Orange Is The New Black 101: And There Are Lesbians

You may have heard that I was strapped to a chair to watch all 13 episodes of Orange is the New Black. You heard right. Yesterday and last night, I made my way through every single episode of this show. Yes, I know how it ends. Yes, I have a lot of feelings. No, I won’t spoil you. I love you guys so much that I’m going to take time out of my busy, busy unemployed schedule to recap every single episode so you can follow along as you too attempt to watch the show at a natural non-marathon pace. Good luck with that.


Piper is your standard young professional WASPy Smith graduate (yes, a Smith graduate, and we all know what us Seven Sisters ladies get up to when we’re in isolated female-dominated environments) who has her own artisanal bath products line. She’s engaged to the guy from American Pie, and she’s headed to prison because she moved drug money across international borders back when she was dating a lady in an international drug cartel. Yes, a lady, and I repeat, she dated that lady. Which means that you know from the first episode Orange is the New Black is a show that features LGBTQ characters.

I’ll be honest: I was a teensy bit nervous about all this. Because a lot of series that have queer characters in their secondary lineup can take their sweet time getting to the token LGBTQ storylines. Within those storylines, we’ll be lucky if we get a kiss, and if we do get a kiss, we’ll be lucky if any sex scene that follows isn’t weirdly chaste or largely made up of implication. You know, that super close up on the girl’s face right before it cuts out that suggests maybe, just maybe, she’s about to get eaten out? I hate that shit. We repealed DOMA and gluten-free products are available in most major grocery stores, so why are we still pretending like girls are just gently rolling around with their clothes on? Let’s be a progressive media culture and admit that girlfriend is receiving some game-changing oral sex. Anyway.

So how long into the series do we have to wait to see full-on unquestionably girl-on-girl action? Nineteen seconds. Nineteen seconds and there’s two naked ladies tongue-kissing in the shower. Do you know what you can do in 19 seconds? In 19 seconds you can lightly toast a bagel, or you can apply an olive oil and aloe-based moisturizer to your legs, or you can leave a message on your ex’s answering machine reminding her that it’s your weekend with the dog. In 19 seconds, Orange is the New Black said hey, guess what? We’re not going to play that ‘Our main character kissed a girl once and we’re going to tease you with it the whole season to bait the queer audience and keep them tuning in’ game. We’re going to be upfront about our characters’ sexualities and it’s going to be pretty to watch. Like, super pretty.



So with that lovely period of her life established, we move on to Piper’s current situation. Is it weird that the showers at this prison look a whole lot like my dormitory showers in college, complete with our sworn fear of being barefoot anywhere near the bathroom? Piper has made flip-flops out of maxipads, which only furthers my obsession with the possibility of creating a 50 Things You Can Do With Maxipads Besides Catch Your Menstrual Discharge book.

21. use your maxipads to make flipflops in a federal prison

Roll the opening credits! Featuring Regina Spektor. The only way you could make these credits any gayer would be Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein covering ‘All The Things She Said’ over black and white stills from an Indigo Girls concert.

Now we get to see Piper’s pre-prison life, aka New York 30-something landed gentry heteroland. She and her fiance are having a fun ironic pig roast with her pregnant best friend and business partner. They’re having a dinner party the night before she goes to jail as a last hurrah, which is the most ridiculous privileged thing ever. The show knows this. The show is aware that Piper is not exactly a sympathetic character, that the fact she can throw a fucking dinner party to faux-celebrate her incarceration is going to establish a stark contrast to the people she is about to encounter in prison, and they’re not shying away from that. The criticisms I’ve seen that Piper isn’t a likable character don’t seem to be aware of the fact that the powers that be are not trying to make her the most likable face on the show. They’re aiming to make her a shallow lens through which we gain access to much deeper stories.

crate and barrel and free range eggs and npr and graduate degrees and the importance of buying organic

crate and barrel and free range eggs and npr and graduate degrees and the importance of buying organic

After the dinner party, Piper and American Pie Jason Biggs have awkward farewell sex. Or maybe it’s not supposed to be portrayed as awkward, but since I have no idea what straight sex looks like beyond the impression I gained from One Tree Hill, I don’t know how to recognize good straight sex when it happens. Also why are straight girls always wearing those spaghetti strap camisoles when they’re having sex? I didn’t even know they still sold those. Did the straight girls stock up at Old Navy in 2002?

