Orange is the New Black

OITNB Season 5

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I have SO many thoughts about Orange is the New Black, and I’m still processing.  After every season, as I’m crying and cursing the fact that I have to wait another year to see what’s next, I’m asked why I like this show.

There are is absolute good in Orange is the New Black.  This is a given, by virtue of the fact that the protagonists are inmates in a prison.  What Orange is the New Black has always done well is making it a story about humans– these are people.  Just because people have made some bad choices does not make them bad people.

The conditions they are subjected to as inmates are frequently inhuman.  The circumstances some of them face are insurmountable.  Certainly, no one deserves what we see practiced at Litchfield.  No one deserves Poussey Washington’s fate.

This season is a departure from OITNB’s usual format.  It all takes place over the course of three days during the prison riot.  This effectively traps us in the prison with them.  At points, it’s more difficult to watch than ever since the tables are turned and the guards are now hostages.  They’re subjected to some major embarrassment.  It’s a fine line between a slight sense of satisfying revenge and cringe-worthy be better than them thoughts.  It’s a particularly intense season.  Things often feel drawn out, as we don’t get the respite of time passing.

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June TV

It took 6 months this year, but finally I’ve got a bunch of TV premieres I’m really excited about!  Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month.

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Who else got this little surprise from Dr. Morello?!  image via Netflix

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Every summer I binge this newest season.  I’m really sad that we won’t have Samira Wiley this season, but the cliffhanger we ended on last year!!  I actually remember where we left off this time.  From what I’ve read so far, the entire season takes place over 3 days as the prison riot unfolds.  I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I do love OITNB and I’m excited to see where they go with this!  We don’t have to wait long!  This will be available for binging June 9th.

Orphan Black (BBC America)

I’ve been waiting for what feel like forever for the final season of Orphan Black.  I started watching this show kind of randomly after a friend made an off-handed recommendation praising Tatiana Maslany.  I have been a loyal fan throughout and I’m dying to see how everything ends!  I actually don’t want it to end, but I’ll be glad to have it back in my life on June 10th!

90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? (TLC)

Wow am I glad I chose to go with PS Vue to keep this channel!  I just love 90 Day Fiancé, but if Happy Ever After? is all I can get, I’ll take it!  Most of my favorites from this show seem to be happily married, and this spinoff deals with the drama.  Of the returning group, I’m particularly excited to see Jorge & Anfisa again.  I’m not a fan of this Danielle and Mohammed drama, though.  Still, I’ll be watching and waiting for this to start on June 25th!

Counting On (TLC)

Seriously, all I watch is guilty-pleasure TLC.  I kind of got sucked into this 19 Kids and Counting spinoff last season because Jinger’s relationship was just so engrossing!  She just seemed so daring by comparison to her sisters and it was interesting to watch.  I guess it’s inherently interesting that she’s the daring one.  Now with 19-year-old Joy’s wedding kicking off the season… I’ll be back for more on June 12th.

OITNB Season 4

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I finished Orange is the New Black’s fourth season right in time for bed on Saturday, June 18th.  It had been up for roughly 34 hours at the time.  I felt sad.  I usually feel sad when I finish a new season of OITNB, because it’s a long, long wait on a cliffhanger ending.  This was different.

I’ve been gathering my thoughts throughout the week.  I’ve been reading around, too, and with a little Googling, you’ll see a lot of “darkest season ever,” and “deeply upsetting,” in the headlines.  Well, I agree, but I’m not going to talk about that.

This show does its job really well, though– it’s a story about people.  People are deeply complicated and the abundance of moral ambiguity in this show makes it all too real.  OITNB’s fourth season left me crying on my couch.  To me, this is art.  It made me experience so much emotion, and thus, it succeeded.

Various thoughts under the cut, none so heavy as the paragraphs above, but full of SPOILERS:

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Summer Reading 2015 [part 1]

Well friends, last summer I managed only ten books. Considering that I only read on weekends, (my job is super demanding) I guess that’s not horrible… but it doesn’t really sound like me. I’m hoping to blow that out of the water this summer. Or at least surpass it. Here’s what I managed to accomplish thus far:

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The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

This was marketed as Dan Brown meets Umberto Eco meets F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was into this. And it delivered as such! This was a quick but seemingly fulfilling read, weaving historical fiction into college adventure into real world danger. It was fun and interesting. The ending, however, I found to be a disappointment. I like it when books end and this kind of… hung there. It’s definitely worth a read, despite the many lackluster reviews I read on Goodreads. I liked reading it.

Shadow of the Night – Deborah Harkness

This is the second book in the All Souls trilogy. I read the first, A Discovery of Witches, during last summer’s reading project. I was on the fence with it, but thought about it enough afterward that I decided to read through the series. It was a similar experience to reading the first– the beginning is easy to swallow, bordering on historical fiction and magical fantasy, then things get a little too Twilight-y. I’m still up for reading the last in the trilogy, which you can look for on my list later this summer.

