My New Color: Orange

The Emmy award-winning show, Orange is the New Black features the everyday life of
women in prison. A comedy being in told in the form of a story that includes, suspense,
diversity, and the everyday lifestyle of women in prison. The difference with this series, are the
types of genre it includes which is a mix of comedy, drama, a real-life story and compared to
others, this TV show is dominated by woman. The diversity in prison and all the different types
of woman there are presented. There is major representation of Hispanic and African American
inmates to depict how it is not only a TV series, but it is currently what is going on. Not only, is
this how the audience is introduced to their percentage but to the American prison system based
on the treatment they receive by the officers there. The protagonist of the series, Piper Chapman
is sentenced to jail for fifteen months for a crime she committed years before during her
formative years with her ex-girlfriend that she later encounters in prison. Piper’s ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause was arrested for heroin trafficking, and Piper turns herself over and begins to learn how the system works or at least in Litchfield. In the first episode of season one, it starts with Piper’s story, how she ended up there, and what she was going to deal with as an inmate. In
Litchfield prison, is where most of the show takes place and the memoir and TV show share the
same idea to effectively show Kerman’s experience.

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The theme song of the series “You’ve got time” by Regina Skeptor gives a preview to the
audience, and the inmates of the TV show on what they are going to grasp and what to expect.The theme song portrays faces of various woman who went to prison in real-life and the different amount of race there is. Prison has no exclusions, for anyone. Mentioned in the lyrics of the theme song is “Taking steps is easy standing still is hard” explaining that every inmate gets
involved in something or does something to get distracted. You either go the wrong pathway
which is easier to follow, or you go your way, that might cost you to have enemies, especially if
it is your first time in prison. “Remember all their faces remember all their voices everything is
different the second time around” This is an indirect message for the author of the memoir and
executive producer of the series Piper Kerman, to remember her experience, what she learned,
who she met and overall to learn from her journey. Because she remembered her experience, she
got to write a memoir, write her story, and have a TV series to tell her story visually. The second
time is different because the inmates are always switching cells, and some get released early like
Piper in the last episode of season six. “The animals trapped trapped until the cage is full” The
animals are referred to the inmates who are taken to prison until there is nowhere else to put
them, regardless the crime they committed. Unless you have committed a crime, nobody expects
to end up in prison. No one really expects to have that downfall. Everyone knows their limits,
and up to how much they can take.

These inmates (women) either had motives, intentions, or wanted to escape from
somethings, therefore, resulted in a crime and sent them behind bars. Most of the inmates in
Orange is the New Black, their childhood was the beginning of their alleyway down to prison.
For example, Nicky Nichols was devastated with how her parents rejected her for how she really
was, tried to change her to someone they wanted her to be, and always neglected her. She was
always viewed more of a problem than their own daughter. All her life was like that, there was
no point of her parents having all the money in the world and pretending to be a decent joyful deferential family, who felt nothing more than an embarrassment for her parents. Nicky Nichols
was arrested for possession of heroin, and due to the tragic childhood, she suffered being pushed
away from her parents her whole life she had no one to help her from the outside. According to
the article, “Screening Women’s Imprisonment: Agency and Exploitation in Orange Is the New
Black” by Sarah Artt and Anne Schwan. The reason this TV series received so much attention is
due to the diverse community of imprisoned women and this is the first time every any audience
is exposed to what goes on in a woman cell. The childhood of these inmates reflects who they
are and how they were traumatized one way or another that was one of their causes to their
journey to prison. There are multiple flashbacks set in the series, for the inmates to remember
what they had to go through, how it all ended up as, and where they are now. Numbers continue
to grow on popular representations of punishment in the year of us mass incarceration.
Based on the memoir by Piper Kerman “Orange is the New Black: My year in a Women’s
prison” the tv show Orange is the new Black was made to depict the journey of Piper Kerman in
prison, to give the audience a real taste of the condition’s woman must go through whether their
judged for being white, African American, Hispanic or wherever they came from. The
protagonist of the TV show Piper Chapman is the first character introduced and that introduces
the audience to Litchfield the prison that is holding all these women behind bars. The success of
Orange is the New Black is all contributed to the diversity within the female in prison and all
types of ethnicity presented. As well opens the eyes of the audience to be exposed the different
inmates expected to encounter. Such as transgenders, lesbians, Jewish, Dominicans, Puerto
Ricans, White, and black. Not much is noticed or popularized in the specific comoving real life
experience of piper in an all women facility. The real-life story in a prison of an inmate and how
the criminal system functions inside. Before entering and after coming out of any prison, the experience of these inmates either changes them in a positive or negative way. They do not have
options, they have limits, freedom is no longer a term an inmate can reference too. Kerman
includes in her memoir “I came from a family that prized education. We were a clan of doctors
and lawyers and teachers, with the odd nurse, poet, or judge thrown into the mix. After four
years of study I still felt like a dilettante, underqualified and unmotivated for a life in the theatre,
but neither did I have an alternate plan, for academic studies, a meaningful career, or the great
default- law school” (4-5) Kerman knew graduating with a degree from theatre was not what her
parents expected or wanted. She was passionate about it, but it was not the path she should have
chosen, if it was for her parents. This is where Kerman feels apathetic and giving up since she
does not know what her next step will be. She was lost compared to her family members and
friends, apparently everyone knew where they were going, except for Kerman. She felt more like
an outsider in her family, everyone had a profession that was viewed high-level and well
educated. After being detained she knew nothing was ever going to be the same again and was
not going to remain as her parent’s favorite. While in prison, Piper notices she has two versions
of herself that innocent sweet young girl she was and the one she has become inside of prison.