Picture 773

mmffhh yooorgghh blooorkkk mmfffggghhhaarrrrgghhh

Piper is surrendering herself to the prison, which is apparently what you do when you are admitting you are guilty of the crime and don’t want to have your case go to trial because you might have to go for more time? Legal stuff something something jail something legal trial something drugs? Flashback to Piper explaining her going to prison to her parents, who are hung up on the lesbian part of everything.

Picture 774Picture 775Picture 776Picture 777

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure there’s a sexuality where you can have relationships with women and relationships with men and have neither of them erase or negate the other. It’s called

and it’s a legitimate identity! But more on that later. In the meantime, Piper is saying her final goodbye to American Pie Jason Biggs. She says the words that every single one of us would utter were we to be incarcerated tomorrow.

Picture 778

Piper’s told to strip as she enters prison, which prompts a flashback to a sexier time in her life. And who is part of that sexier time in her life? Fucking DONNA FROM THAT 70’S SHOW who has never looked better. Indeed, I am a true blue top and can thus recognize her throbbing top energy, and I just want to give her a giant high five for being a sexy top with magical top powers. I feel proud of her, does that make sense?


I mean, come on.

Picture 779

No, really. Come on. I understand this relationship is being established as the bad news that got Piper into the bad news situation, but shit, it just hurts so good.

So there’s one time in Piper’s life where her lover asked her to do something and she did it. On the other hand, we have American Pie Jason Biggs asking Piper to marry him by pulling out an engagement ring in a ziplock baggie while they’re at the beach. Apparently at this point Piper already knows she’s going to jail and this seems to be another one of those pre-prison celebratory events, which adds a little twist to that particular arrangement. Jason Biggs may or may not have said he needed to “lock it down.”

and it comes with a starbucks gift card? perfect!

and it comes with a starbucks gift card? perfect!

So Piper rolls into prison. At this point, my girlfriend and I started playing Spot The Hot Dyke, which only took about half a second to win. And, bonus, there were finally hot butches and masculine of center folks for her to spot, as opposed to me being excited about all the feminine folk.

no but really why is everyone on this show so hot

in this shot, we each won one point

Piper has a tattoo of a fish! She got it in Bali when she was scuba diving with her girlfriend because getting commemorative relationship tattoos is just something we gaydies do, let’s be real. Flashback to Alex covering Piper’s tattoo with makeup so she can take drug money across international borders, the whole bad news thing that led to the bad news prison situation.

but hey wearing this ellen circa 2003 wig is better than going to jail, right?

but hey wearing this ellen circa 2003 wig is better than going to jail, right?

I just want to take a moment to talk about Alex’s bangs in this scene. Piper is sporting the wig from lesbian hell, but Alex looks like a rockabilly librarian who wants to take you to the quiet section and paddle the everloving shit out of you. I’m getting chills just looking at her.

I know they’re bad news, but I ship it, guys. Lesbian criminals who are members of an international drug cartel, what the fuck else is up.

official autostraddle recapper endorsement of this couple as the thing i will cheer for the entire show thank you

official autostraddle recapper endorsement of this couple as the thing i will cheer for the entire show thank you

Back at Ye Olde Jaile, Piper is getting the welcome speech from her counselor. He gives her a lecture pretty identical to the one my mother gave me before I went to Bryn Mawr.

Picture 785

I don’t have to eat candy either, but it’s delicious, so.

The newbies are being shown around their quarters. They’re introduced to the yoga instructor, Jones, who also voiced Patty Mayonnaise on Doug. I’m going to let you internalize that and then never be able to unhear it later when shit hits the fan.

yeah i was a beets groupie, got real fucked up in reno and me and doug ended up in the heroin game, ate porkchop, killed a kid, you know how it is

yeah i was a beets groupie, got real fucked up in reno and me and doug ended up in the heroin game, ate porkchop, killed roger, you know how it is

One of the newbies gets slapped in the face by a current inmate. Is it her angry ex or her partner in crime or?

Picture 787

But more on that to come. Things we learn about this inmate: She doesn’t speak Spanish, she is really cute, and I am already super invested in her storyline.

Piper is meeting her roommates, and one of them is Natasha Fuckin’ Lyonne. Welcome back, baby girl. We missed you.

Picture 792

Meanwhile in flashback land:

Picture 794

You’re welcome.

At Ye Olde Canteene, Piper is getting to know her fellow inmates. There’s a nun who I can already tell I love; Jones, the yoga instructor played by Patty Mayonnaise; and Nicky, whose gaydar is on point.

