Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

orange ishte newYou probably know the Netflix show Orange is the New Black, and you may or may not know that the plot is based on a true story. I wanted the details, which is what led me to Piper Kerman’s memoir, detailing her year in a women’s prison. 

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The first season is the truest to the book, of course with its differences as well, but the nature of how, when, and why Piper went to prison are all true. The beginning of the book tells the story of her crime, when she was in her twenties, and is almost identical to the scene in the show. The blonde wig disguise, the skipping of customs, and the love affair was all true. Even certain lines were the same, such as Piper’s grandmother asking what she did with all the money – to which Piper replied, “Well Grandma, I wasn’t really in it for the money…”

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Much of her arrival to prison paralleled her real experience as well, such as getting the gift of a toothbrush from other white women and having her bed made for her so that they’d pass inspection. A lot of characters also parallel the show. The driver with a New York accent and bright red lipstick is certainly comparable to Lorna Morello, there’s a track star just like Janae, and Spanish mami’s that reminded me of Gloria and Maria. All names were changed for the show of course, and not all crimes in the show match up with those who committed them in real life.

alex cThe biggest difference between the book and the TV show, is that the real Alex Vause was not in the same prison as Piper. In the book, Piper calls the Alex character by the name of Nora Janson, but the real woman is named Cleary Wolters. The two of them did not end up together, and Piper is actually still happily married to Larry. Piper and Alex did cross paths when they ran into each other while being held in Chicago, where they were both called to testify against another man involved in their crime ring. There was a lot of tension during that time, and no romantic interactions. There was, however, a woman there who relentlessly tried to obtain Piper’s birth time and place for her chart.

piper and larryChicago also played a major factor of what was different in the book versus the TV show, as Piper’s release date actually came in real life while she was being held in Chicago for the trial. She was released from there, and had to fly home with Larry to New York. The final season of OTINB will show Piper’s release from prison, and I hope that they throw Piper Chapman the going-away party that Piper Kerman was robbed of.

piper

If you are an avid fan of the show, the book is a great read. There’s many quick tidbits or opinions that became major story lines in the show, which is really fascinating to see how they used the book as a resource. It’s like they have their regular story line, and they frequently go back to the book whenever they needed inspiration.

Here are some more similarities and differences that I found interesting or noteworthy:

  • Piper’s grandmother really did get sick and pass away while Piper was in prison. Piper did apply for furlough, but it was, of course, never granted.
  • There really was a girl nicknamed Pennsatucky, and she really did get new teeth! However, she had no extreme religious story line, and she and Piper were actually good friends throughout their stay.
  • Danbury becomes Litchfield. Yoga Janet becomes Yoga Jones. And Pop – who runs the kitchen, has a very long sentence, and often gets special treatment – becomes Red.
  • Martha Stewart was sentenced to prison during this time, who would be comparable to the Judy character in the show. However, she did not serve time in the same camp as Piper. Though Danbury was the location requested by Martha so that she could be close to her grandmother, the camp was conveniently and temporarily closed at that time to ensure that Martha would not be taking one of the beds there, which could lead them to media scrutiny.
  • Larry really did write a segment for a newspaper’s ‘modern love’ column. However, it had little to do with Piper’s time in prison. It was actually pretty short and very sweet, and about how much he loved Piper. Piper and Larry’s relationship is still a success to this day, and they reside together in Brooklyn.

piper kPiper was also very reflective as she got to the end of the book, and was able to understand the bigger picture of her crimes. When she was a young girl moving this suitcase of money, she was not thinking of how drugs affect the rest of the country. She reflected on women who were put in terrible situations, and were involved in drug crimes simply because they had no other options. Piper also acknowledged her privilege and how she was given opportunities after leaving prison that other women would not be so lucky to have. She talked about how the U.S. correctional system does not do much “correcting”, and does not set up prisoners to have successful lives when they are released. Piper has gotten involved in prison reform and women’s rights since her release, and I hope that her efforts can better the lives of future women who are incarcerated.

If you are interested in Piper’s cause, you can visit www.piperkerman.com/justice-reform or facebook.com/orangeisthenewblack.

The seventh and final season of Orange Is The New Black will be released on Netflix on Friday, June 26th, 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Summer TV

summertv2SUMMER TV IS HEREEEE!!! Now that it’s officially June, there are so many new shows starting up. ESPECIALLY GAME SHOW REVIVALS!!! I am so excited. My friend has recommended the app TV Time to me, where you can track your favorite shows and get notifications when new episodes are being released. Here’s what I’ll be adding to my watch list for summer:

Monday, June 3: 
So You Think You Can Dance – FOX

Wednesday, June 5:
Grown-ish – FreeForm

Sunday, June 9: 
Celebrity Family Feud – ABC
$100,000 Pyramid – ABC
To Tell The Truth – ABC

Wednesday, June 12:
Press Your Luck – ABC
Card Sharks – ABC
Match Game – ABC

Sunday, June 16:
Euphoria – HBO

Monday, June 17:
Whose Line Is It Anyway? – The CW

Thursday, June 20:
Family Food Fight – ABC
Spin The Wheel – ABC

Tuesday, June 25:
Big Brother – CBS

Thursday, July 25:
Orange Is The New Black – Netflix

Monday, July 20:
Bachelor In Paradise – ABCtv1

Thanks for reading!

