English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Category: Review Topic 1 (Page 1 of 2)

A Writer’s Perspective: Viewing Television in a New Light

In this post, I detail the writing and story line of the first episode of season 1 of Orange is the New Black. To prepare myself to better analyze the episode, I read the following article by Rob Serling, one of the first prominent television screenwriters.


This article is actually the introduction to his script Patterns, which was a popular live broadcast in the 1950s about a corporate power struggle. The introduction expresses the mentality and struggles of a television writer. Serling stresses the need to take advantage of the visual nature of television and the advantages of incorporating certain actors and themes into scripts. Something significant that I noticed in this article was that Serling claimed “There are no courses, however specialized and applied, that will catapult him into the profession.” This statement, although in the nascent stage of television, helped build the assumption that women could not be screenwriters.

In contrast to Serling’s beliefs, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) written by the talented female screenwriter Jenji Kohan. Kohan, who is also known for Weeds and Tracy Takes On.., employs several strategies to develop an intriguing introduction which draws viewers in to watch the rest of the season.

In episode 1, the show is told in first person perspective, which I assume will continue throughout the show.  The plot of the episode revolves around a middle aged women (Piper Chapman) who is sent to serve a fifteen month sentence in prison for carrying drug money for her ex-lover ten years ago. The primarily one to one nature of the character’s interactions lead me to believe that the show will heavily emphasize relationships between characters. The episode prominently features flashbacks to give background information about the protagonist, especially about her relationship with her lesbian, drug smuggling ex. These flashbacks also show  that this part of her life continues to haunt her psychologically and shows some of the complex emotional issues that women have to deal with that are not often portrayed in media. To set the premise for future episodes, the writer introduces a conflict with the prison cook and unexpected challenges for Piper, such as not having any money for her first few weeks. There is also a focus on the unexpected aspects of prison, particularly for a person coming from a privileged background.

Kohan constructs Piper as an emotionally complex character who made a mistake in her younger years, allowing the audience to sympathize with her predicament. The appearance of another lesbian prisoner foreshadows that Piper will continue to explore her sexuality, unlike the stereotypical female character. The script also flips traditional gender roles by having the woman outside the household instead of the man. In conclusion, Jenji Kohan starts off Orange is the New Black with an engaging episode that will keep viewers coming back for more while also introducing a complex, realistic female protagonist.

An Awesome Review of the First Episode of Grey’s Anatomy

I will focus this blog post on the first episode of Season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. Shonda Rhimes is credited with writing this episode. She’s also written episodes for “Scandal”, “The Writers’ Room”, “Private Practice”, “Gilded Lilys”, “A corazón abierto”, “Off the Map”, “Inside the Box”, and “Seattle Grace: Message of Hope”. The first episode’s dialogue is structured much like other TV shows, the characters in the episode have conversions between them as the plot gets revealed to the viewers. The dialogue in Grey’s Anatomy is very informal. That is, the characters talk between themselves in a way that is easy for an average person to understand. However, some parts of their dialogue include medical terminology that an average person might not know. I for example, didn’t know much of the medical terms that were exchanged between the characters. However, the medical terms are explained to patients and their families such that the viewers can also understand the plot. Throughout the episode, there are multiple moments in which Meredith’s voiceover is played to the viewers. Funnily enough, the voice over played at the beginning of the episode wasn’t originally part of the episode, but Rhimes said that “In the editing room, it felt like a piece was missing, so we added it”. The voice over is used as a way of explaining and revealing Meredith’s thoughts to the viewers without Meredith directly saying them to anyone. It reveals Meredith’s stress and anxiety throughout the episode and strengthens the connection between Meredith and the viewers. Silence is also used in the episode at times of panic. Well, not silence exactly but background music which overtakes the audio from the episode. For example, during one of the surgeries in the episode, the characters struggle to help a dying patient and the song “Life Is Short” by Butterfly Voucher is played overtaking the audio in the episode. The happy vibe of the song is a complete contrast to the mood of the episode. There are no literary allusions that stand out. What does stand out about the writing is how the episode was able to portray the difficulties of being an intern at a hospital so well to the viewers.