I, Justine – Justine Ezarik

I have loved ijustine for years. She was my first exposure to the world of YouTube, and she’ll always be my favorite. Now, Justine Ezarik is not a prolific writer. This isn’t a behind the scenes, earth-shattering tell-all. It is really interesting, especially for those of us who have been watching her videos for the better part of the decade. There’s that element of nostalgia for the days of hey hey you can ask IJ! It’s genuinely in Justine’s voice, and there are some tidbits that we’d never have known– like Justine once went to Hawaii with a boyfriend who didn’t want to be on camera so it looked like she went alone. All and all, this is a super quick read and a MUST for iJustine fans! I finished with a smile.

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison – Piper Kerman

I’ve meant to read this for the last two years after finishing the latest season of OITNB. This year, I finally got around to it! I knew that there would be differences in the Netflix series and the actual memoir, but the differences are greater than expected. I tried to match up characters– I thought everyone was Morello, who is clearly a composite character. Red was an easy match to the woman Piper Kerman called Pop. The memoir’s Delicious became Taystee of the series. Though there is a Pennsatucky in the memoir, the character in the series is a composite as well. Reading this, you’ll recognize many scenes taken from it for the Netflix original, but ultimately, the story is different. Piper is different. I guess the main thing is that this book is about Piper, while OITNB really isn’t anymore. Quick, interesting read, though!

In truth, since I’ve written and photographed for this post, I’ve got another book under my belt… but you’ll have to wait for part 2 for that!  What are you reading this summer?

Orange is the New Black season 3

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I was tired last Thursday night.  I was seconds away from switching of Netflix for the evening in favor of sleep when I was alerted to the early release of season 3 of Orange is the New Black.  Suddenly, I wasn’t so tired anymore!  I only got an episode in that night, but I had a proper binge over the weekend.  How on earth do I forget how AMAZING this show is?!  I loved this season, as I do every season.  Guys, I freaking love this show!

I don’t know how I’ll survive a whole year again, but since I’ve done it twice before… I suppose I’ll make it.  Until then, I have three things to say about season 3!

  1. Why is Red not everybody’s favorite character?!  She is the freaking best.  I have loved Red since season 1, but my love for her is off the charts right now.  She can properly take the title of my favorite character in this show.  She’s tough, but so sweet.  Can we start a Red Reznikov fan club?  I’m completely obsessed with Red right now and I never want to lose this feeling.
  2. I loved Morello since I first saw her, with her charming but wacky accent.  I was shocked to learn her backstory last season.  I couldn’t be happier to see Yael Stone promoted to a genuine credited regular!  And she was definitely utilized.  We got more Morello this season and she was hilarious! Since we know her better, we can truly appreciate the happiness she achieved this season.
  3. I’m concerned about Nicky.  Somebody please tell me Natasha Lyonne is coming back for season 4.  Lie to me if you have time.  With that swift exist, I was wondering when and if Nicky would come back all season.  I’m worried more than ever now that she didn’t.

What were your favorite moments from season 3?

For some of my favorite moments & my episode-by-episode thoughts, (reassembled from cryptic notes I took on my phone while watching,) check below!

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2014 Favorites

It’s that time!  With the year winding down, here is my very own Obligatory 2014 TV Favorites List.  Now, if you’ve been reading for a while, none of these should surprise you.  I thought it might be a fun thing to do year to year, so even though you’ve probably read a million of these, I’m giving you another.  I’ve got two categories for you; my favorite things, TV & video games.  Without further ado:

 

TV Shows

5. Orange is the New Black | Probably my most anticipated new season of the year, OITNB’s second season did not disappoint!

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LostGirlTVSeriesLogo4. Lost Girl | I stated watching this late last year, early 2014.  This show hit every note for me, and I recommend it for Buffy fans and similar.  It’s final season is just beginning, so jump on this train.

 

Ecran_Titre_d'American_Horror_Story3. American Horror Story | Coven straddled 2013 and 2014, and Freak Show will bleed into next year.  I’m just so onboard with this show and especially Jessica Lange.  I only hope she is as onboard as I am for the next season!

 

 

The_Walking_Dead_title_card2. The Walking Dead | I watched the first season years ago, and picked up again recently just in time for the mid-season finale.  I am constantly impressed with the emotional depths this show brings me to.

 

1. Orphan Black | Recommended to me in late 2013, I watched the first season of this show just in time for the second to begin.  You may have caught my Clone Club Catch-Ups, and expect to see more next year.  Tatiana Maslany’s masterful performance as almost all of the show’s main characters is always worth watching.

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Honorable Mention: Top Chef | Another show whose seasons straddle two years, I absolutely loved New Orleans and Boston might be my favorite season ever.  Stay tuned for more recaps!