Winter TV

netflixThere’s already so many shows that I am keeping up with right now, but I’ve always got room for more! Here’s a super quick list of what is coming out this month that I will be watching:

Monday, January 7th: 
America’s Got Talent: The Champions – NBC
The Bachelor – ABC

Tuesday, January 8:
Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club – MTV

Friday, January 18:
Grace and Frankie – NETFLIX

Monday, January 21:
Celebrity Big Brother – CBS

Sunday, January 27th:
Rent – FOXwinter tv

Thanks for reading!

The Bisexual (TV Show)

NEW SHOW TO WATCH ASAP!! STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND START BINGING!!bisexual 3Hulu recently released a new British TV series from Channel 4 called The Bisexual. 6 episodes were released in October, each about 30 minutes in length.

The main character of the show (Leila) is ending a 10 year relationship with a woman and begins to explore relationship with men. She struggles with her identity and how to label herself, as she isn’t comfortable with the term “bisexual.”

The main goal of the show is to break through the stereotypes of bisexuality in hopes of moving forward.

As a bisexual, I found this show incredibly relatable. I’m continuously being seen one way or the other depending on who I am with – appearing straight with men but gay with women. It’s hard to truly be seen as a bisexual, and even when we are seen, we are incredibly oversexualized. It’s difficult to point out bisexuals in the media, and sometimes this is seen as a phase or something we will grow out of. Straight people may see me as gay while the gay community may see me as straight. Bisexuality is not always recognized and not always taken seriously.

These are the ideas that this show explored for me.

There were two specific scenes within this amazing set of episodes that really hit home to me on a personal level: one as a bisexual, and the other simply as a human.

The first scene deals with some of the connotations surrounding the word bisexual and what associations the main character makes when she hears the word:

Gabe: Do you think that maybe, you’re a bisexual?

Leila: I don’t like that word.

Gabe: Why not?

Leila: When you hear “bisexual”, you think like, Tila Tequila. And you think, Anne Heche.

Gabe: Who?

Leila: Exactly. There’s nobody. There’s no precedence. When I hear “bisexual” I think, “lame slut.” It’s tacky. It’s gauche. It makes you seem disingenuous – like your genitals have no allegiance. You know? Like you have no criteria for people. It’s there’s just an open door policy. It’s not a nice thing to be, it’s not a cool thing to be, and it makes my fucking skin crawl.

HA. And there it is. All the wonderful stereotypes that come along with bisexuality wrapped up in one wonderful paragraph. We are considered promiscuous and indecisive attention-seekers with a lack of heart and no commitment to anything. Hearing all of these things said out loud was freeing to me. It made me laugh, and it made me proud. And it made me excited to tear it all down.

The other scene that hit home to me was regarding intimacy and experiences with other people:

Jon-Cris: How many people have you been this intimate with?

Leila: Like had sex with?

Jon-Cris: No, no, how many people have you laid in bed with all day and held hands with, talked about your childhood with, how many like five? More than five?

Leila: I don’t know.

Jon-Cris: More than ten?

Leila: Why does it matter?

Jon-Cris: Because you can’t just open someone up and make then feel safe and then change your mind the next day. It makes your intimacy worth shit. You are an emotional intimacy whore.

Damn. I felt that shit waaaay too hard. I’ve found a lot of meaning in my relationships, even if I’m not a fan of what a standard serious relationship might look like. I’ve bonded with people on so many levels and in so many different ways that all hold significance to me. Hearing these words and thinking about what my answer might have been definitely made me think – am I also an emotional intimacy whore? Is it wrong that I have the ability to connect deeply with someone, even if its temporary?bisexual 2I recorded these two scenes on my phone and played them for myself over and over, hearing each word and how they made me feel. Overall, it made me feel proudly misunderstood. People of all communities seem to forget that the B in LGBTQ hold substance, and there are a large amount of people who identify with this word. We are curious people of course, but we are also so many other things.

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Most importantly, we are individuals. And all of our journeys are different in their own way.

So yeah, please go watch this show. It holds a lot of significance to me, and I hope to other bisexuals as well.

Thanks for reading.

2018 Emmy Award Winners (sat & sun)

Getting excited for the TV red carpet event of the year?! The 70th PrimeTime Emmy Awards broadcasts live tonight, September rs_1024x576-180710125059-1024.emmys.7131817th at 8PM on NBC, hosted by SNL’s Collin Jost and Michael Che. Over the weekend, many nominations received their award on nights one and two that took place on September 15th and 16th. In case you need a recap, here is a highlight of several 2018 Emmy winners so far:

Samira Wiley, Handmaid_s TaleOutstanding Guest Actress on a Drama Series – Samira Wiley, Handmaid’s Tale

This Is Us - Season 1Outstanding Guest Actor on Drama Series – Ron Cephas Jones, This is Us

Tiffany Haddish, SNLOutstanding Guest Actress on a Comedy Series – Tiffany Haddish, SNL