Picture 795

or maybe you just naturally smell like quinoa, i can’t tell

I almost spit wine on myself when I saw Lea DeLaria because as a butch person, I have one million feelings about butch representation in media, and right there’s fucking Lea DeLaria with her fucking BUTCH tattoo. The media can fuck a lot of things up, and look, on this journey we are about to take with this show, we will encounter problematic things for sure, but damn it all, they have got butches on the screen and they’re not exclusively punchlines and I like that, okay? That feels really good to me.

and her name is big boo okay i die okay

and her name is big boo okay i die okay

And then there’s Red, who I will refer to from now as Kapitan Janeway. Red runs the kitchens. Piper insults her food. Piper’s a dumbass, because Red’s a badass, and you should not fuck with Red.

i was gonna post this caption in russian but since google translate is my own resource i felt weird

i was gonna post this caption in russian but since google translate is my only resource i felt weird

Piper gets to call American Pie Jason Biggs after crying in front of the security guard, and I am so bored by their relationship that I’m not going to post a picture. No, seriously, are we supposed to be rooting for this? Fucking Alex shows up in the flashbacks looking like sex in glasses and we’re supposed to buy that anybody would downgrade to milk toast semi-clumsy American Pie Jason Biggs. Blergh.

Piper goes to take a shower, and walks in on some graphic lesbian sex taking place in a shower stall. That literally happened to me four separate times in college, I’m not even kidding.

this exact scenario happened to me at bryn mawr four separate times

no seriously women’s colleges should bleach their showers bc the amount of fisting that goes on in there

At lunch, we meet Laverne Cox’s character Sophia who I am still obsessed with after watching the entire show. Wait until her episode, guys. Just fucking wait for it.

dear media, look what happens when you write a compelling trans* character played by an actual trans* person. you create amazing television. learn from this and sit the fuck down you morons. love, me.

dear media, look what happens when you write a compelling trans* character played by an actual trans* person. you create amazing television. learn from this and sit the fuck down you morons. love, me.

Piper finds out that Red has prepared something special for her after she mentioned how disgusting the food was yesterday. What, praytell, is this special meal?




Piper is a little horrified by all this, so she runs outside for some fresh air. And who is there waiting for her?

i lost my killer bangs but i'm still a killer bang get it

i lost my killer bangs but i’m still a killer bang get it

Yep. Tune in next time for how to add tampons to your omelette and 23 more uses for maxipads that don’t involve collecting your moon spillage. If you didn’t think this show wasn’t going to have a strong feminine product presence, you clearly have never been to Girl Scout camp. Or a women’s college. Or a women’s prison. I’ve started to feel like, at least in this respect, they are all the same thing.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. “They’re aiming to make her a shallow lens through which we gain access to much deeper stories.”

    NAILED IT! I mean, not that I’m not interested in the Piper person and her story, but I’m waaay more interested in all the other stories, I gotta say. I want to know more about Sophia and Miss Claudette and Taystee and basically everyone.

  2. I’m already on episode six and I agree with all of this. I made the mistake of watching the first episode at my work on one of my monitors. 19 seconds later…DIMINISH DIMINISH FOR THE LOVE OF QUEER SEX DIMINISH!!

    • it is a really slow time for my work right now so i am going to attempt to watch episode one right now.. wish me luck!

  3. i have 15 minutes left in the series…omg…its so good! in addition, your recap of episode 1 was excellent. i look forward to the rest.

  4. “We repealed DOMA and gluten-free products are available in most major grocery stores, so why are we still pretending like girls are just gently rolling around with their clothes on?”

    Perfect, in every way.

    I am so excited about this show. Just finished the first two eps.

  5. Piper looks vaguely like Diana Kruger.

    Laura Prepon is incredibly hot with black hair and those glasses.

  6. LAURA PREPON IS KILLING ME ANY TIME SHE’S ON SCREEN. I literally can’t handle it. I’m just starting episode 4 & I can’t wait to read the rest of your recaps!

  7. I absolutely love Natasha Lyonne in this. And Patty Mayonnaise!!! I couldn’t figure out where I’d recognized her from and it was driving me crazy.

  8. I have quickly fallen in love with this show; thanks so much for bringing its awesomeness to my attention!

    Also, I’ve subconsciously been feeling awkward about all my spaghetti strap camisoles for a while now…maybe this has something to do with it…

  9. I, uh, happen to pause this right when Natasha Fuckin’ Lyonne is giving the evil eye over her shower buddy’s thigh, and I thought to myself “This is the moment we realized Pray Away The Gay camp was a gateway drug”

  10. no, the hell has frozen over and with lolly ice too. Gay Janeway? Seriously? I’m in.

