Many shows and movies are set in crazy environments—ones on alien planets, on uninhabitable climates, in war struck zones, and more. However, despite their absurdity, viewers often accept the abstract characteristics as normal for relatively anything can happen in the entertainment industry (as long as producers approve). Despite the ease and prevalence of such variation, relatively few shows are set in the same time and in the current society where they are broadcasted, simply because it is difficult to write, film, and produce shows or movies before the current, dynamics of modern life change. In the sixth season Orange Is the New Black, however, this is not the case.
I was very surprised to see the characters in the sixth season of this show discussing the same issues that I am talking about with my friends. In one of the early episodes of this season, Blanca is depicted discussing Trump’s idea of building a border wall. Later in the episodes, people discuss the “MeToo” movement that has been on the forefront of the news lately. Because the writers included such references to current events in the scripts, they make the characters seem like people who are somewhere out there living in an American prison in the current political system right now. Sadly, people just like the characters in the show actually are living a similar reality. Therefore, the writing makes viewers reflect not only on the politics referred to in the show but also on the state of affairs of the prison system. It brings the story the show tells about a corrupt system into the real world (where it does actually exist too) and places it in the setting of the same place we live today. Before the sixth season, it was apparent that the show was set somewhere in modern America but it was not really tied explicitly to what is going on today. By including references to events that have been hot topics in the past few months, the writers took the show from a vague setting to real time, specifically, making the injustices seen in the show just as current and urgent as the other references.