In between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of football season rests the dreaded (and boring and sweaty) dog days of summer. Normally I fill my summers with Yankees baseball, disappointing trips to the movie theater, books, and as much Mexican food and as many margaritas as I can handle. To fill my free time I’ll usually mentally queue up movies and TV shows to binge on. This summer I was supposed to watch Django Unchained, The Master, and the X-Files but now it feels like I might never get around to watching them. I started Lost but my interest has sort of waned (yes, yes I know it is amazing that I somehow have no idea what is going to happen on a show that ended 5 years ago, but if you spoil Lost for me we will never be friends). I just finished reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, a ridiculously violent western that gave me nightmares, and it was a great read, but I was over all that scalping and stabbing as soon as I read it.
For me this summer has been about Orange is the New Black.
I don’t think I loved Orange is the New Black as much as Julia did, but I do think I loved it about as much as I disliked the 2nd season of Girls. Inevitably, these shows are going to be compared to each other because they’re the two highest profile shows to feature majority female casts, that focus on issues that are distinctly feminine. But where as Girls feels highly specific (and pretentious), meant to portray the lifestyles of a certain type of woman with certain types of problems, Orange is the New Black is universal and inclusive. At its heart the show is about very different people all struggling to know themselves, finding strength and humor in a shitty situation, and how respect and honesty are the most important elements in any relationship. Now that sounds pretty serious. But the show moves so fast, with so many likable characters, with so much heart and humor, that no matter what was going on, I was watching with at least a smirk and usually a smile.
Thank god the lasting image of my summer 2013 is not a grisly dismemberment from Blood Meridian, or Hugh Jackman’s hyper-veiny-Stalloney biceps, or my Yankees’ parade of injuries. No, the lasting image of my summer may very well be the final scene of Orange is the New Black’s first season (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT)- with a woman goin’ apeshit like Mel Gibson goes apeshit in the Patriot after his son gets shot by Lucius Malfoy (sans blond wig, underrated movie, RIP Heath Ledger). It was a moment that left me wanting more as badly as any show has ever left me.
I think a lot of dudes are sitting at home scrolling through Netflix and probably outright dismissing this show as an option, and going with House of Cards or Arrested Development’s long-awaited 4th season or a D-movie level ripoff of Sharknado, Gatornado. I’m sure I’ll enjoy Netflix’s other, more anticipated original series when I do watch them, but I doubt that House of Cards or Arrested Development’s 4th season will feel as fresh as Orange is the New Black. Gentlemen, do not be afraid of how Lifetime-y the billboards for this show look. In fact think of it as kind of like all a female version of George Bluth Sr.’s prison scenes in Season 1 of AD but expanded into an entire show. Except George Sr. is a good looking blond woman. And Michael is played by Jason Biggs (sans Pie). Watch the show. It’s funny and fun and the women are all really good. Plus, there is sex and violence, and Nicky Sobataka from The Wire Season 2 (aka Pornstache), and a whole shit ton of crazy (don’t step in the pee). What more could you ask for?