What was that, OITNB?

Posted by Elli S on

OITNB SEASON 4 SPOILERS AHEAD

So if you're like me, you binged Orange is the New Black season 4 the moment it came out. And if you're like me, you weren't exactly...happy. We finally get a well-rounded interracial lesbian couple (!!!!) and then one of them dies (BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY DO). Not only that, but this season was filled to the brim with racism and sexism for what seemed to me to be absolutely no reason. There were so many things about this season that left a bad taste in my mouth. 

4. "White lives matter!" and Judy King's racist puppet show

....Okay. This was odd. For some reason the writers read the temperature of the world as wanting excessive racism. I understand that racism happens in the real world, I do. But focusing so heavily on Piper's neo-Nazi movement was just weird. Also, in what world does anyone want to see an aggressively racist puppet show multiple times?

3. Sophia Burset's storyline

So, okay. I liked Sophia getting her own storyline, even though airtime was still dominated with the boring white men of the show. But with Sophia, she returns from the SHU for, what, 14 seconds, gets harassed, and is done? This compared to Nicky's return from max, which was much more fleshed out. It felt like the writers were obligated to include Sophia, but for as little time as they could.

2. The men, the sexism, the excessive screen time

From the beginning, OITNB has featured storylines from both the prison guards, as well as the prisoners themselves. This isn't new. What is new is how much of the season revolved around them and their horrible actions. From Doggett's unrelenting rape apologism to the outright sexism to the excessive violence, this season felt to be entirely ABOUT violence against women, instead of commenting on it as a cultural criticism.

Which brings us to the grandaddy of them all...

1. Poussey, darling Poussey, and Bury Your Gays

The reason it took me several days to write this was because I was so incredibly livid about Poussey's death that I didn't think I could write anything that made sense except a string of curses and anger. I've calmed down enough to be cohesive, but barely. Poussey died for nothing. Her death did not further the storyline, or make me like anyone more. It didn't give me sympathy for the murdering guard, or put things in perspective, or show me that "every day is a gift" or she had a future or whatever. Once again we had a happy lesbian couple, and once again one was murdered for no reason. The storyline afterwards made so little sense and made me so angry that I almost stopped watching right then and there.

 

The OITNB writers really made a mistake this season. They did things for shock value and what they think POC might act like, as opposed to adding POC writers to the team (here's the overwhelmingly white writer's room):

 

The writers are going to have to be very careful with the next season, and do something to win the trust back of all the fans that were disgusted with this season. Because as of right now, they just lost a viewer. 


 

Elli Streifer is a full time college student, with a little bit too much to say about Harry Potter, outer space and intersectional feminism (among other things). She's an American Sign Language major, probably uses too many emojis and is as gay as the day is long. 50% of the Bobo Academy BlogSquad. Currently blogging out of her dorm room in New York. Tweet at her, she's always looking for ideas.

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