I could describe the entire series in just that one word but that would be very boring for you and very lazy of me.
I didn’t have high expectations for OITNB for three reasons:
- I had to get a Netflix account to watch it.
- I don’t like being told what to watch.
- I’m not a huge fan of prison dramas.
But I can honestly say that I’m glad I put these three things aside and watched it because… wow.
Because some of you are yet to watch it (and I envy those of you who are seeing it for the first time through fresh, hungry eyes) I won’t go into too much detail about what actually happens as I don’t want to ruin it for you so, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can read this review safe in the knowledge that there won’t be spoilers.
It’s not often that a series can make me laugh, cry and stay up until 2 in the morning watching it but OITNB did just that. I cried for both good and bad reasons and sometimes it crept up on me and sometimes I knew I would end up a blubbering mess.
You only have to look up OITNB gifs on Google to see how quotable the entire series is and see that there is humour in almost every minute of it. If you were looking for a hard, factual, gruesome prison drama look elsewhere.
I have never watched a series so avidly before, and I’ve definitely not given up hours of my precious sleep for it but OITNB is addictive and so fast paced that you won’t feel like you’ve lost half a day watching it. (I recommended it to a friend of mine and she got through the entire series (13 episodes) in less than a week.)
What I love most about it is the realness. Yes, it was based on a real book by a real woman about her real sentence at a prison in America but often these “reality” based programmes are dramatised and exaggerated. You see the back story to almost every key character and this helps to build an understanding of them and why they’re there which is what drove me to tears on many occasions: most of the women are good women who have made mistakes.
This series not only challenges perceptions of prison but also class, race, gender and sexuality amongst other themes such as age, position of power and drugs. Whatever your opinion on these topics, I think you’ll find it hard not to be moved by the stories that portray them.
I could write about OITNB all day (if you like this review and want me to write another where I look at the storylines closer and reveal spoilers then let me know!) but I’m going to leave you with one simple instruction: watch it. I don’t care if you have to get a Netflix account or borrow a friends’ laptop or watch it after a 12 hour shift. And, if you’ve watched it before, watch it again (although I’m sure you need no prompting to do that!).