Women's prisons... PRO OR CON?? Before you answer, I'm definitely PRO. While I'm not necessarily "pro" putting women in prison—I'm definitely "pro" women prisoners in general. Why? Because as I've mentioned before, they inexplicably love I Love Television™! I'm not exactly sure why my column is so wildly popular with the women's correctional demographic, but HEY. I'll take my I Love Television™ readers wherever I can get them, and when push comes to shove? Women prisoners are farrrrr more interesting than most of you. (No offense, but... c'mon. You're interesting... but you're not women's prison interesting.)
Now, I've shockingly never been to prison—though if I had to go? I'd choose women's prison. Why? I tend to get along better with women murderers, thieves, and drug dealers than their male counterparts. Don't get me wrong: I can totally get behind lots of sweaty, half-naked men confined inside a very small space... but unless we're talking about a clown car, there's just too much testosterone involved.
That's why I'm forsaking my regular summer TV schedule to watch a super awesome and largely unsung new series called Orange Is the New Black. (All 13 episodes are available right now on Netflix streaming.) Based on the book and true-life adventures of author Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black depicts the sometimes scary, often hilarious life behind bars at a federal women's prison.
Not so long ago, Piper (played to comedic perfection by Taylor Schilling) fell in love with a lesbian drug runner (That '70s Show's Laura Prepon), but eventually decided to drop the lesbian/criminal lifestyle to pursue a normal life and relationship with new fiancé Larry (American Pie's Jason Biggs—who is soooo charming in this! SQUEEEEEE!!). Unfortunately, because Piper agreed to transport drug money for her former lover (one time only!), she's yanked from her new normality and sent to a federal women's correctional facility to serve a 15-month (OUCH) sentence.
What follows is a classic fish-out-of-water story—peppered with laughs, scares, and moments of real humanity. Piper flails as she attempts to navigate the confusing maze of prison politics, racism, and overt sexual tension—of which there is A LOT—while trying to hold on to her outside relationship and sanity. OH... and to make matters just a wee more complicated? Her former lesbian lover is in the same prison. AWWWWKWARRRRD.
Ultimately this prison show is less about the place and more about the people who inhabit it. If a character is mean and scary, we find out why the person is mean and scary in flashbacks. Stereotypes are smashed on a minute-by-minute basis, and ever so slowly we're exposed to the humanity behind each character—but don't worry, sensitivity-haters! There's plenty of sex, nudity, and super gross humor to go around. (Because I know how important that is to you.)
And don't forget, Orange Is the New Black is also a great primer for when you eventually get thrown in prison—so it will behoove you to pay attention. (And when you get there? Be sure to subscribe to this paper and read I Love Television™ every week! BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO DON'T.)
This Week on Television
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24
9:00 FAM SPELL-MAGEDDON
Debut! A spelling bee where contestants are distracted by weird things. Liiiike mayyybeee having a dog poop on their shoe??
10:00 SYFY JOE ROGAN QUESTIONS EVERYTHING
Debut! Painfully unfunny comedian Joe Rogan travels the country debunking things. (Can someone please debunk him?)
THURSDAY, JULY 25
8:00 FOX HELL'S KITCHEN
Season finale! The final two chefs compete to see who will be Chef Ramsay's "biggest fucking donkey."
Midnight TOON CHILDRENS HOSPITAL
Season premiere! Another hilarious season featuring the most dysfunctional and inappropriate hospital ever!
FRIDAY, JULY 26
10:00 IFC COMEDY BANG! BANG!
Tonight's guest: the adorably funny Anna Kendrick. Don't fall in love with her! She'll just break your heart!
SATURDAY, JULY 27
11:00 FOX ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF
High School USA! explores "sexting," while Axe Cop visits Zombie Island... which just so happens to be in space.
SUNDAY, JULY 28
9:00 HBO TRUE BLOOD
Eric's last-ditch effort to save Nora is probably the stupidest thing anyone has ever done, ever.
10:00 HBO THE NEWSROOM
Will decides there's not enough "smugness" on the show. (He's very wrong about that.)
MONDAY, JULY 29
10:00 CBS UNDER THE DOME
When the domesters begin to run low on water, they do the smart thing and turn to liquor.
10:00 SUN THE WRITERS' ROOM
Industry insiders discuss scripted television shows, starting this week with the awesome Breaking Bad.
TUESDAY, JULY 30
8:30 FUSE BILLY ON THE STREET
Comedian Billy Eichner quizzes people on the street in one of the funniest shows on TV!
10:00 COM DRUNK HISTORY
Drunk History learns the history of Boston—which doesn't have any drunks... like, AT ALL.