To recall, in the first season episode one, on Chapman’s first day in prison Lorna Morello
one of the inmates inside gives Chapman a toothbrush explaining to her it is not something
everyone gets in prison. In their conditions, you only survive with what you have and how useful
you make of it. As she tells Chapman “We look out for our own… It’s tribal not racist” A sense
that representation of race plays a major role in prison, that determines your privileges. Lorna
Morella is behind bars for stalking her ex-fiancé, fraud, and attempted murder. This show gives
an idea to the public of an all-female prison mechanism. The inmates have a clique of their own.
They protect the people in them and most of the time are the same color, whether they are all either white, Hispanic, or black. One of the tribes presented in the first season are Cindy,
Taystee, Poussey, and Janae. Cynthia (Cindy) After getting pregnant at a young age and being
single mother Cindy did not make any progress in her life for the better. Cindy is arrested for
theft giving her daughter an iPad that she stole from someone’s luggage at the airport and leaving
her alone at one point to go smoke marijuana. Janae got arrested for armed robbery. Taystee got
arrested for heroin trafficking and violation of parole. Poussey Washington got imprisoned for
marijuana possession and trespassing. Rivals are eventually shown in season six again, between
Mendoza and Ruiz, to save themselves and snitch out the other person to save their themselves
and return home. Gloria Mendoza got imprisoned for EBT fraud and is a mother of two children.
The biggest rival is in season five, after Daya has the gun in her hand and obtains control of the
weapon, not only does Daya but the rest of the inmates begin to know how it feels like to have
authority and decide to unite as one. Inmates vs Co and the whole criminal justice system. The
riot gets bigger than expected and Taystee riots mostly for the death of her best friend Poussey
Washington who was wrongfully killed by one of the officers inside the prison with all the anger
and desperate emotions they have developed against the officers for a list of demands and better

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Sophia Burset is the only transgender person at Litchfield. Before, becoming a female,
she used to be a fire fighter and had trouble revealing who she really is, feared of being accepted
and for confronting the world including his wife and son. She suffers with her identity due to the
idea that everyone else perceives her differently ever since she changed her gender. Even more
shame is slammed onto her in prison for being a “tranny” and for being someone she is not. Her
primary concern is her son who was not pleased with her change and pushed her away because
he was embarrassed of who his father really was and wanted to be. Things do not always turn out as expected. Bursett got imprisoned for credit fraud. Even in prison Bursett wishes to get treated
like any other female and not be recognized for the man that changed his body into the figure of
a female. Referring to the review by Brian Lowry, part of the company CNN, “‘Orange Is the
New Black’ still confined by prison-riot plot” talks about the new season, season six that was yet
to come Lowry notices the TV series is not worth watching as it once was. Season six is not
really organized in the first episode explaining where everyone ended up and what they are up to
now because there is always something new. The struggles continue for the inmates to survive
out of the living hell the CO’s are making it for them and just looks like the same problem over
again in prison. There is no change.

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No one cares about these inmates. Whether they are guilty or no, they do it their way
whether it is brutal or not. They want the story they want to hear. This is proven in season six
episode two when they wish to sentence Jefferson up to ten years or more for something she did
not do. The only reason they are naming her guilty is to solve the case and so they can act as if
they have done their job to make justice. Of course, her voice was not heard because she is an
inmate, what right would she have. Just like nobody cared for justice to be served for Poussey
Washington. After Frieda, attempts suicide the officers begin to be more cautious about her
because at the end of the day these officers are responsible for them, because they are in control,
under their sight. Frieda got imprisoned for killing her husband and other murders she has
committed including killing a cop but does not know whether she was caught for that or not.
They do not really care if she dies, it is just another number that will look bad in the criminal
system and they do not want to deal with that. In the newspaper article “Everything is Different
the Second Time Around” The stigma of Temporality on Orange is The New Black”" by Rachael E. Silverman and Emily D. Ryalls. They focus on the elderly women still in prison and have used their tactic skills to survive throughout these years. Whom also, have a reputation if they are alive. The formed their own group, called the golden tribe of women at least all over fifty that Reda and Freida have gained charge of. After a fellow of his CO says not all of them are bad or mean and are just as humans as they are. CO Stefanovic responds with “In the second you start seeing those animals like that you’re fucked.” The audience is exposed to the unjustified
treatment of officers towards Inmates, in which everyone imagines but does not imagine how
severe it could be led to, if no limits are put upon. In season six, Red reveals her thoughts saying,
“They want us to go down, regardless of what we did or didn’t do.” This is depicted in season
six, when they want one of the inmates that participated in the riot to be found guilty for the
death of Piscatella when another official shot him by accident while they were going in to find
the inmates and take them out. It is more of a blame on her, so we can have a name.

1. “Orange Is the New Black.” 2013. (TV Series)
2. Kerman, Piper. Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison. Spiegel &
Grau, 2015.

3. "’Orange is the New Black still confined by prison-riot plot." CNN Wire, 26 July
2018. Academic
ONE&xid=ca51abe9. Accessed 6 Dec. 2018.
4. Silverman, Rachel E., and Emily D. Ryalls. “‘Everything Is Different the Second Time
Around’: The Stigma of Temporality on Orange Is the New Black.” Television & New
Media, vol. 17, no. 6, Sept. 2016, pp. 520–533, doi:10.1177/1527476416647496.
5. Artt, S., & Schwan, A. (2016). Screening Women’s Imprisonment: Agency and
Exploitation in Orange Is the New Black. Television & New Media, 17(6), 467–472.