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Orange Is The New Black

This series on Netflix is quite a powerful one. It starts with Piper Chapman going to prison willingly for having transporting drugs with her friend, Alex Vause. This has been quite a while ago and in the meantime, Piper has broken up with Alex and started a new life with a man whom she is now engaged to.

Piper Chapman is based on a real person, most of the characters are too. Piper was an actual inmate and what happens inside is the real deal, though I’m sure lots of it is -at least a bit- romanticised aswell.

The series stars are Taylor Schilling as Chapman, who is very good at putting up a desperate, innocent face. Excellent for a newbie in prisonhood, I gotta say. Further more Laura Prepon, Uzo Aduba (who is effing great! Really, WOW!), Michael Harney (the big, sad looking Droopy dog, who you can’t help wanting to throw a bone at, every now and then, just to comfort him), Lea DeLaria (bloody funny), Kate Mulgrew (again: WOW! Ace play in every way, angry or loving, awardingly stunning), Natasha Lyonne (reminds me a bit of Rizzo from Grease, somehow; big mouth, tiny heart), Yael Stone, Jessica Pimentel, Laverne Cox (Fashion Police inside prison. At least, at first sight), Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley (sweet bookworm), Nick Sandow and Annie Golden. That last one, who plays Norma, is especially worth mentioning, as she is an important part of the group, but secretly doesn’t speak until…well, when she does. Meanwhile, everybody knows her. You too. You keep seeing her. You don’t notice she doesn’t speak until the moment she does.

The first season shows Piper who is trying to survive prisonhood. As an inmate of a -sort of- light crime, she doesn’t want any trouble, as most new inmates probably would like, but prisonlife simply doesn’t lend itself for that attitude.
Orange Is The New Black shows the viewer that in prison, the law is no longer with you. You’re part of a zoo with the other inmates there to make the rules for you. Make that laws. Telling on others will get you into trouble and there is no protection. I think that’s the most important message this series send out. Why prison is shit.
The first season also shows quite a lot of girl-on-girl-sex. In such a way, it bores quite quickly actually. Like all of them are lesbians, or you become as such, just being bored and think ‘oh, what the heck’. Though I’m sure it was great for the viewers rate somehow, it did get old quite quickly. Or maybe I’m just not lesbian enough, I don’t know 😉

The second season starts with showing what exactly happens when the course of the lawsuit against you, proceeds. And how ill informed you can feel as an inmate when this happens. Given that I insist on not throwing spoilers in here -there’s enough of that on social media anyway- I’ll just state that given how season 1 ends, you as a viewer are also put on the wrong leg in season 2. Excellent, of course, because this is what you want to know. How does it work when you’re in prison? If you’re in the outside world, people, especially government people, are obliged to inform you what they are about to do. It is normal to get answers too. When you’re in trouble already, this changes.
This season has its dull/slow moments, but overall it’s exciting and keeps you on your toes regularly.

The third season, however, is though well acted (never a problem there, to be honest) not all that ‘hot’.
And I don’t mean the sex. There’s loads of slow moments in it. Red and Healy having a moment is sweet and does make it possible to slow down a bit without getting bored, but especially things between Piper and Alex, throughout the series, is very ‘Ross & Rachel’ at times. Utterly boring. They’re stuck with each other and they hate it, but being in prison kind of makes it impossible NOT to run into each other and get either mad with rage or frustrated with wanting to talk it over. You already saw Friends, you don’t need that kind of reliving.

The fourth season is picking up the pieces that were loose balls, thankfully.
Not a dull moment in that one.
It does, however, lack the angry, personal emotions that were still there in season 1 and 2. Season 3 ended in a way that made Piper look tough for a change, but for the fourth season they apparently had a change of heart. It’s also a bit weird to see the cast in a different shape. Like they’ve ages enormously in just 5 minutes. Boo suddenly dropped quite some weight and girls that seemed harsh and inhumane, suddenly soften up. It helps that an inmate who was away for some time, returns and makes jokes about it, as it really is undeniable.
I’ll give them that.
Then again, the season has a storyline that will give you the shivers at times. It shows the inmates as groups, perhaps that’s why on personal level, they’re suddenly less agressive towards newbies.
It also shows what happens when budget cuts happen in prison. That it means less care and less human acting against prisoners. And that it’s never the ‘right one’ to suffer from these consequences. That warders play by their own rules if they see fit and that their opinion about prisoners is quite different from what these prisoners are used to with Caputo, the director.
Who has grown up by now. Well, in ways of caring. Before, he actually had time to jerk off, now he is happy if he can spend about 5 minutes behind his desk to clear up the mess that’s been left by his new warders.
In season 1 there’s already a warder that wasn’t quite clean, in season 4 it really gets very ugly.

All seasons have an excellent cliffhanger to them, but I personally most liked the one presented in season 3. Because it makes you feel happy along with them.

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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized

 

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Growing up in a gay household

No, not myself. In a way I wish I was, so I knew what I was talking about.
A relative of mine was, however. Unfortunately he passed away, before I was able to ask him anything about that.

His mothers weren’t just lesbians, they were pioneers at the time. It was the eighties. Not everyone LIKED the idea of people being different back then. One of the grandmothers, for instance. As soon as she heard about the pregnancy, she said ‘don’t expect me to babysit’, basically telling them they didn’t have her blessing.
Nice.
The kid never really felt appreciated by this grandmother as a result of that, which I, quite frankly, understand.