  11. I read about half of this before I realized that I don’t want to know the storyline before watching the show. But then I realized that that’s exactly how I started watching PLL and Bomb Girls, both of which I’m obsessed with.

    Keep telling me what to watch, Autostraddle.

  12. gay donna ftw!this show is so good!soooo goood!but I can’t for the love of gawd find the 5th episode anywhere online.anybody can help?maybe

  13. I am SO GLAD this is happening. I was afraid I would have to express my feels sad and alone.

  14. You guys need to get onto the Aussie show ‘Wentworth’. Less depiction of gayness, but definitely plenty of sexy girls in prison wearing tank tops.
    Which equals some good viewing (I have my priorities set).

    • fun fact: i originally marathoned wentworth this week before marathoning orange is the new black because i thought i was going to talk about the two together in a companion piece.

      wentworth is BRUTAL compared to orange is the new black and watching oitnb after wentworth was almost laughable because i was like, well, no one is getting stabbed or physically punished for insulting someone, so why are we acting like there’s consequences or stakes? but they’re two super different shows, and yeah, i definitely recommend it. it’s really well-made, really well-written, and really fucking brutal.

  15. What I really love about this show is that it would’ve been so easy to just make it a wacky fish out of water show focusing on Piper surrounded by all the scary minorities, but instead (especially past the first episode) it’s using Piper as a justification to make a show about all these other really cool women and their stories that, let’s be real, probably wouldn’t have flown otherwise because patriarchy etc.

  16. I started watching this last night with my 48-years-old-and-married roommates, and we are ALL addicted. We all set our alarms to get up and finish it this morning – nothing says family bonding like lesbians in prison.

  17. I loved this! I might actually start watching it now.

    On another note: spaghetti strap camisoles are still sold… everywhere. I don’t wear wife beaters they aren’t my thing. However IDK why straight girls are always wearing them in TV shows during sex. It’s a little odd.

  18. I was only able to watch the first two episodes last night but I am already hooked and will probably plow through the rest of the series this weekend.

    I’ve been mostly indifferent to Laura Prepon in the past. Meaning I had no opinion on her one way or the other but damn the black hair and glasses is really working for me. I love women with black hair and light features anyway but then she’s got this whole rockabilly style going on and now I’m obsessed with her and want only good things for Alex.

    Piper is probably my second-least favorite character right now due to her– um, I don’t know how to put this without being offensive so here goes– overwhelming WASP-iness. She may be the whitest character I have ever seen on tv but I get the feeling that is intentional on the writers’ parts. There is also something about her declaration of being a “former lesbian who went through an adventurous phase in college” extremely annoying. She seems to have concept of bisexuality and that only makes me worry for Alex that things are not going to end well by the end of the series.

    My least favorite character is Larry played by Jason Biggs. He is just the pastiest, doughiest, nerdiest Wonder Bread character I ever did see. I mean, his name is Larry for crying out loud. Seriously, that’s who Piper chose to be with. Talk about a downgrade. If I were a straight girl and that was the best I could do I would run right back to lesbianism.

    • “Piper is probably my second-least favorite character right now due to her– um, I don’t know how to put this without being offensive so here goes– overwhelming WASP-iness. She may be the whitest character I have ever seen on tv but I get the feeling that is intentional on the writers’ parts. There is also something about her declaration of being a “former lesbian who went through an adventurous phase in college” extremely annoying. She seems to have concept of bisexuality and that only makes me worry for Alex that things are not going to end well by the end of the series.”

      These are my exact feelings! I feel like the I’m sensing the drastic contrast of the sensibilities of Piper and the other characters. Also I’ll a little annoyed how once again a white girl has to be the anchor, “the relatable one” in order to see really interesting and compelling minority characters who at first seem one dimensional but after some peeling become fully flashed out. I usually liken this to “white translator.” I am aware this show is based on true events so I’m not going to be to harsh, it is more of “yes this *true* story again!?!” Luckily the show for me is very enjoyable and the character Piper is challenged on her assumptions that I didn’t feel that was preachy or something of “Dangerous Minds” or “Save the Last dance” or even “Freedom Writers.”

      Plus I have a thing for all women environments so prisons, Amazon warriors, you know the deal so I am just enjoying this A LOT!

