Orange Is the New Black Is the New House of Cards

Here is Salon’s Willa Paskin on Netflix’s new original and available-for-streaming-all-at-once-so-your-life-is-over-for-at-least-13-hours series:

Without ever being anything less than wildly entertaining, “Orange” is effortlessly in conversation with all of TV’s biggest themes, and, boy, does it have something new to say about every single one of them. Here is a show that is explicitly about the consequences of breaking bad, but that never glorifies it: Violating the law does not for one moment seem cool, just a bad choice that gets you locked up. By virtue of its almost entirely female cast, it’s an instant retort to the macho-man craze, proof positive that female dynamics are more than interesting enough to build a show around, whether they be romantic, maternal, familial or tribal. It stars a white girl, but in its racial diversity and frank acknowledgment of racial issues is a lesson to every show that does not address these subjects as a matter of course. There’s a scene where the camera hops around the cafeteria from the white table to the black table to the Hispanic table (prison is a lot like high school), with each group being more racist than the last. It’s probably the sharpest, funniest racial bit I’ve seen on TV since “The Chappelle Show.”

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