Image from Grey’s Anatomy season 1, episode 1

Kimmy Schmidt Experiencing Life!

In this post I will be analyzing the writing in the first episode of Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable, titled “Kimmy Goes Outside!” where Kimmy finally is able to get out of the bunker she has been living in for 10 years and decides to move to New York City.

The title episode’s writing was helmed by two very well known writers in the comic scene today, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Tina Fey is known for being a pioneer for females after she broke through the male-dominated comedic writing profession and was hired to be the first ever female sketch writer on Saturday Night Live.  Besides her illustrious SNL career, Fey also wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls (2004), as well as created and wrote the popular TV show 30 Rock.  Similarly to Fey, Robert Carlock also worked as a writer for SNL and 30 Rock, while also taking part in writing for the well known television series Friends.  The hilariously clever, and random deadpan humor that viewers have enjoyed from these writers for years perfectly translates to the odd plot of Kimmy Schmidt and allows audiences to have a jubilant experience while watching Kimmy leave the bunker and go out into the real world.

The dialogue in this first episode is very snappy and quick.  After all Kimmy is experiencing so many things for the first time in this episode! There is no time for any emotional monologue, she is practically still a kid in a women’s body as she has not matured since she went into the bunker during her childhood.  As previously stated, the script in this episode is filled with quick, random one liners to promote the absurdity of the whole situation and to get the audience to laugh at the nonchalant, deadpan humor and enjoy the characters on screen.

With that, it should also be noted that the episode has almost no silent/dull moments! Kimmy is now living in New York City, a place that Titus (a supporting character) expresses “will chew you up and spit you out… like lunch”.  The lack of silence promotes the rushed and exciting tone of the whole script throughout the title episode where Kimmy is eating candy for dinner for the first time, running with strangers who are out for a run, partying at a club for the first time, and making up for all the lost time she spent in the bunker.

I believe the writing in the title episode is perfectly executed. Fey and Carlock use deadpan humor perfectly to make the audience laugh while also using pathos to get the audience to sympathize with Kimmy’s plight, causing them to want to keep binge watching the show, which is ultimately the objective of the first episode.  The writing put on paper is perfectly edited and acted for a quick episode filled with snappy, witty and humorous dialogue which I have enjoyed and look forward to enjoying as I continue to watch the series. WATCH KIMMY SCHMIDT!

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Lillian commenting on Kimmy’s clothes


Knowing Corinne Brinkerhoff

As I wrote in my Intro blog, I ended up choosing ‘No Tomorrow’ because it was my sister’s advice. Since my sister has great taste, I am enjoying it so much that I cannot wait to see what is going to happen at the end of the last episode. My first impression was not that good but it has a twist and it has been better than I thought that It was going to be. The writer of ‘No Tomorrow’ is a woman called Corinne Brinkerhoff. She began working in television in 2004 and became a writer in 2006. In 2007 she became a story editor and further on, she became executivestory editor. Before ‘No Tomorrow’ , she had previously written some other TV shows, such as ‘Boston Legal’ from 2006 to 2008, ‘The Good Wife’ from 2009 to 2012, her most recently ‘No Tomorrow,’ that is based on the 2012 Brazilian series “How to enjoy the End of the World,’ among others. In between these TV shows, her second one (The Good Wife) was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for the New Series in 2010. 

Talking a little bit more about why this TV show stands out to me, I can say that every episode is a surprise. When I think that I know what is going to happen, the writer gives us something unexpected and completely new. I am excited to see what is going to happen at the end. 

Besides all of these unexpected directions that the TV show takes, she chose to add some pauses in the middle of each episode. These pauses are a completely blackout and it happens during an interesting scene when you get excited to see what is happening. It makes you curious about the way that the scene is going to take and make you watch more and more episodes.

