Orange is the New Black: 35 Reasons to Watch

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1. Piper (upper-class soap artisan who is engaged to Larry who is serving time for delivering drug money ten years ago)

(oh, and her ex – partner in crime/girlfriend, Alex, is in there with her.)

2. Alex (Donna from That’s 70s show! she’s one to love even if Piper doesn’t -ish – anymore. and she reads great books)

3. Nicky (one of my favorites – smart mouth redhead who decides to show Piper the ropes of prison life – and Lorna some love)

4. Red (Russian cafeteria chef /boss/mother to those who are smart enough not to complain about the food)

5. Taystee (another favorite – a strong, smart woman inside of Litchfield, but afraid of what she’ll become once she gets out)

6. Dayanara (daughter to another inmate,  reader of all things manga, and crusher on prison guard)

7. Poussey (Taystee’s loyal best friend – their rapport is genuine and hilarious)

8. Miss Claudette (Piper’s hardcore bunkmate who is thought to murder with voodoo…but she’s actually pretty sweet.

classic case of misconstrued intentions)

9. Lorna (talks endlessly about her wedding plans once she gets out, but has a fiery fling with Nicky)

10. Crazy Eyes (misunderstood by the the rest of the prison because of her ENTHUSIASM – her story is one of the most interesting to unfold)

11. Sophia (a transgender woman who prides herself on her salon skills)

12. Janae (high school-track star turned bitter inmate)

13. Tricia (the youngest and one of my favorites, with a striking neck tattoo and rivalry with Big Boo)

14. Flaca (Maritza’s best friend with a soft spot for 80s music)

16. Big Boo (the loudest and proudest of the bunch)

17. Black Cindy (always ready to crack a joke – the more inappropriate the better)

18. Maritza (Aleida’s prison daughter who doesn’t mind giving Daya a hard time)

19. Maria (pregnant in prison and full of wisdom)

20. Norma (stands silently – but loyally – next to Red)

21. Gloria Mendoza (mother of four outside, mother to all inside)

22. Yoga Jones (soft-spoken Yogi who brings the zen to prison)

23. Sister Ingalls (that’s right, a nun – can’t wait to hear her story )

24. Aleida (Daya’s mother – ready to offer advice that stings. like a slap)

25. Pennsatucky (leads the religious inmates on a vengeful strike against Piper and anyone who befriends her. the worst)

26. Wanda (prison guard not short on sass)

27. Susan (prison guard newbie trying to connect with the women but still have respect)

28. Natalie Figueroa (keeps prison and Joe Caputo in check, while staying a lady)

Oh and the guys, too:

29. Sam Healy (Piper’s confidante at the prison who tries to keep everything in order, but it’s a little hard since he has a grudge against lesbians)

30. Pornstache (the douchiest but funniest of the guards)

31. John (prisonguard newbie who’s having a hard time straying his gaze from Daya)

32. Joe Caputo (in a constant effort to upstage Figueroa, as well as impress Susan)

And the people stuck outside of the prison shenanigans:

33. Larry (Piper’s seemingly innocent fiance left to imagine what Piper is getting into)

34. Polly (Piper’s pregnant best friend that likes to put things bluntly)

35. Cal Chapman (Piper’s “crazy” brother who speaks the truth)

And there are even more characters – Gina, Joel Luscheck, that prison guard that eats Go-Gurt – that are not included (due to my eyes burning from scrolling), but significant in their own right.

The main reason why I enjoy this show so much is character development. Each episode centers around a single inmate, flashing back to what they did to end up in prison and emphasizing how they’ve changed or stayed the same; while some women show remorse, others have gotten worse (PENNSATUCKY).

It’s all about personal growth, and even though Piper’s the main character, she’s not the only one with a story. Orange is the New Black takes women of different races, sizes, backgrounds, and rap sheets to show that, in Piper’s words, “I am in here because I am no different from anybody else in here.”

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