    • well (and without fixating on attributes of these characters as ethnic or racial) it sounds like maybe a reckoning is due and the Piper character will realize her prior college relationships were not just an “adventurous phase” but are a part of her identity? I haven’t seen it yet (I certainly want to now!) but is it possible that’s where the show might be headed?

      • In a later episode she mentions the Kinsey scale, but honestly I think her explaining her lesbianism as a phase is almost a part of that yuppie presentation she has– like going through your “lesbian phase” and then settling down with a nice boy and starting your “real life” is how the people in her former life read that experience.

        • Exactly. I actually came to love Piper and her story. She is meant to be seen as a narcissistic horse’s ass who compartmentalizes her experiences into convenient categories in order to fit the view of herself and the world that she has developed. I think the show is largely about her getting over that and I suppose becoming a more authentic version of herself.

      • Yes, Piper seems completely unreconciled with her sexual orientation. She never definitively responds to any of the other characters’ attempts to define her sexuality: “I am not a lesbian” is not the same as “it was a phase” and also not the same as “I am not still heartbroken by and in major love/lust with my female ex.” She’s been trying to play straight but obviously still has some questions. Whatever happens, she’s got some major soul-searching to do.

  19. You were not lying about Sofia’s episode. Love her to pieces. And I just figured out where I recognize the lady who plays her wife from. She also plays one of Sheriff’s Andy deputies on True Blood.

    • she is hands down my favorite! i think taystee and poussey are my second favorites, but man, i love everyone in this prison (except piper, but you know, jenny schecter syndrome)

      • jenny schecter, eww. I thought you wanted people to watch this show! Is she that bad?

        • she’s not like jenny at all, it’s more the concept of the outsider main character allowing us access to the world of the show. we’re naturally going to not like the outsider main character because we see her as a device, and because she’s usually played in such a way that we have sympathy for the circle she enters and disrupts. aka we agree with all the criticisms by the l word characters of jenny because the narrative has been presented to us as jenny disrupting their lives, and not vice versa.

  20. I spent some time in prison in NY in 2000 and the depiction in the show is relatively realistic; the writers clearly did their research.

    • You should write a book about it and then get a Netflix deal so it can appear on Autostraddle so the circle is complete!

    • it helps that the show is based on a real story and the real piper has some input on what is being writen

  21. Laura Prepon’s character is hot. I recognized her “top sensibility” when she was “Donna” on That 70s Show, but as “Alex Vause” with the hair, the voice, the height, the constant reading…goodness gracious. It’s just merciless. 2nd season, please?

      • fuck season 2 cannot come soon enough. it’s like a year until it comes out right? this time next year. I cannot wait that long. I need more Alex Vause asap

  22. Yes! I love this show!! Previous commenters have basically recapped all the reasons it so fantastic so I won’t add much….except Alex, um, wow….that’s all. ;)

  23. So I decided to watch the pilot episode last night since so many people have told me it’s awesome…and I finally made myself go to bed four episodes later. So good.

    Also, Donna as a lesbian is basically my every dream come true.

  24. All The Things She Said (t.A.T.u. cover) — St. Vincent & Carrie Brownstein

    I pray that song materializes so that it may be included on next season’s (and my life’s) soundtrack. I pray to Mr. Christ.

    • SORRY I thought this was real and then I realized it wasn’t and now I’m silently weeping at my computer.

      • I’m sorry you had to go through that because of me. I should’ve just quoted Kate’s beautiful idea, to avoid any confusion, but I got carried away. Stay strong.

  25. I feel like a bad lesbian for really liking Piper and Larry’s relationship, and not wanting her to get back with Alex (as hot as she is).

    Sorry Autostraddle, I have failed you :(

    • i don’t want them to stay together, but I don’t hate him; I feel like there’s a temptation to see him as the finn hudson of this show, but I find his sticking by piper pretty fucking impressive. most middle class straight white boys would drop their girlfriend in a second if they turned out to have a queer past and be headed to prison.

    • Oh god thank goodness I’m not the only one. And I get what everyone is saying about him being kind of boring and whatever else, but I get this feeling that he’s safe and dependable and the fact that he has stuck with her through all this, I don’t know. Those are attractive qualities.

      But yay! We can be the outsiders here for this relationship. :)

    • I really find Larry and Piper’s relationship endearing: they’re cute, funny, and very comfortable/settled together. I ship them for the “heehee, they’re cute” factor (as well as Daya and Bennett, actually…)

      But I have the most devilish grin whenever Alex and Piper have a scene together because they have wicked sexual tension (provided 90% by Alex), sooooooo I want them to knock flip-flops together too. Actually, I think I just want Alex to have sex with anyone.

