“Orange is the New Black” Season 3: Running Diary

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Just like last year, I’ll be writing up some reactions to each episode of the third season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. It’s likely my reactions will vary in length, depending on my energy level at the time that they write them.

Episode One: “Mother’s Day”
Episode Two: “Bed Bugs and Beyond”
Episode Three: “Empathy is a Boner Killer”
Episode Four: “Finger in the Dyke”
Episode Five: “Fake It Till You Fake It Some More”
Episode Six: “Ching Chang Chong”
Episode Seven: “Tongue Tied”
Episode Eight: “Fear, and Other Smells”
Episode Nine: “Where My Dreidel At”
Episode Ten: “A Tittin’ and a Hairin'”
Episode Eleven: “We Can Be Heroes”
Episode Twelve: “Don’t Make Me Come Back There”
Episode Thirteen: “Trust No Bitch”

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“Orange is the New Black”: Welcome to the Fun Zone

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The third season of Orange is the New Black (which arrived three hours early on Netflix tonight) opens on a sex joke – nay, several jokes about bad sex jokes. Thus begins one of the most loosely plotted episodes in the show’s history.

That’s a smart move on the part of Netflix and showrunner Jenji Kohan. The structure of a television season that unfolds weekly need not apply to a television season that’s intended for speed-consumption (I’ve been trying to purge “binge-watching” from my vocabulary, with mixed success). As soon as the first episode is finished, you can cue the second one without even lifting a finger.

It’s smart, then, for OITNB to return on an episode that immerses viewers in its richly detailed world without submerging it in a sea of intertwined plotlines just yet. And Orange, more than most shows, sustains such an approach. Seeing all of the Litchfield inmates again is like being reminded of a group of old friends you haven’t thought about in a while. For a few minutes, all you can do is think about the good times and the great one-liners. Then reality sets in, and you remember that sometimes you had issues with those friends. Or rather, that they had issues of their own.

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