The Writing of Crazy Ex Girlfriend

One of the most interesting things about Crazy Ex Girlfriend is that Rachel Bloom, aside from starring in the show, is also it’s co creator and co head writer along with Aline Brosh McKenna. I cannot even imagine the hours Rachel Bloom must log writing lines, memorizing those lines, and then performing take after take. Rachel Bloom, interestingly enough, does not have a background in script writing. Before Crazy Ex Girlfriend, her main output in regards to writing were her comedy music albums (If you’re Jewish, and you haven’t yet listened to Chanukah Honey, do yourself a favor and google it. Seriously, it has the line “Chanukah Honey, at the JCC you play basketball! So tall. You must be 5’8″”) of which she wrote two. However, her creation of Crazy Ex Girlfriend does make logistical sense because of Rebecca’s (the main character) tendency to burst into song in fully choreographed musical fantasy sequences. Bloom’s particular brand of off kilter, brutally honest humor displayed in her earlier albums is easily found in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, particularly in the Sexy Getting Ready Song, where Rebecca ironically demonstrates how unsexy the typical woman’s preparations for a date night are.

Aline Brosh McKenna’s writing background, however, is a little harder to detect in Crazy Ex Girlfriend. She is most notable for her movie adaptation of the book The Devil Wears Prada, a story which does deconstruct some of the “perfect woman” myths we see surrounding models and businesswomen, but still features an effortless makeover and consistently stunning women. In one horrifyingly memorable moment, Emily Blunt’s character announces that her new diet is to eat nothing, except for a cube of cheese whenever she feels like she is about to faint. McKenna’s second most notable writing credit, the 2014 musical movie Annie, is even more difficult to detect amongst the adult themes of Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Where Annie is overwhelmingly sweet with a central father-daughter relationship, Rebecca’s most impactful relationship is with her neglectful, spiteful, and emotionally/verbally abusive mother. Where Annie focuses on a brave, morally pure girl, Rebecca in cowardice takes advantage of her friends and hurts many characters around her (read: leaving her date with Greg to sleep with a guy she met while on the date with Greg). True, Annie and Crazy Ex Girlfriend were made for vastly different audiences, but there is almost zero overlap in the writing styles of the two. As I watch the rest of the show, I will be keeping my eye out for any similarities to The Devil Wears Prada and Annie.

Overall, I do love the writing style. The dialogue is fumbling in a natural way, with enough ums, uhs, and likes to make me feel like those conversations could be happening in real life. This realism injects a much needed dose of the mundane into a show that has a sometimes larger than life plot (not to mention the musical numbers).

Me whenever another musical number plays on CEG

“Aline Brosh McKenna.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm0112459/.

“Rachel Bloom.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm3417385/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1.


Flying Over the Writing in The Middle

According to the Rodney Richey’s article, “DeAnn Heline Writes, Produces ‘The Middle,’” the executive producers of The Middle are Eileen Heister and DeAnn Heline.  Heister of Chicago and Heline, born in Muncie, IN, were no strangers to the central Indiana environment depicted by The Middle.   These two producers were roommates at Indiana University and had the idea to pitch the series to Warner Bros in California.  Heiseter and Heline, who won The Humanitas Prize for their success with The Middle, brought a lot to the table.  Not only did the two demonstrate great personal experience, but also professional work as writers for Roseanne (Richey).

Writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline.

The dialogue in The Middle is structured to be authentic to the theme and setting of the show.  Often times the main character illustrated in the sitcom, Frankie Hess, utilizes voiceovers to inform readers of ongoing or past events and personal thoughts or struggles.  In my opinion, this tool makes the show much more effective at presenting its message and keeps the audience entertained.  The Middle thrives on viewers that can sympathize with the events and characters portrayed in the story.  When the voiceovers are used, relating to the main character becomes effortless.

Silence is rarely used in The Middle, but when it is, often it is to express the quiet nature of the Midwest, or as it is described in the show, Flyover country.  The title sequence generally includes corn fields and a blue sky shown in the frame with a jet plane flying over.  This is to signify the desolate surroundings.  I believe this contrasts the emptiness associated with the Midwest with the strong relationships, loving families, and hospitality lying further within.

The scene depicted by The Middle is pretty accurate.

The Middle also uses many flashbacks to show how each character has evolved and how Frankie has fought the struggles of raising a middle-class family over time.  The references to a typical Indiana environment are profound in the show.  I feel more connected with the overall picture when I see these allusions.  For example, the occasional Colts apparel, basketball references, and camaraderie of small neighborhoods remind me of my former home.  It honestly makes me homesick when I realize I haven’t witnessed these elements in quite some time.