  26. Does this remind anyone of Girl, Interrupted? White girl fucks up, white girl experiences “the other side”, white girl writes a memoir, white girl gets her memoir made into something.
    Not saying that’s a particularly bad thing—I fucking love Girl, Interrupted—but it does seem really similar.

  27. “The media can fuck a lot of things up, and look, on this journey we are about to take with this show, we will encounter problematic things for sure, but damn it all, they have got butches on the screen and they’re not exclusively punchlines and I like that, okay? That feels really good to me.”

    Fuck yeah. I started watching yesterday after I was told by the 5th friend to do so. Ok, ok. I’ll give it a shot. People who present similarly to me… On screen… For more than 5 seconds… FINALLY!

  28. I love this show, but I’ll be honest, the title is terrible. Everything else about the show is great.

  29. Everyone hates piper. Maybe I hate her a little too. Mostly I’m confused by the similarity in our general dispositions. As a queer black woman from Detroit, I’ve never thought of myself as WASP esque but I guess it is what it is…

  30. I wish the recaps were posted in “Series Binge” style, considering I devoured this show in a gluttonous fashion. I’m so glad the internets love it as much as I do!!
    Nicely Done.

    • Spare a thought for those of us in countries without Netflix who have to wait for the eps to be posted on the open seas… ;)

  31. I read the memoir a couple of years ago, so I don’t have the same visceral reaction to Larry that lots of people seem to have. I was happy that real-life Piper and Larry had their relationship withstand the test. Similarly, although I immediately got a HUGE crush on Alex (like really, so smitten), it was hard for me to ship her and Piper at first because I didn’t care for the real-life ex-girlfriend much. The first few episodes are a lot like the book, and so it was hard for me to separate the two and enjoy the show as its own entity at first, but I made myself get over it and now I SHIP THEM SO HARD.

    I marathoned the series over a couple of days, and I loved it more and more as I kept watching. I think I actually like the series more than the memoir, because not only does it expand on the world of Piper that was the central focus in the book, it also goes more where I kind of wanted the real story to go. And of course, Natasha Lyonne. And gay, dark Donna… oh there I go again. I totally wanted those two to hook up, regardless of whatever happened with Piper… you know, a sexy secondary thing. ;)

    • It’s nice to hear from someone who read the book, I was wondering how it matched up with the show.

      • Well, to be very general (and spoiler-free)…
        The backstory is the same, and Piper and Larry are their real names. Piper’s IRL ex was named Norah, and she was older and short and stout. And they didn’t actually meet each other in prison until Piper is transferred near the end of her sentence. A ton of things that happen in the first 4 episodes are anecdotes from the book, but after that it’s pretty much all made up. And I feel a little bad for it, but I like the TV version better. I almost wish I hadn’t read the book so I wouldn’t be judging the show accordingly.

  32. Everyone should do themselves a favor and watch this show with the close captioning on. Jesus Christ, the conversations that take place in the background of this show are absolutely hilarious.

    • well now that I’ve finished season 1, that gives me an excuse to watch it all over again. with close captioning.

  33. i didn’t know that annie clark was gay and i’m having a lot of trouble moving past that


      (Also allegedly dating Carrie Brownstein who has been spotted at some St. Vincent shows and they are also a 100% confirmed couple in my heart).

      • honestly, while i’m enjoying reading these comments, *this* is what i REALLY wanted to know.

        +1 for Ali and Lora for the important annie clark talk.

  34. First off, Target sells spaghetti strap tanks. They are cheap and fabulous and good for looking ‘casually’ attractive during or after adult sleepovers. Seriously, owning strategically boob-flattering loungewear to pair with your boy shorts post sex: not that straight, also a thoughtful touch for your bedmate/s.

    Second, I am completely enthralled by this show.

    Third, I’m embarrassed to watch Alex scenes in front of anyone because when I watch her I’m pretty sure my face contorts in ways that betray the incredibly lewd slash fic/epic poem I’ve been composing about her mentally for the past 48 hours.

    • Yes I still have several even though I only actually wear them if I don’t want to wear a sports bra or something under my shirt. Like six bucks.

      (I prefer my bedmates nekkid tho but obvs they can do them YOU KNOW)

      also I agree with 3 but make it the past 3 hrs. I actually can’t.

