What I Learned From Orange is the New Black

I have an unhealthy obsession with Netflix. That being said, I have an even unhealthier obsession over Orange is the New Black. I don't know if I should be proud or concerned when I say I finished the entire third season in one day but at least I can say OITNB taught me something significant in its third season.

What makes season three so unique is that this season dives deeper into many of the characters' past and we, the audience, come to understand and sympathize with many of them. If there is anything I learned from OITNB, it's that there is never an inherited villain. Everyone has an intriguing backstory filled with experiences that make them the person that they are. Maybe it was the way they were raised or maybe it was because they were mistreated, but in a weird way, it's like we can relate to them.

A good example of this would be Pennsatucky. During season one, she was painted to be this overly preacher type person who, at the end of the first season, made it clear that she was not Piper's friend. However season three brings on an entirely different perspective on Pennsatucky. Her flashbacks show a traumatizing experiences with rape, family, and the people around her. Oddly enough, some of those traumatizing experiences come back to revisit her. I never thought I would sympathize a character who I thought was evil, yet again, I also never cried watching this show until I finally understood her.

Prison isn't as terrifying as we thought it would be either. In season one, prison was seen fearfully through Piper's eyes. She saw the people around her as the villains and was constantly reminded not to make friends. Now the narrative has changed and prison is painfully understood from many of the inmate's eyes. We soon learn that nobody in Litchfield really deserved to be there and they're just as human as the rest of us. OITNB really shows how unfair the criminal justice system is and how poorly inmates can be treated. Overall, the so called "villains" were never the inmates but rather just the impending doom of prison itself.

At the same time, we come to learn that not everyone is a hero. We soon understand Officer Bennett, an established veteran, is quite a coward. We see that in his flashbacks he tries to be the hero in his troop but fails and hides when terror strikes. His hypocritical persona comes back after he visits Daya's family. Officer Bennett proposes to Daya but later abandons her proving that he isn't the courageous person who he makes himself out to be.

Unlike many other television shows, OITNB doesn't have a particular protagonist or antagonist. The show presents its characters in their most complicated and beautiful ways - proving them to be exactly like us.