The number one factor that stands out to me concerning the writing is authenticity.  As I’ve stated, I pick up on the small details that allow the audience to feel immersed in the show.  Even if one has never stepped foot in the Midwest, it’s easy to watch the middle-class family events unfold and exclaim, “I’ve been there.”  I see this as the most powerful component of The Middle.  Also, when the plot is detailed through the mother of the family, it is more engaging for the observer.  A mother’s perspective into the traditional middle-class family is unique in the television world, and The Middle prospers because of it.


Richey, Rodney. “DeAnn Heline Writes, Produces ‘The Middle.’” The Herald Bulletin, 20 Oct. 2009, http://www.heraldbulletin.com/community/deann-heline-writes-produces-the-middle/article_2dd38b0a-7e53-56e1-ae44-665b630b91fb.html. Accessed 8 Sep. 2018.

Writing of “So Chineez”

After watching the first season of Fresh off the Boat, there were many interesting episodes that touched on a variety of topics, this blog post will be written about episode thirteen: So Chineez. Episode thirteen was written by Nahnatchka Khan and directed by Chris Koch. Director Chris Koch is also known for being the director for shows such as Modern Family, Scrubs, The Neighbors , etc. and Nahnatchka Khan is known for writing and producing episodes for shows such as American Dad!, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, Always Be My Maybe.


The episode begins with different scenes of the family members in their habitual settings, voiced over by Eddie Huang. Eddie describes: “I became my school’s first black president, dad put the restaurant on the map,  my brothers were still nerds, grandma was busy doing her thing, but no one was fitting in better than mom, she was down with “Melrose Place,” Hip-hop music is played in the back, similar to the beginnings of other episodes. It is arguable how Eddie’s voice over helps the show, but it shows that it is from Eddie (one of the main characters)’s perspective. The narration isn’t necessarily consistent; however, most episodes begin and ends with Eddie’s narration and hip-hop music.


In the episode, the dialogues mainly focused on the Huang family, Eddie and his friends at school, and Louis with his new country-club friends. One major use of silence was when Louis called his newly-found business partner Ted an “Ass wipe.” The club members’ smiles disappeared as Louis realized that his joke was “too far.” Louis then apologizes and says he is still learning as the other club members laugh it off and continue to play tennis. This scene shows how Louis is fitting in at the club and learning the “traditions,” similar to how his family is fitting into the new Orlando culture. Even though there was an awkward silence, the club members simply laughed it off when Louis apologized to Ted.


The conversation between Eddie and Trent at the cross-cultural fair showed Jessica that Eddie is proud of his heritage and remembers what she has taught him about Chinese traditions and culture. As Eddie proudly told Trent of his heritage, there was the external reference to The Four Great Inventions, The Great Wall of China, and the 5000 years of Chinese history.

Huang family’s new license plate at the end of season 1

I think this episode was a good way to end the season as it continues to explore racial/cultural identity in a comedic manner. The show began with the Huang family struggling to fit in, and through season one they were able to each find their own place in the community. It ends positively and leaves the audience to wonder what will happen in the next season. It is clear that each character still has a lot of room for development as Louis is looking to open another branch for his restaurant, Jessica is reflecting on “who she is,” and the kids are slowly growing up.

Taking a Quick Peek at the Writing Behind Fresh Off the Boat

Looking at the pilot of the show, “Fresh Off the Boat” the characters are introduced to an entirely new environment, Orlando, Florida, and must all adapt to the suburban lifestyle all while attempting to blend in with a largely white community. Furthermore, Eddie has to try to fit the expectations set for him despite considering himself the “Black Sheep” of the family. The opening scene opens with Eddie trying on expensive clothes and his mom promptly denying him said clothes. This is when we are introduced to our narrator, the real life Eddie Huang, as he explains his frustration at his mother’s lack of understanding of department stores. Within the first minute of the show, the narrator’s lines already establish one of the key conflicts that recurs throughout the show: Eddie’s understanding and acceptance of American culture vs. his family’s vexation and resistance towards it.