Katt Williams, AtlantaOutstanding Guest Actor on a Comedy Series – Katt Williams, Atlanta

Queer EyeOutstanding Structured Reality Program – Queer Eye

United Shades of AmericaOutstanding Unstructured Reality Program – United Shades of America

RuPaul, RuPaul's Drag RaceOutstanding Host for a Reality Program – RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

U.S.S. Callister Mutato Building EventOutstanding Television Movie – USS Callister

Mandy Moore, So You Think You Can DanceOutstanding Choreography – Mandy Moore, So You Think You Can Dance

Game of ThronesOutstanding Special Visual Effects – Game of Thrones

James Corden_s Next James CordenOutstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama – James Corden’s Next James Corden

one-direction-joins-james-corden-for-carpool-karaoke-720x720Outstanding Short Form Variety Series – Carpool Karaoke

Rick and MortyOutstanding Animated Program – Rick and Morty

Robot ChickenOutstanding Short Form Animated Program – Robot Chicken

Alex Borstein, Family GuyOutstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Alex Borstein, Family Guy

Dave Chappelle, EquanimityOutstanding Pre-Recorded Variety Special – Dave Chappelle, Equanimity

Tune in tonight at 8 PM to see the rest of the big winners! (For a list of nominations and some predictions from someone in the industry, click HERE!)

Thanks for reading.

The Bechdel Test

One of my best friends, Kelly is a graphic designer in the entertainment industry and keeps me up to date on upcoming movies, television theories, and of course celebrity news and gossip. She has lived in LA for the past two years and is currently transitioning to NYC. Her experiences working in this industry and living in LA has been awesome to follow and I’m sure she will have a lot of success in New York as well. You can find her portfolio and blog at www.kellyohara.com.

While reading through her blog posts about upcoming movies and lovable TV characters, I found a post where she explained The Bechdel Test. This feminist test consists of 3 rules in which a film must meet in order to pass:

  • The film must have at least two female characters with names.
  • The two female characters must have dialogue.
  • The dialogue must be about something other than a man.

It sounds simple enough, but within Kelly’s blog post was over a dozen movies that didn’t really pass. She often writes about how women are represented and recognized on screen, and promotes strong female characters with meaningful storylines. To view her original post, click HERE!

My boyfriend and I are frequent movie goers, so I decided to apply this test to the 5 movies released in 2018 that we have seen so far. (Don’t worry – no spoilers!)

205px-Rampage_(film)

Rampage: Kinda sorta passes.
While the movie technically passes, there isn’t a lot of female interaction in general here. There’s a couple of key scenes where the females on opposing sides come face to face, but that’s pretty much it. However, the women are intelligent and highly educated, so that’s something.

A_Quiet_Place_film_posterA Quiet Place: Definitely passes.
The four main characters consist of a mother, father, daughter and son and there is plenty of dialogue that includes the women- despite the fact that that dialogue is in sign language. The family is living in a silent world and the daughter is deaf, but she plays a detrimental part in the plot’s conclusion. Both the mother and daughter are innovative leaders, and I wouldn’t say that typical gender roles apply here. Everyone is equal, and everyone does what they have to in order to protect each other. The movies itself is amazing and I highly recommend.

portrait_incredibleAvengers Infinity War: Just barely passes. – This was disappointing. There are a ton of strong female characters in this movie – why didn’t any of them talk to each other?! The only reason that this movie passes at all is because of one all-female fight scene that – while pretty badass – was also pretty short. It was also annoying that every single female character had an on-screen love interest, which largely drove their side storylines. I won’t even talk about the role of Iron Man’s nagging wife… like I said, disappointing.

5a5c753ac8049Red Sparrow: Passes. – Truthfully, this movie didn’t portray men very well. They are weak creatures in the eyes of the Russian women, and can easily be taken down once that weakness is found. The women are powerful, manipulative, and stealthy. However, the movie had more rape scenes than I was prepared for and definitely showed a side of Russian culture that feminists may not agree with. So.. the movie passes, but there’s a lot more to be explored here.

MV5BZjA5MjZkNmQtNmI1ZS00M2RiLWFlMmUtNGU1ZjA4YTA0NjliXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTM3MDMyMDQ@._V1_UY268_CR9,0,182,268_AL_I Feel Pretty: Passes. – Amy Shumer has done a lot for the feminist movement with her stand up comedy, but this movie is more family-friendly than her normal content. Aside from one quick sex scene in which Amy’s character is looking at herself in the mirror, this is a movie you could watch with young girls. It sends a great message – you’re as attractive as you feel! Women are always comparing ourselves to each other and highlighting our flaws, when confidence is all we really need. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this movie passes.

Women face challenges in every industry – whether it’s the pay gap, unequal recognition, or lack of opportunities. And by bringing attention to these issues, we can start to fully address them.

So challenge yourself to apply this test to the next movie you watch! Especially films that have recently been released. Lx7JYlnK_400x400(And if this idea has really caught your interest, I recommend listening to the women on The Bechdal Cast Podcast analyze all your favorite movies and why they do or don’t pass.)

Thanks for reading!

www.kellyohara.com