In just two seasons Orange is the New Black has become a true classic. The show has done a great job portraying life in women’s prison as written down by Piper Kerman in her bestselling 2010 memoir of the same name describing a year as an inmate. The in-depth portrayals of the prisoners in their current micro world are backed up by their stories, and alternated with scenes from the outside world where life goes on as usual make this show a mix with a brilliant comi-tragic feel. Did I mention the ton of witty references? Oh the witty references!
I love that the stories are expertly sketched to make a detailed world. The show’s creators obsess over the seemingly irrelevant little details. They take the time to outline everything. And it works. These are some fun facts on the show which made me love it even more.
10 Fun Facts about Orange is the New Black
1. Creator Jenji Kohan also made Weeds
Jason Biggs’ character Larry is watching Weeds in one episode, also created by Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan. Kohan seems to have a thing for female criminals, no? Her brother David Kohan is also an award winning television producer, he is known for co-creating and producing Will & Grace. On the similarities between her and her brother’s career, Kohan has stated “David took the big, commercial, funny route. I was always a little darker personally, and not terrific within the system. I had to make my own way.”
2. The show has had some big names directing.
Jodie Foster directed the third episode of season one called “Lesbian Request Denied”. The episode tells the story of transgender woman Sophia and how she ends up in jail. Sophia is played by real-life transgender Laverne Cox, whose real-life twin brother played her pre-transition in the flashback sequence in episode.
Apart from Jodie Foster, Andrew McCarthy has been the director of three different episodes: “Bora Bora Bora,” “Fool Me Once,” and “The Chickening.”
3. Kate Mulgrew, a.k.a. Red, played Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager.
There was a Star Trek reference in a conversation between Red and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) where she didn’t know who Spock was.
There are some speculations on why the character was named Red. She has red hair, she’s Russian, her last name is Reznikov… But the most interesting guess could be a “The Shawshank Redemption” reference. In the movie, there is also a character called Red who smuggles goods into prison, like Kate Mulgrew’s character does on Orange is the New Black.
4. Much like her character, Natasha Lyonne has had some serious drug problems in the past.
At one point in the opening season, we see a huge scar on Nicky’s chest from a heart surgery her character received related to her drug abuse. The scar is real.
5. The real Larry really wrote a piece in The New York Times.
Here it is.
6. “The webcam horror”
Jason Biggs (Larry) makes an American Pie reference to his own character in the first episode of the series. Well actually, two.
7. The faces in the intro video are all real ex-inmates.
The real Piper Kerman actually makes an appearance around 1:00. She’s the woman who blinks. The song in the intro is called “We’ve got time” and was written by Regina Spektor for the show.
8. Laura Prepon (Alex) first tried out for the role of Piper Chapman.
Kohan has said that Prepon’s audition was great but she wasn’t suited to play Piper: “You wouldn’t worry about Prepon in prison”
9. Guess who was a musical star?
Norma Romano is the silent inmate who helps out in the prison kitchen. Norma is played by Annie Golden was once the lead singer of the 70s pop band The Shirts and later a Broadway musical star.
10. The show is pretty big on book references.
There’s a whole tumblr dedicated to it called Books of orange is the new black! Find it right here.
PS: The cast is completely adorable. Check out this post with some behind the scenes shots!
Images (c) Netflix, Laverne Cox’ twitter and UPN