the second season. Orange is the New Black is able to give a unique perspective from a subset of our population that very often gets pushed to the sidelines.
Apart from being entertaining, OITNB touches on many social issues. Among these are trans rights, rape and sexual assault, mental health, life after prison, and corruption within the justice system.
The most striking aspect of the show is the character backstories. Each episode features the background to one key character. Most often, the flashbacks show the events leading up to a character’s incarceration. Other times they simply show the character’s life before prison.
Each flashback is heartbreaking and eye opening. You become sympathetic to each character’s individual situation and gain understanding to why she committed the crimes that she did.
All too often society makes a blanket statement about prison inmates. “They are terrible people.” “I would never do anything like that.” “They are lesser citizens.”
OITNB is successful in removing these biases and allowing the viewer to understand how unfortunate situations, impaired judgement, and bad decisions can lead to imprisonment (whether deserved or not).
Tomorrow, Wednesday February 17th, the Honors Program will be hosting TV with a Prof: Orange is the New Black, featuring Dr. Joanne Belknap (Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies). We will also have a special guest who is a former inmate at a women’s prison. After watching an episode of Orange is the New Black, our speakers will discuss the show and the issues it raises.
The event will be held from 6:00-8:00pm in Norlin N424A, pizza will be provided.