  35. I only read half of this… and I think you already convinced me to watch. I guess I know how the rest of my night is going to go…

  36. HOLY JEEBUS Im obsessed with this show now. Good to finally find out where I knew Natasha from, was driving me crazy. I knew I remembered her snark from somewhere.

  37. I like this “show” thing that Netflix is doing.
    It’s like TV for the internet. A whole season at once. Seasoned actors doing new things together. Gay lady content. Trans content. Other-ly gendered women content. How “transparent”!
    And I’m not being sarcastic. This is good.

    I personally think it must be said, though, that Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper, can be the vessel for this show all day. Oh what a vessel.
    All day.
    All day.

    Marathon’ed this season. Apparently next season is “next year”.
    I will in the mean time enjoy the recaps so that I can relive the show in a different way.
    And I thank you.

  38. Donna is so f*cking hot. Like there’s this sexuality that she just exudes it’s like ahhh just take me already. She’s such a power top. And I had this huge lingering crush on Donna back when I watched that 70s show. It’s like the fates are smiling down at me or something by making this happen

      • The conversation that ensued, starting with one of my favourite lines ever on TV, “Why do you always feel so inevitable to me?” melted my fucking heart. ALL the feelings. Alex is not just hot, she has a sensitive side too, and she and Piper really are a true OTP.

  39. I just finished the season this morning and am now going through withdrawals. I hate that.

  40. Kate, you are the best. ever. I haven’t had the chance to start the show, but now I cannot wait :)

  41. Sexy, criminal, lesbian Donna was not a thing I knew I needed to see until watching this amazing show.

  42. I’m about halfway through the season, and watching it while all my mind has been boiling with “Zimmerman” rage, it is severely fucked up to watch all the racial politics of this show. I know, I know, Canadian white girl, so naive, but in its own way, this show is helping me understand just a little bit more what the American justice system is really like.

    ((On the other hand, this is a really well-done and entertaining show. I’m eager to finish watching!))

  43. I gotta stop watching at this pace, I’ve only got 4 episodes left!!! What am I going to do till Season 2?!

  44. Alex was hot enough, but watching Captain Janeway be angry and cunning and vengeful totally turned me into an OitNB cheerleader. Why is Kate Mulgrew not in more things? She obviously has the acting capabilities.

    • I know that she’s been lending her voice to the Dragon Age video game franchise. Which. Is. Awesome.

  45. Piper Kerman (the basis for Piper Chapman) described Nora (the basis for Alex) as a white Eartha Kitt, and I totally think they nailed it. Also, the way they managed to make under everyone is incredible. Taryn Manning, especially. Just ridiculous.
    Side note: pretty excited to see Patti Mayonnaise grow up to be a hippie.

    • I’m glad someone else said it. I don’t hate Piper either. She’s not a perfect person, and that endears me to her. Somehow I always find reason to be endeared to the most hated lesbians on television circa 2004.

  46. guys it is really weird for me that she has my name and also i never thought i would read “After the dinner party, Piper and American Pie Jason Biggs have awkward farewell sex” EVER.

  47. So the previews for this show looked terrible, but after I saw there was an AS post about it (before reading) I decided to check it out. And I am so so so glad I did.

    I am terrible at recognizing famous people (or people in general), but midway through the first episode my girlfriend came home from work and immediately recognized Donna and Patti Mayonaise, with great zeal. And now I just read this post and can’t stop laughing. Fucking Patti Mayonaise.

    We stayed up until 2am watching episodes… it is so good. So thanks for writing about it, it gave us a much needed break from catching up on Pretty Little Liars.

  48. If I fail nursing theory it is totally your fault for getting me hooked 3 weeks before the end of the semester! I have a huge paper to write, damn it!

    “Lesbians are dangerous.” Classic!

    I was totally not expecting the Boo and screwdriver thing! Cracked me up! Love Miss Claudette and learning everyone’s back stories.

  49. Holy pants, this show is amazing. Thanks for the suggestion! I started watching Saturday, and I am ashamed to say I have completed the season. I am mildly depressed that I have run out of scenes of Laura Prepon in a towel. I am a sucker for any show that includes a LGBTQ character, regardless of its actual quality (see Pretty Little Liars), but this is a legitimately good show that I will actually recommend to my straight friends. Ah the motherload! Good lesbian TV!