(Eddie tries on some posh clothes that don’t quite fit into his mother’s price range for shopping.)

The next key scene immediately follows as Eddie flashes back to his road trip as he moved from Washington DC to Orlando, Florida. In this scene, the narrator quickly, but blatantly describes the characters in the family and his relationship towards them. He establishes that his father bought into the American dream, that his mother was hard on him, and that both were worried about him, after which, he quickly dismisses the other members of his family. This dismissive words of the narrator helps to reveal Eddie’s sense of separation from his family and his feelings of being an outsider. As the episode progresses, the narration becomes less frequent and the character’s dialogue begins to take more significance in the episode. A key distinction to notice in the episode is the dialogue of the white characters being illogical yet patronizing whereas the dialogue of the Huang family being straightforward and personal. During most scenes with white characters interacting with Eddie the characters will struggle to speak to him due to the fact that they expect him to speak little or no English. Whether it be tourists in DC who slowly as for directions to the “W H I T E   H O U S E” or teachers who do not know how to pronounce his name, Eddie establishes the general lack of understanding towards Taiwanese culture in specific, and Asian cultures in general.

The episode wraps up with an epic showdown as Eddie’s parents duke it out with the principal of his middle school. After discovering that Eddie started a fight because a student called him a “chink” Louis Huang berates the principal following with Jessica accusing the principal of ignoring the bullying problem in his school. This scene ultimately reveals Eddie’s parents true feelings towards their son and their understanding of how difficult it is to fit into the whitewashed town of Orlando.

The faces says it all…

Jessica Jones: Episode 1 Season 1

This episode of Jessica Jones was written by multiple writers in Los Angeles with one of the writers being on set in New York City. These writers took inspiration from Daredevil, the other Netflix Marvel character. Interestingly enough, the writers of Jessica Jones were developed through the production of the season rather than being pre-written unlike the other Netflix Avengers TV shows. I think this is very interesting because the method of the show’s writing also reflects the impromptu/just-go-with-it attitude of the character Jessica Jones.

Dialogue in this episode was very informal with no voice over. However, there were multiple scenes with just music playing in the background that set the tone of each scene. The music with the silence of the characters in the scene almost acted as a passive voice over for the episode. I feel like this shapes the character of Jessica Jones much more and adds to the dark tone of the episode. For example, there is one scene where Jessica Jones is spying on Luke Cage, who happens to be another superhero. Without any words, the audience can tell just from her facial expressions and the slow, steady background music that Jessica yearns for a normal life without PTSD or any of her problems.

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Jessica speaks through her facial expressions

On the note of the episode using silence, the episode very frequently used flashbacks that blends in reality to express the feeling of Jessica’s PTSD. Rather than do direct black and white flashbacks to the past to recall why she has PTSD, the episode often blends scenes from the past and the present with fast paced music to instill a sense of fear in the audience’s minds. In these scenes, Jessica also does not talk often if not at all, which I believe is used to show how much fear Jessica Jones has for the antagonist of the season, Kilgrave.

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Flashback scene

Overall, the frequent absence of dialogue in the writing of the episode stood out to me most. Most of Jessica’s feelings or complex thoughts were expressed through music and facial expressions which the writers did well in synchronizing the two elements together in scenes. For example, the plot twist at the end of the episode wasn’t started via a dialogue scene like in many other TV shows, but through slow, eerie music and through Jessica’s silence.



Piper? Oh you mean Chapman…

Orange is the New Black starts off the show by introducing newly prison inmate Piper Chapman after charged with smuggling drug money internationally with her previous lesbian love affair. She committed the crime five years before the time of her sentence, of which she surrendered to the prison officials. Now, she is struggling to adjust to prison life.

I am focusing on discussing the writing of “I Wasn’t Ready”, the first episode of Orange is the New Black, which was written by Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan, and directed by Michael Trim. Liz Friedman has in the past written known shows such as Conviction, Law & Order, Notorious, and even produced House M.D. Jenji Kohan has also written other shows such as Weeds and The Stones, a pair of older shows that were produced before the 2000s.

The main writer for the first episode, Jenji Kehan.

