When I've spoken to others about the most recent season of Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) released this past June on Netlix, I noticed a trend. Most people didn't bother to watch it because they didn't like the direction Piper's story line veered in Season 3.
It seems most were turned off by what prison life had done to our upper middle class heroine - essentially, causing Piper to go 'gangsta' to safeguard the underground panty smuggling business she created to prepare for the uncertain economic realities she will face upon her eventually release.
But I have 3 reasons why you should stick with OITNB and watch Season 4 anyway.
Reason #1 - You rarely get to see such a realistic depiction of diverse characters in entertainment.
I read that OITNB creator Jenji Kohan knew Hollywood well enough that she couldn't pitch a show about an ensemble of ethnic women and successfully sell it so she used Piper's character, a privileged white woman going to prison on a nonviolent drug offense, as a 'trojan horse' of sorts.
Once the TV show sold, she was then able to introduce the absolute most diverse cast of characters - between race, nationality, age, religion, size, sexual orientation, financial and educational background - ever depicted on the small screen.
But even more importantly is that this diverse cast of criminals are portrayed with three dimensional depth as each episode dives into the backstory and reason why these seemingly stereotypical women have become inmates in this New York minimum security prison.
And none of the individual character stories disappoint - to the point that Piper's story is no longer the pull of this show.
This leads me to my next reason you want to watch Season 4 of OITNB.
Reason #2 - The season pulls at your heartstrings and resonates with you for days afterwards.
Unfortunately, I can't get into too much detail here; otherwise, I will spoil the show for you. But what I can tell you is that once I started watching it, I couldn't stop bingeing on it. I watched all 13 episodes within 48 hours!
The unexpected twists and turns - especially in episode 12 - have seriously resonated with me for weeks since. I offer this blog as evidence of that.
Reason #3 - The story is thought provoking with a serious message for change.
I don't know how else to describe what I mean by this other than Kohan is our 2k16 version of Norman Lear.
She's managed to create a compelling and dynamic world involving characters we normally ignore or even toss away in society and shows us through their individual stories why we need to desperately change our approach to the criminal system.
From the problems associated with for-profit prisons to mandatory drug sentencing, Kohan offers thought provoking messages through her storytelling without being overtly preachy like an after-school special.
All in all, Kohan managed to create the type of story that I love best - a drama that kicks ass but makes you think!
And because of this, I am officially a huge fan of her work and if you haven't already, I highly recommend you watch OITNB as soon as possible. I promise you won't regret it!
[Please note that Rosanna's Take will be on hiatus next week.]