  50. I was very concerned about this show. I had noticed it on Netflix but the title alone made me uncomfortable, and then the fact that the main character is a super middle-class Caucasian woman surrounded by POC made me fear that the show would involve this suburban white woman going around “saving” the POC or the POC would be shallowly represented, but instead you say this…
    “They’re aiming to make her a shallow lens through which we gain access to much deeper stories.”
    This is good. I supposed I’ll have to check it out.
    The whole “was a lesbian at the time” thing is weird. I hope they fix that. :/

    • I think her classification of herself as a lesbian “at the time” is just sort of her way of categorizing the experience to fit it into what her world is supposed to be. Nice, white, middle-class ladies just aren’t supposed to be queer, so writing her previous affairs with women off as a phase makes it easier for her to explain to other people and to digest for herself. Her statements about her sexuality and her perception of herself evolve considerably over the course of the season.

  51. I wasn’t sure about this show. I thought it looked interesting, but I am more of a science fiction fantasty girl, but then you mentioned lesbians and compelling stories and Laura Prepon (who I had a mad crush on as a teenager) and I’m pretty much sold on it. Going to go stream it now…

  52. Like many of us, I completely binged on this show and am now mildly depressed that I have no more to watch.

    • It’s okay, we’ll get through this. I marathoned it too. Watched the last episode right before work this morning. So many FEELINGS!!!

    • I actually didn’t mind most of ep 11… I liked the fight in the kitchen where Piper completely goes off, because she really needed to do that and it was one of the most authentic conversations in the whole series. But as soon as Larry comes back with his ultimatum, it pretty much ruins everything. And the finale was… well… shitty, but setting up for next season I guess. I was really not okay with that ending either, but hey, points for surprises. It will be interesting to see how that all shakes down.

  53. So, thanks to Autostraddle, I am for once ahead of the trend on a TV show.(This never happens. I haven’t even seen Breaking Bad, or The Wire yet.) My newsfeed today has been an orange explosion. Hurray for being at the big-gay-epicenter! Must definitely plan a marathon viewing party for the second season though.

  54. THANKS A LOT. Do you know what I’ve spent the last three days doing? Yeah, not watching the show at a sedate pace. And all the time I’m thinking “I know how it ends?” WHAT DID SHE MEAN BY THAT. And now I know. Frig.

    So good.

  55. I have strep and am on vacation with my family. This show is keeping me company and it’s so freaking good. I’m on episode 6.

    G-d bless Jenji Kohan…and Laura Pepron.

    Laura Prepon.


    Laura Prepon.

    Brunette Laura Prepon.

  56. When I saw Donna(Alex) my guts did a cartwheel. I watched the 70s show when I was around 10 and had a HUGE crush on her. I was not aware that lesbians exist at the time and it made me want to be a boy so bad.

    Also, what? I heart Pipes! She reminds me too much of Morgan Webb from X-Play when I see her. She looks so much better without make up too

  57. Superb recap Kate!
    So glad we’re on the same page about Alex, every time she’s on screen I practically start fanning myself. My lady and I are bonding over mutual crushing on her. Spot on about milk-toast Larry. It’s awful but I am so rooting for Alex + Piper, or Alex + whoever, really.

  58. I knew I had to jump on board with this show considering even my straight friends are raving about it. Sweet baby jeebus, I thought Donna was sexy as a striaght/tom-boy, 70’s teen and now she’s a stone-cold, dominant, lesbian?? I don’t know what this fuckery is..but I love it so damn much.

  59. This is the new show I’ve been waiting for. Thanks for the stellar recap.

    Also, thanks for giving me the hardest laugh of my day: “He gives her a lecture pretty identical to the one my mother gave me before I went to Bryn Mawr.” *dies&dies&dies&dies*

  60. Omg tbe sass in this review is beautiful. Particularly “Piper is sporting the wig from lesbian hell” because damn I’m glad you mentioned that because that was pretty horrific.

  61. Patty Mayonaise?! *rofl* oh man, yea that’s definitely changing how I see Yoga Jones now. Also, Donna as a lesbian is a dream cum true. ;)

  62. I am very late to the OITNB party and only just watched the entire season very recently. Hilarious article and spot-on observations, Kate! I have to disagree with people that Piper is completely shallow. She’s more a “shallow-ish” product of a conservative, upper middle class upbringing (eww…that mother of hers is enough to shrink anyone’s privates). I think she’s wising up nicely. I’m enjoying the process of her prison education. One thing is certain: She canNOT marry that poor sod, LarryAmericanPieJasonBiggs. Nuh uh.

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