Bad Decisions, Expectations, and Privilege: 4 Things I Learned from Season 6 of OITNB

THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED SEASON 6 OF “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (OITNB), PLEASE DON’T READ THIS. I REALLY DON’T WANT TO READ THE ANGRY EMAILS. SO SAVE YOUR PITCHFORKS AND RHYTHMIC CHANTING FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

I tell everyone that I have the attention span of a ferret on meth when it comes to television programming. So if I actually stick with a series all of the way through, I feel like I deserve an award. So if I’m being honest about my love affair with OITNB, I have to admit that I didn’t watch a whole lot of season 5 because of my painfully short attention span and … well … I just wasn’t interested.

Fast forward to this summer and I decided to spend one hang over, possibly depression sleeping afternoon, binge watching season 6. I mean it’s not like I had anything else planned … or the desire to do anything else with my existence that day.

But it wasn’t until I finished up the last episode Sunday night that I had a moment.

Because I realized …

As the credits rolled …

There is a lot to be learned by watching this hit or miss TV show (come on, y’all know season 5 was kind of trash).

So this week, I decided to round out the list of 4 things I learned watching season 6 of OITNB, while simultaneously rolling in my own filth, cookie crumbs, and grease remnants from all the fried food I consumed (shhh!!! Don’t tell nobody).

  1. We’re all one bad decision away from being locked up.

This is a sentiment echoed from season one, but I can’t help but to think about it every time I make it through an episode. I mean from “the animal, the animal … trapped, trapped, trapped …” all of the way to the end credits, each episode is brimming with the truth about many of those incarcerated in America and how ONE … just ONE bad decision … or one bad patch in their lives full of bad decisions, lead them to where they are. Now, that’s not to make excuses or to say we shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of our behavior. But it does make me think about some of the things I’ve done in my life and how if I would have turned left instead of right; stood still instead of moved; stayed instead of left; my life could have been drastically altered. Hell, if I were still being judged by something I did when I was 21, yeah, let’s just say that I wouldn’t be living the life I am now.

  1. Nothing ever ends up the way we expect … no matter how much we think we’re preparing.

So I’m watching Badison torture Piper for 12 long episodes. Knowing she was more emotionally equipped to handle the situation, her girlfriend (now wife … and let me just shout out that adorable prison wedding) did her best to make arrangements to protect her. I mean, the poor woman put her academic goals in the toilet (literally) to join a women’s prison gang so that her wife would finish out the rest of her time incident free. Talk about love! So, she does all of that … all of that … end Piper ends up getting released the next day. I mean seriously … If that’s not proof that life can throw us curve balls, I don’t know what is.

  1. Sometimes we’ll forgo justice in the interest of self-preservation.

This one is a little deeper. In the last season I actually did pay attention to, poor Sofia was locked away being grossly mistreated … I mean hell, one could argue that she was being mistreated the entire time. But that’s a discussion for another time … on another soap box. But when she finally has the chance to get justice for herself and the other women in the prison, she decides to take a settlement from the prison to keep quiet. Now, I’m not judging her decision because she did what she thought was the right thing for her and her family, but it did make me think about what I would have done in that situation. We talked about self-preservation before and how we all do what’s in our best interest … it is survival. But sometimes that comes at a cost … one that I am not sure society as a whole can afford to pay.

  1. Privilege is so real, most times we don’t even know it is happening.

This one went over my head at first … I mean I watched it and saw what was happening, but it wasn’t until the final credits rolled and I started looking around online for other people’s takes on the season that it became obvious. I came across this article during my “googles” (yes, that’s a verb – Shout out to the “Getting Grown” podcast) that talked about Piper and how throughout the show, she has been afforded opportunities the other women weren’t. Piper gets what Piper wants. She wanted to get married, she got it. She didn’t expressly say she wanted to get out early, but she was given the opportunity. She went home to her family, meanwhile Flacka and the other brown people who were also told they were going home were shipped off to an ISIS camp. I mean, hell, she didn’t even want to leave the prison, despite Flacka telling her it was the “best day of her life” … the irony being that Flacka had no idea about her true fate … trading one prison for another. And here I was, cheering for this privileged woman … neither one of us really knowing how privileged she was … it saddened me that some things are just so deeply engrained into “just the way things are” that we don’t even see it happening … even when it’s playing out right in front of our faces.

So I had to whittle my list down to 4 things in the interest of time … and space … and the fact that I currently have dinner on the stove, but you get the point.

If you think I miss something, chime in and let me know.

Until next time folks,

Don’t be like me,

Laying around on the weekend eating copious amounts of carbs,

Unless …

You’re still learning something in your laziness.

Love and Light,

 

Erin

What did you say?

You miss me when I’m gone?

Well, you know you can keep up with my antics every other day of the week:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theladywrites82

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/theladywrites82

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8022454.Erin_T_McMillon

You can also find all of my books The Becoming of Us, Vol. I, The Becoming of Us, Vol. II, What’s Hiding in the Dark: 10 Tales of Urban Lore, and They Eat on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/130-2120102-2933537?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=erin+mcmillon

 

 

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