Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Orange is the New Black 3x10 "A Tittin' and a Hairin'" (Like a Bee Sting) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

A Tittin’ and a Hairin’

Emotions are high at Litchfield, and the darkness is closing in. The Norma-nites are trying to let out their frustrations by screaming before breakfast, and Soso is trying to feel better by bonding with her counselor. Others, like Alex and Sophia, are turning to violence when they can’t contain their anger. But no one has a sadder story this episode than Pennsatucky (aka Tiffany).

In her flashbacks, her mother gives her a sex talk that amounts to “let boys do their thing, and it will only hurt a little.” So right off the bat, the first thing Tiffany learns about sex is that men are in control, she has no say on who does what to her, and it won’t feel good. That is bleak. Flash forward a few years and Tiffany is trading sexual acts for money or Mountain Dew. One man doesn’t even care that she got physically injured while they were having sex. He did not ask if she was all right and instead got angry that she left him “unfinished.”

When Tiffany met a seemingly nice guy that did care if she was injured and tried to help her, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There aren’t many good men on this show, but Nathan seems like he really may have been good for Tiffany. With him, for the first time, she wasn’t asked for anything in return but her company. And for the first time, someone cared about how she felt and her experience of sex. In fact, Tiffany couldn’t fathom why anyone would be smiling during sex because to her it had never been good. To her, sex was just something that happened to her, a thing that men wanted from her that she could capitalize on. 

That changed with Nathan, who told her she was beautiful and who made her feel good, safe, and valued. After Nathan, Tiffany said she wasn’t going to have sex in exchange for soda anymore. But a previous customer didn’t care that she refused, and he raped her in the bathroom. This horrible experience repeats itself in Litchfield when the new guard Tiffany thought she could be friends with grabs her and rapes her in the van she has to drive.

One thing I love most about Orange Is the New Black is how so many of the stories it tells are specifically and solely women’s stories. The sad fact is that women face men like this guard every day — men who seem nice and say nice things but steamroll over what women want and feel like they are entitled to women’s bodies. This guard probably doesn’t even think he did anything wrong because he sees himself as a nice guy and a feminist, and, after all, he was just having a good time. He also thinks women are “hard to figure out” (how many times have we heard that one?) because he can’t comprehend that women could have wants that are different than men's -- different from his own. Tiffany learned from her mother all those years ago that if you just let men take advantage of you, maybe it will be over quicker. That doesn’t mean Tiffany wasn’t raped; that means she was trying to survive. Rapists aren’t always murderous psychos — sometimes they are much harder to spot. Sometimes they are guys who seem unimposing and bring donuts to work and say they like you.

Thank goodness this episode was filled with some lighter material or I might not have made it through. To ease Red’s frustrations with the horrible new food, she turns back to cooking, this time with fresh vegetables from the garden. She makes a ratatouille, and when she shares it, she also gets back to collecting surrogate daughters in her kitchen in a very sweet part of the episode.

Flaca and Maritza seem to have made up, and they are both in on Piper’s plan to sell dirty panties. Flaca is smart, though, and realizes Piper must be making a ton of money, and all that the panty girls are getting are flavor packets. Piper is going to have to watch out or she will have a mutiny if she’s not careful. And let’s be real here: Piper is never careful. She is all over Ruby Rose and doesn’t care who sees — even if that someone is Alex.

Alex — like Soso, Gloria, and Daya — is pretty close to a breakdown. She believes Lolly has been sent to kill her, and to be fair, Lolly has been acting pretty suspiciously. But when Alex finally confronts her, Alex learns that Lolly thinks the NSA is bugging the prison. Here’s yet another case of fantasy versus reality: Lolly’s reality is the NSA conspiring to frame her; Alex’s reality is her drug dealer sending a hit after her, and the real reality may be simply that two women in prison are paranoid and struggling.

Pornstache is also ignoring reality after his mother visited him and told him Daya’s baby isn’t his. He refuses to accept that truth and says that Daya and the baby are the only things he has to live for. Pornstache can be funny, but on the whole I feel like his scenes could be on an entirely different show. I don’t buy his love or his motivations, and he seems more cartoonish than real. Compare his scene with Mama Pornstache to Daya’s scene with her. Daya and Delia were both so real and portrayed the difficult decision of how best to take care of a child with so much emotion. I am relieved Daya has made a decision, and I hope it brings her peace.

Other notes:
  • Inmate of the episode is Morello, who is an evil genius. I really should have seen it coming she would send one of her new man friends after Christopher. (Having said that, I hope she gets some help.) 
  • Is Piper a sociopath? No, but seriously.
  • I love the friendship between Boo and Tiffany. It seems based off a mutual respect even though they are so different.
  • How hilarious were all the inmates when they were getting excited about the possibility of Judy King coming to Litchfield?
  • The kitchen crew playing two truths and one lie was such a fantastic moment. That kind of storytelling is so complex and compact. So much information was imparted with Blanca’s three options and what the girls thought was a lie, and it was just so touching. 
  • I’m happy to see Suzanne has a love interest!


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