With Orange is the New Black, Weeds creator Jenji Kohan has a stunning, hilarious new hit that offers life lessons straight from a minimum-security prison. The series is only available on Netflix, available with Hughesnet.com satellite Internet or other high-speed connection. Orange — or OITNB as fans call it — follows the prison life of Piper Chapman, a Seven-Sisters educated white girl who carried drug money and got caught before the statute of limitations ran out. Prison puts Piper in contact with her ex Alex, who got her into the drug trade, and a range of characters, from a transgendered hairdresser to a born-again faith healer. Among the top truths of OITNB are these nine life lessons.
1. Make peace with your past.
When Piper learns Alex is in the same prison, she is enraged. However, Piper must learn to make peace with her past, forgive Alex and accept her crime and subsequent punishment. No matter what your past, you must come to peace with it before you can move forward.
2. Think before you speak.
When Piper voices her views on prison food, she offends the head chef, gets herself dissed in the food line by the chef’s friends and must go to great lengths to make it up to the chef. Piper learns fast to think before she speaks to avoid making enemies.
3. Lean on your friends to get through hard times.
Friends are a must for prison life, just as in real life. All the women of “Orange” lean on friends to get through hard times portrayed on the show.
4. Be resourceful.
Afraid of getting disease from prison showers, Piper rigs her own flip flops. Sophia teaches her to make duct tape shower shoes until her commissary money comes in. Throughout the show, the prisoners show resourcefulness that will translate directly to out-of-prison success.
5. Practice tolerance.
Born again Tiffany Doggett’s anti-gay stance pits Piper and her ex Alex against the prison’s Christian coalition. Pranks escalate as Tiffany locks Alex in a washing machine, and Alex and Piper conspire to send Tiffany to the prison’s psych ward. Instead of seeking revenge on your enemies, Orange suggests that you practice tolerance.
6. Be who you are.
By showcasing transgender, bisexual and lesbian characters — not whitewashing or feminizing these female characters a la Pretty Little Liars and referencing the Kinsey scale — the series tells its viewers that they can and should be who they are. Sophia’s past shows that she was willing to commit a crime to become female but must learn to let others be who they want to be.
7. Hope will get you through.
Even in prison, there are little things to look forward to. Taystee knows all of them. Remember to have gratitude and hope when you can, even if all you can look forward to is taco night.
8. Every action has consequences.
In “Orange,” every action, even one as minor as two prisoners dancing together, has big repercussions. Think before you act.
9. Life presents unexpected learning opportunities.
Piper’s prison assignment in an electrical shop seems like a mistake, until she turns it around and accepts the challenge of learning a new skill. Through life, you will always learn new skills.
The first season of Orange is the New Black is currently airing on Netflix, with the second season currently filming with an anticipated release next year.
|This guest post was written by Eric Stinson. Eric is a writer and artist who covers entertainment, movies and books.