[It should go without saying, this post contains spoilers. I would characterize them as minor spoilers - they are decontextualized quotes from throughout the series. But I don’t know where you fall on the spoiler spectrum, friend, so tread carefully.]
The Netflix hit has everyone talking but while a great deal of praise has been given to the show’s racially diverse cast (deserved praise, it should be noted!), there hasn’t been much serious conversation about how the show actually employs these characters and to what effect. Frankly, the racial politics can feel a bit sloppy at times.
As this excellent piece from In These Times highlights, everything from its understanding of the historic and contemporary realities of how women of color move through prison to its portrayal of women of color’s sexuality needs to be examined. Especially as the beginning of the series relies so heavily on on a white girl fish-out-of-water narrative to introduce the world, one cannot be blamed for starting the show with a bit of hesitation. But by the end of the season, it turns into an amazing and refreshing foray into the stories of women of color that is so rarely seen on television that you can’t help but fall in love with the show.
Here are just a few of the many times this incredible ensemble cast gave me life:
1. When Taystee shouts something you’ve definitely thought to yourself…
2. When Ms. Claudette showed up everyone’s decorating skills:
3. …And when that decoration was properly appreciated!
4. This exchange between Taystee and Poussey about “White people politics” that actually had you dying.
(You are reading this from the afterlife, obvi)
5. Actually, wait no, just their whole damn beautiful friendship is giving you life.
7. Also, when Daya captures your inner angsty teen who likes to curl up in the bed and read and draw manga while ignoring everyone.
8. Every time Sophia is about that ballin’ on a budget life.
Yup. Here for it. Werk.
9. When Janae is trying to point things out to a certain oblivious protagonist…
10. When Taystee ignores everything and just starts dancing:
11. When Suzanne captures your response to patronizing white women everywhere:
13. …And you just can’t even deal because they’re just so damn beautiful together omfg just look at her smile!!!
14. When Sophia and Crystal share some difficult and tender moments as they work through their relationship.
15. When Suzanne captures your life motto:
Sure, she doesn’t actually say this and someone on Tumblr just added these words. But does it even matter though? Life motto right here.
16. Also, when she quotes Shakespeare with the theatrical flair of a Lawrence Olivier.
Which makes sense because actress Uzo Aduba comes from the world of theater.
17. No but really though. Suzanne’s Shakespeare is everything.
19. When Ms. Claudette captures how you feel about Piper.
20. When Taystee tells the best stories:
“See what had happened was…”