 

Video Games

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03. Super Smash Bros. WiiU/3DS | Okay, this is two games.  I’ve played the 3DS version more because it’s portable, and I’ve had it longer.  This is my favorite installment of Super Smash since the original N64 version.  The novelty of this concept has not worn off!  Kirby smashing up Pikachu is still awesome.

02. Mario Kart 8 | I hate to say this, but I’m not really a Mario Kart girl.  Sure, I loved Super Mario Kart, but the N64 days had me with Diddy Kong Racing and don’t even get me started on Double Dash.  MK8, however, single-handedly justified purchasing a WiiU for me.  I am so impressed with this game.  I love the online component, and find the DLC exciting.  I keep on coming back for more!

01. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby | Hoenn was always my favorite region so I was more excited than ever before for these amazing remakes.  I got through Alpha Sapphire fast; faster than X by far.  These games have even reignited my desire to complete an Unova adventure.  I’m so happy that more people will be introduced to this region and this story.  These games are fantastic and I can’t wait for what Pokémon has in store for us next!  I’d write more about how much I’m obsessed with these fantastic games, but I want to go wonder trade.

And there you have it!  What are your favorite shows and/or games from this year?

OITNB Season 2

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I was away for the weekend, but I still found the time to binge-watch Orange is the New Black!  I had originally planned to do this post in two parts, sort of my reactions mid-season and my impressions of the season as a whole.  Of course, I had absolutely no restraint and had burned through the season by Sunday night.

If you aren’t as psychotic as I am, I’ve included some mini-recaps, episode by episode with very minimal spoilers!  And if you binged through it all like I did, I’m dyinggg to talk about it!  More specifics are under the cut.  Enjoy!

Episode 1: We’re as confused as Piper is through most of this episode. She and Alex are the only characters we see, so you want to get through it quickly because we miss our favorite inmates so much! The end makes it feel worthwhile, though.

Episode 2: We finally get to catch up with our girls! The childhood flashbacks feel warranted thanks to the same kind of back-story reveals we got last season. We do not see Piper, but the episode does not lack her storyline.

Maybe I’ll pinterest. I hear that’s a thing.” – Morello

Episode 3: With a slew of new inmates we get some new characters: a new, first-time inmate, and an old acquaintance of a couple Litchfield girls who is going to be big trouble. We get a whole new perspective on the Piper/Tucky fight from last season and WOW is it interesting.

Episode 4: Morello’s always been one of my favorites, and I’m so happy to see some focus on her— in this episode’s Morello flashbacks we get to see what kind of crimes she committed; we’d actually never seen her out of prison before! Piper moves in with Red who finds a way to regain power.

Episode 5: This episode has the best title ever, “Low Self Esteem City” which embodies a challenge between Nicky & Boo. Piper asks Healy for furlough to see her dying grandmother who responds, “Furlough is like the Loch Ness Monster— much discussed and rarely seen.” We find out Caputo is in a band called Side Boob.

Episode 6: It’s Valentine’s Day and we get little mockumentary interviews about love throughout that are hilarious. I really enjoy the line dancing as well. Red’s new supply chain is in action, but she’s not the only game in town.

Episode 7: Piper gets involved in journalistic endeavors. This episode is full of business dealings and hilarious quotes, like Poussey’s “…If a cow breaks me out of here, I stop eating meat that day,” and basically everything Sophia said to Red.

Episode 8: Caputo is on a rampage to figure out where the contraband is coming from. Red tries to make an alliance with the Spanish kitchen crew against the new Litchfield bully. I know I said I didn’t miss him, but I was kind of excited to see the return of Pornstache.

Episode 9: Wait, are Piper and Larry really done? Real life Piper married Larry, but I’m not so sure about fictional Piper… In other news, this is the first time I’ve cried all season. Red apologizes to her girls earning their love back, and keeps her alliance with the Golden Girls— looks like she’s about to be a super power again!

Episode 10: My heart breaks for Red in this episode, and even more for Morello. I love these two so much. I’m seriously softening to Pornstache too. It’s nice that Morello’s kind of come clean; I feel better about her sanity now.

Episode 11: Red’s armed with two pieces of knowledge: (1) someone told Vee about her supply chain, and (2) drugs are again flowing into the prison— have we learned nothing from what happened to Tricia? Said betrayer turns on Red and the family. Red’s new friends, the old ladies, reveal themselves to be tougher than expected.

“Wow. That was a short mystery.” – Nicky

Episode 12: A storms brings a blackout and flood to Litchfield adding an additional element of danger to an already deadly environment. Someone gets slocked (that’s being hit by a lock in a sock) and it is absolutely horrifying.

“You want to assassinate someone, vision is a basic requirement. It’s like, step 1: pick a person to kill; step 2: kill them first!”

Episode 13: I’m very, very happy to see someone alive.  I’m happy to see everyone rally to try to bring down the big bag.  I absolutely love the end– Morello, shouting to Miss Rosa, and that one loose end, tied up for good.  Admit it: we all wanted that to happen.

 

Alright guys, now for the spoilers…

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