Why I'm Impatiently Waiting for Orange Is The New Black Season 5

On July 11, 2013 (wow, four whole years ago) Netflix premiered their hit series "Orange Is The New Black." Fans quickly tore through the show, falling in love or loving to hate Piper Chapman, choosing sides between Red’s split crew and the battle over the kitchen and wondering if Piper killed Pennsatucky in the season finale. The show has developed quite a bit as it approaches its highly anticipated fifth season. In honor of Netflix releasing the official trailer for said season, let’s recap on why we’re all impatiently waiting for season 5 (if you haven't caught up on your OITNB, spoilers are ahead!)

As I said the show has grown a lot since the first season. We went from cringing at Piper’s tampon sandwich (season 1) to crying when Poussey is killed (season 4). It’s clear that the writers and directors have touched some very relevant and important issues in the show. Although the show doesn’t completely break free from the use of tropes and stereotypes, here’s what I’m looking forward to seeing more of:

1. A predominantly female cast

I appreciate the writers and directors for taking a chance on a show with a predominantly female cast. What’s more is these women are portrayed in a multi-faceted way. It’s a breath of fresh air seeing women outside of the normal virgin/whore, ugly/pretty bitch/bimbo dichotomy. We’ve become invested in their lives, their friendships, their children, their opportunities, their vulnerabilities, etc.

2. LGBTQ representation

Aside from all of the intimacy and sex we see between the women in the prison, OINTB casted Lavern Cox. Cox made history becoming the first openly transgender individual to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. "Orange Is The New Black" gave her the platform to break those boundaries, and it's one of the reasons why I love the show and the cast.

3. A look into the U.S. for-profit prison issue

I appreciate the writers shedding light on for-profit prisons and how they work. Litchfield prison undergoes a change in command and management when the private company MCC invests in the prison. The show very clearly illustrates how life for the inmates, correctional officers and administrative changes. Basically, MCC gives everyone the short end of the stick trying to cut corners and save money. At this point, we see the inmates being even more dehumanized, to the point where they’re seen as a dollar amount. Again, this just scratches the surface of the very real issue that we have here in the US, but the cast and crew do a great job in trying to tackle this.

4. #SayHerName

The end of season 4 was quite the shock and left a lot of jaws on the floor. Poussey’s death resembled Eric Garner’s. Like Garner, her last words we “I can’t breathe." In the aftermath, Taystee points out the media didn’t even say her name. Again, while this literally just scratches the surface of this complex issue, the writing was great in showing the emotional and political side of police brutality. #SayHerName is a hashtag in response to the exclusion of women in the discussion of police brutality as women are victims, too.

5. Portrayal of mental Illnesses

I appreciate the depiction of mental illnesses and how they’re treated (or not treated).  Lolli, SoSo, Suzanne (Crazy Eyes) and even Poussey are testaments to mental illnesses and how they look. The portrayal of depression, alcoholism, schizophrenia, etc. was very important. Some days the characters were fine, and other times they weren’t. Sometimes they’d be able to handle it and sometimes it was too much. I think the attention that was paid to depicting mental illnesses went beyond the lazy stereotypes we always see.

I’m proud of OINTB. No, the show isn’t perfect, but it’s taking great strides in the right direction. I’m excited to see how the writers and cast will tackle more issues and adapt to the changing prison that is Litchfield. I can’t way to see these ladies, their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their friendships etc. The season finale of season 4 was huige and they cast and crew have a lot of work to do  to fill our expectations. I'm excited to see what's in store. Until June 9, I’ll be impatiently waiting.