In my old neighbourhood, there was a lesbian couple with children. As a child, my mother always claimed I never asked that many questions about it. Indeed, I can’t remember thinking, while entering their premises, ‘gee, this is odd’. They had four children in total: two girls, a boy my friends and me played with sometimes and there was a fourth one on the way. I did know two mothers weren’t so standard, but I also knew this was simply possible. My mother had explained to me that in a case like that, women just borrowed sperm from someone. Which made my knowledge of ‘borrowing’ a bit peculiar, because weren’t you supposed to return things you borrowed?
But anyway.
There I was, having lemonade and cookies in this house, enjoying that and asking what everyone was called. I do remember thinking I didn’t like the names that much, and years after, hearing those names in Dutch gay households more often. I won’t mention the names as it could be coincidental and I don’t want to give out a Katie Hopkins-like reputation to anyone. And the other gay households I’m talking about were when I worked in children’s daycare, so I didn’t actually see what was going on inside houses. If it was different in any way, if the children acted differently from children in more standard households, for instance.
Shortly after, we went out to play again, so that was it, really.

I was happy to find out about this blog on tumblr instead, written by Jesse Toksvig-Stewart, one of the children of Sandi Toksvig. In their case I suppose their state of being was even more special. Not only were they unique in having two Moms, but also one of the mothers being famous. It does make it extra special. As if you not only have triplets in your household, but they’re identical aswell. Something like that. And still, if it’s the standard you grow up with, it tends to become very normal. It should be. It should be normal as having twins in the house. Special, but good.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Opinion

 

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Frankies’ Fifteenth

Frankie is a fourteen year old with a funny relationship to her boyfriend George (he doesn’t want anyone to know they’re dating), and an even more weird friendship to her best pal Dabby and a history of not fitting in with her peers altogether.
Then one night, Frankie has a dream. About their gymteacher….
Mrs Pilcher.
Now what?

Fragment of Frankies’ Fifteenth:

” Mathematics class was about to get started.

Frankies’ fellow pupils were stumbling around for spots that seemed alright enough to hide everything that wasn’t studymaterial-related.

A walkman, discman, headsets big and small, chewing gums in all colors, shapes and tastes of the rainbow, nail polish, hair brushes and elastic bands, all shades of velvet tip pens you weren’t supposed to use and other things that weren’t to be exposed until lunch break.

They were badly hidden behind ridiculously big brand backpacks. Without those, you had no point even bringing your beloved belongings to school in the first place. It was the innocent approach of breaking the rules, if you will. Teachers were obliged to object to them, so hiding was the best way to go. The Mathematical teacher, bearded Mr Fennel, was quite easy in approach.

He always pretended he didn’t see it. He didn’t understand what the fuzz was all about, nor did he care. Mr Fennel liked his students and as long as they did their very best, he wasn’t prone to do what was expected.

Frankie Thompson and Dabby Leavy had long found their place on the side. A perfect spot, as it had a set of tables pretty much glued to the wall. Or actually the chairs were. They could check everyone coming in and going out, as if it were a pub and they were about to order a drink they weren’t supposed to have.

The spot had the lovely possibility of leaning back against the wall with their chairs and not be bothered to keep a balance, because of it. Ideal.

Frankie had been growing so fast the past time, it felt quite liberating to her feet not touching the floor for once.

Dabby usually used the oppertunity to insult someone she fancied. Though it was hard to tell the difference, as Dabby always insulted anyone that came across. Frankie was just happy if it wasn’t herself for a change.

Frankie was really only waiting for the right moment to tell Dabby she wanted to go to the library.

Eagerly waiting for the class to be settled down, as the hours just changed and they had to walk and sit down a new classroom.

Looking at pupils who practically emptied their backpacks with all the stuff they couldn’t find. Holding her breath when it looked like they were concentrated so deeply into their works that no-one would even notice her and Dabby to exist.

Patiently waiting like an animal waits for its prey to sit exactly right, ready to attack. Waiting for the surrounding factors to be exactly right: no wind, no dust, no rivals, just an easy to catch moment. A predator waiting to attack. Trying to be a chameleon, to solve into thin air, becoming one with everyone and everything so its presence is not noted.

One could wonder what the fuzz was all about concerning the library in the first place: it were just books, nothing special, right?

But there Frankie was, sweating, trying to fix her skirt in such a way it didn’t look like she was there. Getting rid of every wrinkle in the fabric. Every crumble that could be a spot. Checking her nails, if they were in order. Neatly cut and clean, not long and creepy, like a dead finger or something. She had long and thin fingers, but enough nerves to wind up to make the existence of valium a blessing in the end. She wasn’t allowed any, of course, but her sister sometimes threatened to pour it in her drink when Frankie was acting up again.

‘Shut up or I will put Mom’s valium in your tea!’ but since Julia wasn’t here, Frankie felt she could bite her nails the way she liked. Besides, Julia also, would have no idea what it was Frankie got so worked up about. Why would she? Frankie never shared her secrets with anyone at home. Not since Terry had revealed Julia’s favorite type of underwear during dinner. And not in a subtle way either.”

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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Projects, Promoting

 

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