Pop Culture Fix: “Orange is The New Black” S4 Promises Delightful Poussey and Soso Situation

Welcome to your pop culture fix, a weekly journey into stories relevant to your interests for reasons I hope are very clear. For example: Orange is the New Black.

Orange is the New Black


+ Orange is the New Black premieres on Friday which means the internet is full of reviews and pictures that very well might be of interest to you. Emma Dibdin at Digital Spy says Season Four is its darkest yet, with one exception:

…despite the season’s bleakness, one beam of light is the burgeoning relationship between Soso and Poussey, which emerged in the season three finale and remains central throughout this season. It’s more or less a masterclass in how to write a love story with believable, smart conflict, developing both characters and creating a romance that it’s impossible not to root for. Four seasons in, Orange is the New Black has never been more skilled at maximising its diverse ensemble.

+ Entertainment Weekly has given Season Four a “B,” and says the show appears to be hurting from its rapidly expanding cast as well as tighter availability and therefore less screen time for some of the most beloved regulars, like Laverne Cox (Sophia), Danielle Brooks (Taystee) and Natasha Lyonne (Nicky). They lament:

Aside from a shrewd Muslim inmate (Amanda Stephen) and a celebrity lifestyle guru (Blair Brown), it’s getting harder to distinguish one warm body from the next, and the newbies don’t inspire the same fascination as the original crew.

+ Pop up restaurant “Litchfield Penetentiary Cafeteria,” which will be open June 16-17th at the OverEasy diner in Singapore, will serve “gourmet prison food” to fans of Orange is the New Black.

+ TV Guide claims to have all the information you could ever want. Do they really? You be the judge.

+ Here are the episode titles for Season Four, maybe.

+ An iconic Mexican telenovela villain will make a comeback in Season Four of Orange is the New Black.

+ The New York Times hung out with Danielle Brooks at her apartment in Fort Greene and talked to her about her whole life and stuff, NBD.


+ Ellen DeGeneres continues teasing us about whether or not there will be a lesbian couple in Finding Dory.

+ The much-anticipated James Franco remake of Mother May I Sleep With Danger, the most famous Lifetime movie in the history of the world, debuts on June 18th with a lesbian vampire twist! Donna Martin will star.

+ Following Whitney Houston’s tragic and untimely death, I wrote a piece about the ensuing discussion about her sexual orientation and relationship with Robin, which was one of those things that most gay people in the media knew but couldn’t really say because she’d never confirmed it herself. In a new book, Bobby Brown has confirmed Whitney’s bisexuality and said she may have been happier had she been able to be with Robyn Crawford. Here is a thing Jen Yamato wrote about that.

+ The 2016 Tonys were a vital reminder of why queer art matters.

+ Transgender representation on TV has come so far but also has a long way to go.

+ Actress/Musician Haviland Stillwell and Writer/Producer Ashley Reed got married in Savannah last weekend. I know this because I WAS THERE and it was really great.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. I’m really not liking the restaurant that’s opening and going to serve “prison-like” food. Mass incarceration is a huge huge issue. The idea of profiting off the food served in prisons – especially when it’s not even the actual food but a fancy, expensive version with the same name! – is, excuse the unintended pun, extremely distasteful. Maybe if the proceeds go towards prison reform, ending mass incarceration, or anything along those lines it’ll be more palatable? (Also I swear I’m not intentionally using puns but food things are the only descriptors coming into my head? For instance I debated using the phrase easier to swallow)

    • Completely agree (and the first descriptor that popped into my head was “tasteless”, so it’s not just you).

    • I was immediately uncomfortable with it as well. But looking at the website, it does appear to just be a promo for Netflix (which only just launched in Singapore in January) and not profit for the company since it says it is free (unless I am misunderstanding their use of complimentary?).

      So while I still find the idea distasteful, hopefully it gets people to watch the series which does expose many of the problems with the prison system. Ideally, the meal would also come with some information on issues surrounding prisons, at the least.

      A lot of their promo stuff walks a fine line for me. You need to get attention and encourage fans to feel tied to the series/characters, but you don’t want to make light of prison or present it as something “fun”. I don’t envy their marketing department.

      • I totally agree..
        I don’t condone this, but they need to advertise just like anybody else, but the fact that they’re advertising a show with dark/serious themes puts them in a sticky situation.
        You would usually market something as ‘fun’ to get people to watch it, but what if the underlying themes of the series itself isn’t ‘fun’ abd would be offensive if shown that way..

  2. I know they have cast that’s about as large as Game of Thrones but I’ve never personally had a problem with Orange’s cast size and I actually like when they focus on giving backstories to characters that are usually in the background. I’m also okay with some of the favorites not having as much screentime this season. There is a very good explanation for certain people not being as present, like Danielle Brooks who has spent quite a bit of time killing it on Broadway this season and earning herself a Tony nom for her work. I don’t begrudge her that success even though it means we might get less of Taystee.

  3. “Entertainment Weekly says the show appears to be hurting from its rapidly expanding cast as well as tighter availability and therefore less screen time for some of the most beloved regulars, like Laverne Cox (Sophia), Danielle Brooks (Taystee) and Natasha Lyonne (Nicky)”


    Because I have been waiting on that forever.

    Other news:

    -Ignoring the entire “prison food cafeteria” thing, because to me it’s too offensive for words, but I don’t know enough about the culture of Singapore to make an appropriate judgement/ comment

    -So here for Pousoso!! Bring that on!

    -The Tonys were a lifeblood to me this year. Bringing me out of the depression of Sunday and Orland. I went right back into the bleakness on Monday, but I’m thankful for the glimmer of joy that the Tonys gave me when I needed it. Art matters. It changes lives.

    • “Episode six has a heavy focus on Sophia and Nicky, both beloved characters sent to solitary confinement last season, and the way in which their storylines collide is a gut punch” from the Digital Spy article linked?!?!!!

  4. Thanks so much for the link about Whitney. The article toed a good line between acknowledging how intense the 80s closet was for public figures, and how skeevy Bobby Brown’s retrospective outing was.

    I was glad to see in the article on trans representation that the Fosters is adding a transmale actor in addition to Cole next season!

  5. – Havilland is missed at Camp but good for her for getting married
    – The Fosters comes back soon, can’t wait

  6. SOSO AND POUSSAY GIVE ME LIIIIIIIIFE. Bring on the ups and downs and drama and less time spent with Piper.

    • OH YAYYYYY! Yeah, I actually read the co creator say that five seasons was the plan from the start so I’ve been prepared for this to be the case for awhile. I like shows that have a plan and end when it’s the best time rather than drag things out with more and more ridiculous plot twists. I don’t think there’s a show ever that should have lasted more than seven seasons, maximum.

      • Yep I’m ok with it too, 5 seasons seems like a GREAT stretch for most series, and it’s always when it gets a bit longer that it starts losing its pace…

        I can’t believe tomorrow is the season 4 finale though !!!

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