Maybe you’ve been in a coma for the last two weeks? Or incarcerated? These are the only excuses I can imagine for not having heard about the new Netflix show Orange is the New Black, based on the by-all-accounts-terrible memoir of the same name (okay, some people like it but I'm still not reading it). This show though is the OPPOSITE of terrible. In fact, out of the five original shows that Netflix has put up so far (and I am including House of Cards but not Arrested Development in this sweeping statement), Orange is the New Black may be the best. My advice to you: leave work now. Go home. Get out your computer, put on your jammies and start watching. Here’s why:
1. Not a single one of the characters is a cliché or a simple amalgamation of stereotypes.
This is true for everyone from the most vile prison guard to the sweetest inmate. Just when you think, "Oh yeah, this dude with the mustache, I get it, he's evil," he does something that spins you around. The same with the yoga lady, the fundamentalist Christian, the transgender hair stylist, the mother and daughter who hate each other, the inmate known as "Crazy Eyes." And these aren't even the main characters.
2. The transgender hair stylist is actually played by a transgender person.
According to The Daily Beast, this is the first time this has happened ever in the history of television (so I guess Netflix is officially television now?). Laverne Cox plays the character of Sophia Burset, who used to be a male firefighter, with understanding but no sentimentality. As with all the characters, there isn't a clear-cut good guy and bad guy in her story. Somehow you feel sympathy for Sophia and her struggle while simultaneously feeling sorrow for her former wife and son. It's pretty epic and once again not even the main story.