Throughout this first episode, Kehan and Friedman do a superb job of setting the tone of the show. During Piper’s first several minutes in prison, it is evident that the writers created many different personalities to accompany the characters in the show. For example, Piper’s dialogue I’ve noticed is on the straightforward side. She likes to get her point across but is rather hesitant in voicing her opinion against people of higher power, such as the security guards in the prison. With Red, it is seen in the first episode that she acts along with her will and power in the system, being the chef of the prison. This is directly seen when she discreetly gave Piper an unpleasant meal after Piper accidentally insulted the prison’s food in front of her at the lunch table. Not only these two characters, but it is seen that there are numerous types of varying attributes assigned to everyone in the prison, creating a unit of diversity and makes the interaction between the inmates more interesting. It is also noticed that in the dialogue, the writers utilize many metaphors and references to past events and culturally separated groups to signify the division within the prison mates.

A component highly worth discussing in the first episode was the initial voiceover at the beginning of the show, where Piper’s voiceover describing both her life back home and life in the prison, signifying the difference in environments and truly assisted in introducing the plot effectively.

The main character of the show, Piper Chapman.

The way the first episode was structured by Friedman and Kehan was extremely well-done, the plot was clear to understand and the various transitions with scenes and character personalities kept me engaged and interested the whole way. Overall, it left me wanting to keep watching.

Fantasy or Future?

West. World. Here we are again traversing through mankind’s Manifest Destiny of any possible pleasure imaginable — in front of a Utah desert backdrop with thousands of humanoid robots and hundreds of interlaced scripted stories. This wild-west glutton buffet is the brain child of co-writers and husband and wife Lisa Joy and Johnathan Nolan. In the first episode, we see the dynamic of Johnathan Nolan’s previous works in Dark Knight Batman movies, Terminator Genesis, and Interstellar as well as Lisa Joy experimentation with her works Burn Notice (a spy termination narrative) and Pushing Daisies (a reincarnation-concept based show) battling with an affectionate humanistic narrative that rises from their relationship as a family and the parents of two young kids. SPOILER, the androids start to realize they are merciless victims of the customers in the park when one of the android’s scripted priorities is to protect the android daughter at all costs.

Westworld makes us ponder our very own existence by putting viewers in the androids’ shoes.

Westworld is a matrimonial tightrope walk in between Elon Musk’s belief that we are living in a simulation and his warnings about the power of artificial intelligence to become smart enough to manipulate people to satisfy their own interests. The dialogue structure in the episode and the series blend the power struggle perfectly. The makers interact with their work like they are one of their own. One of the stand out lines comes from a creative director of the robots, Lee, when he questions, “Do you really want to think that your husband is [having sex] with that girl?” These heated debates among the creators of Westworld and their invention brings a humanity to their supposed omnipotence because they themselves can’t figure out the borders to what is morally acceptable in their park. What if fulfilling your desires involves getting emotionally attached to something that is just supposed to be an object? The inventors are no longer in complete control of their own work.

A Westworld prostitute developing a enticing lip stroke after remembering her sexual experience.

The last resort that the creator’s of the park do have are “pausing” the androids. This is the only effective way the writers of the show are able to detach you from how human-like and independent the robots are. These periods of silence are not only haunting in the instances of when the father of the daughter android, Peter,  tries to attack the creator of Westworld, but also the only layer to prevent you as a viewer from getting attached to the androids and rooting for them just like another customer of the park.  Physically, the creators of  Westworld still may have power but their is no omniscience in the realm of speech. Everything is a fair game. The down-to-earth style dialogues in the show leaves yourself thinking yourself if your own consciousnesses is just a figment of imagination and whether or not we are supposed to replace ourselves with a more — not so artificially — intelligent being as a simple demand of evolution.

What the Hell is a Handmaid?

A womb on legs, basically.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a horrifying show, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s a different type of horror from a scary movie; instead of bracing yourself for a jump scare, you stare with your mouth open in disgust, eyebrows furrowed in disbelief. However, I will refrain from purely rambling about how shocking this show is to say this: this show is brilliant.

