'Orange Is the New Black': Read the Real Life Modern Love Column Mentioned in the Netflix Series
Orange Is The New Black is excellent at creating three-dimensional characters that can't easily be pegged as "right" or "wrong" in any given situation. The show's writers want us to constantly be engaged with every one of its characters, inmate or not: Piper is a criminal just as much as she's a well-bred Smith graduate, Red seemed horrible until we realized she was left out of that group of annoying housewives, that really angry girl who exercised all the time just wanted to be able to run track, and Piper's future in-laws seem to kind of suck until you remember that their son is an unemployed writer engaged to a prison inmate.
The one character we have trouble staying on board with, though (besides maybe the super religious girl played by Taryn Manning), is Larry. Larry, played by American Pie's Jason Biggs, seems nice enough — he proposes to Piper even after learning that she's going to prison for a year, he follows his journalism dreams as far as forcing himself into masochistic masturbation practices, he's an all-around good guy. But it gets harder and harder to tolerate his self-pity throughout the series — his monologue to that bartender about how bad he felt for thinking her ass looked good may have been the tipping point, in retrospect.
As it turns out, though, Larry may be the most true-to-life character on Orange Is the New Black. The real 2010 article he published about his and Piper Kerman's situation, Modern Love, is well-written and absorbing, but exactly as self-congratulating as we would have expected it to be. Here's a snippet:
"Once she was away, I paid her bills, kept her e-mail in-box from overflowing, signed for her packages, began my own weekly visitation routine and managed her visitation list so that she wouldn’t have three visitors one weekend, then none the next. At times I felt like a crazed mom juggling the kids’ soccer and piano lesson schedules. [...]
Friends constantly told me what an amazing boyfriend I was. My new prison fraternity, I’m sure, heard similar refrains. But it never occurred to us to congratulate ourselves for our commitment. We lived for that trip, for those few hours."
Imagine: checking someone else's email and signing for their packages for an entire year while they fight for sanity in prison. Kudos, Larry.