5 Things We Love About 'Orange Is the New Black'

Netflix, the online media platform, continues to pave the way for original programming with its latest original series Orange is the New Black. Based on Piper Kerman's memoir of the same name, the series follows Piper Chapman, a well-to-do New Yorker who is thrown in prison for a drug-smuggling crime she committed 10 years prior. Her time in a woman's prison is documented in the series, which is surprisingly funny and heartfelt in addition to eye-opening about life behind bars. (Especially during a time in which women's prisons have become part of the national conversation.) And, luckily for us, the show has already been renewed for a Season 2. Here are the things that we (and, clearly, you) love about this Netflix series.

'Orange is the New Black' Takes Us to Prison

Netflix, the online media platform, continues to pave the way for original programming with its latest original series Orange is the New Black. Based on Piper Kerman's memoir of the same name, the series follows Piper Chapman, a well-to-do New Yorker who is thrown in prison for a drug-smuggling crime she committed 10 years prior. Her time in a woman's prison is documented in the series, which is surprisingly funny and heartfelt in addition to eye-opening about life behind bars. (Especially during a time in which women's prisons have become part of the national conversation.) And, luckily for us, the show has already been renewed for a Season 2. Here are the things that we (and, clearly, you) love about this Netflix series.

Getting to Know the Prisoners

This show could have easily stereotyped the prisoners in its institution, but thanks to the series' repeated flashbacks, we are able to gain insight into how and why the other inmates got to where they are. Piper's grouchy roommate is more than just a tough lifer — she's got a heartbreaking backstory. And, as much as we're sorry for her, as viewers, we can't help but say, thank goodness.

The Fish-Out-of-Water Story

Piper is used to a career of making bath products ("We were in Barneys," she says proudly to anyone who will listen) and living in a nice NYC apartment — very different from her current position. Watching Piper struggle — and overcome — difficulties from learning how to navigate the prison cliques to learning how to properly make her prison bed is oddly inspiring. Her odd-girl-out story is something we can all relate to in some way... even if we've never been the odd-person-out in prison.

Seeing Actors We've Missed

Where has Jason Biggs been hiding out since the last American Pie film? He's fantastic as Piper's fiancé who can't help but feel a little lost now that the love of his life is behind bars. That '70s Show alum Laura Prepon also stars in the series as Piper's former girlfriend... who happened to be the one who got her into the whole drug-smuggling mess. Even more surprising? The voice of Patty Mayonnaise on the '90s cartoon Doug plays prisoner Constance on the show.

It's Inclusive

Orange is the New Black features a variety of people from different backgrounds and includes positive storylines about transgender identity issues and homosexuality. Truth be told, we need more shows on TV that use these issues as more than just a ratings-pull. Even better? Laverne Cox, transgender rights activist, plays a male-to-female trans woman whose wife stands by her when she undergoes her gender transition.

It's Really, Really Funny

Who would have thought that a show about such bleak circumstances would actually be funny? But an eclectic cast of characters and the self-deprecating humor elevates the show from straight drama. Plus, it pokes fun at the messed-up nature of the prison system, which makes the humor socially relevant as well. Orange Is the New Black really is the new black.