With only a day to go before Netflix releases the new season of OITNB, our writers pick an inmate they couldn’t live without.
Suzanne (Crazy Eyes)
Her passion and good intentions are mixed with childish innocence and just a hint of ultraviolence. This, unfortunately, led to her being led astray and becoming Vee’s muscle in Season Two but Suzanne’s good heart won out in the end.
Though naive, she’s can occasionally show great clarity: the moment she called Piper out on how mean she is was particularly jarring because it was true.
Crazy Eyes has many of the show’s best one-liners (chocolate and vanilla swirl!) but it’s the performance of Uzo Aduba that really makes the character iconic. Shower that woman with awards (not literally), she’s a superstar.
Lorna Morello takes the class prize for Most Deceitful and Deluded. She also earns highly commended in the Horribly and Openly Racist awards. Despite this, she somehow manages to be one of the only truly hopeful and kind characters in Orange Is The New Black.
She started her life of crime with a small-scale mail scam and all was going well until she became convinced that she was engaged to a man who she’d been on one date with.
Skipping straight to the final chapters of the Obsessive Stalker’s Handbook, she tries to off him, and his girlfriend, with a handcrafted car bomb.
Huey Lewis must have had Morello in mind when he sang about The Power of Love; her romantic delusions have left her in a right pickle.
Utterly (and violently) fixated on a fairytale wedding and a happily-ever-after, Lorna moons through her days like a lovesick teenager; a lovesick teenager with a penchant for amateur explosives and the most badass make-up ever seen.
Newly elected evil politicians would do well to note how much we are willing to forgive if you smile at people and rock a strong red lip. From the moment we are introduced to Morello, her kindness, warmth and nearly unflinching optimism are enough to infect everyone around her with a temporary hope in happy endings.
I was both shocked and appalled that I was the first person to nab Nicky. She’s the junkie philosopher who loves a good skirt, shamelessly steals style inspo from Tim Minchin and spends most of her screen time making her fellow inmates climb the walls – sometimes in frustration, more often in pleasure.
Everything Nicky does onscreen is sheer gold. She is relentlessly hilarious. But more than that, she’s like the little guardian angel of the group. Sure, she might sometimes get distracted with orgasm competitions and sexy guards, but she consistently gives the best advice. Whether it’s giving Morello a hug and telling her not to be so mental, pulling Piper up on her attitude or reminding Red to take it easy on her girls, she’s always telling it like it is, especially when people don’t want to hear it.
Also, her Season Two impersonation of Alex was probably the greatest thing ever to grace our TV screens. She is brilliant. And I completely fancy her.
Reasons why Sophia is the best one:
1. Her grace, humour and levelheadedness in the face of great adversity. Throughout two series, Sophia has managed to stay above all the squabbles, wars and Prison Dramas and remain a friendly sympathetic ear to all. Who wouldn’t want to be best friends with Sophia? She’s kind, she’s funny, she’s lovely. And when somebody throws a problem her way, she deals with it, Sophia Style.
2. Her resourcefulness. The prison doesn’t do shower flip flops her size? She makes her own out of duct tape, and shows them off to Piper so she won’t feel so bad about having to improvise herself with sanitary towels – “they’re couture”. Healy won’t let her see a medic about the decision to stop her hormone treatment? She calmly swallows one of his desk toys so that he HAS to send her to the medic. A stoic badass.
3. She’s just so beautiful. I know her physical appearance shouldn’t be an issue in a show that puts the vast majority of its female cast into beige pyjamas and looks at the people within, but by Christ, that lady is easy on the eye. It is important to her character that she likes beauty and fashion, though – and with her salon she helps the other inmates to look as good as they want to – whether checking with Red if she wants to look ‘finger click’ fierce or ‘lion claws’ fierce, or deciding that the best look for Taystee to look non-threatening and meek for a disciplinary board of white people is ‘Black Best Friend In A White Girl’s Movie’.
4. She’s so full of love. The scenes with her son, with whom she’s so desperate to reconcile, break my heart.
5. To have a trans woman actually played by a trans woman – a trans woman of colour no less, shouldn’t be revolutionary in the 2010s, but it is.
Did you know that Sophia’s pre-transition flashback scenes are played not by Laverne, but by her twin brother M. Lamar? That’s not part of my list of reasons why she’s the best one; that’s just an extra interesting fact for you. You’re welcome.
Also 6 – Laverne Cox rocks. Completely rocks. I love her.
Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch4001 Views
Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.