A pilot episode is supposed to draw a viewer in and introduce one to the storyline and dynamic of the characters. In The Handmaid’s Tale, I was thrown right into a terrifying society where torture, sexual abuse, and zero respect for women were the “new ordinary.” During desperate times of war, the US falls back on military rule and religious extremism, in which freedom and democracy are stripped from everyone. Although the setting is a modern United States, the “new ordinary” makes the environment (almost) unrecognizable.

“It’s forbidden now. So many things are forbidden now.” Things that we once okay are now punishable by death.

Both the stylistic elements of the writing and the plot demonstrates this new society and the unfamiliarity of it. The first episode starts off with an intense flashback, then all of a sudden a silhouette with a voiceover: “A chair. A table. A lamp. There’s a window with white curtains, and the glass is shatterproof.” Most of the time, there is silence or very quiet, somber music. Sounds of rain, breathing, and footsteps are emphasized. The new world is so much simpler, but the short dialogue immediately conveys the silencing of many. The main character, Offred, even thinks in a peaceful tone, using short but sarcastic sentences because silent mockery is the only way she can show resentment.

Offred has been living in this society for long enough to establish a routine, but not long enough to adjust completely and often reminisces about her past life as a wife and mother. This in-between place allowed the show writers to utilize first-person narration and express ambiguity. So many terms confused me: “Handmaid, Ceremony, Martha, Eye, Unwoman, Colonies, etc.” I kept asking questions about what they were wearing, why something was happening, and felt general confusion. But by building this confusion, the writers captured my attention and kept me intrigued.

Even though the showrunner, Bruce Miller, is male, he based the first season on Margaret Atwood’s novel; hopefully, he continued the theme of feminism in season two and acknowledged the opinions of the female producer and writers. Though, just judging based on the first few episodes, Miller effectively conveys the importance of feminism by removing it from the characters’ society. The contrast between the two societies, along with the parallels with reality, are well-written and make this show so jarring and thought-provoking.

Piper’s New Life………..In Jail!

Orange is the New Black is a Netflix original series which first aired in 2013. The show mainly follows the protagonist, Piper Chapman, who must adjust to life as a prison inmate after being convicted of smuggling drug money, a crime she committed five years prior to her sentencing. The writing of the show consists of several key aspects that are central to the theme and progression of the series. In fact, the very first episode of the show, written by Jenji Kohan, helps establish the context of the show’s plot and incorporates elements that are worthy of viewer assessment. Also, Kohan’s works for shows of various genres, such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends, are evident in the style she chooses to implement for the first episode.

Jenji Kohan (Writer for Orange is the New Black)

One component that gives Orange is the New Black its own identity is the dialogue. In the beginning of the episode, Piper delivers a voiceover as she is shown showering in two different settings, one in her residence and the other in a prison facility. Over the course of her voiceover, Piper details the differences of the two locales. Piper’s opening monologue and the two scenes complement each other reasonably well because they helped introduce the plot effectively. Additionally, the decision to couple the two gives the audience an opportunity to visualize the events Piper describes in greater detail. Furthermore, the dialogue also enhances the behaviors of some characters, which in turn makes the show more believable to the audience. For instance, the corrections officers show little to no emotion when interacting with Piper and the other inmates. This careful intention confirms the expectations of most viewers as something they’d expect from a series that primarily showcases events in a prison facility.

In addition to the dialogue used in the series, Kohan also employs other literary devices to further clarify events in the episode. In one segment, Piper phones her fiancé from prison, and during the conversation, her fiancé asks her if she has joined the Aryan Nation, an all-white prison gang. This reference to the real-life Aryan Brotherhood illustrates that Piper must overcome the obstacle of racial division during her prison stay in some fashion. Moreover, Kohan’s frequent use of flashbacks allows viewers to obtain better insights into Piper’s emotions throughout the show. In a scene where Piper meets her counselor and recounts her crime to him, the show immediately displays Piper’s attempt to smuggle the money with her accomplice. This scene highlights the difference in sentiments Piper experienced when committing the crime and relaying the occurrence to her counselor. It also gives the audience a chance to sympathize with Piper as the two scenes depict her transition from feeling confident to being ashamed.

Piper’s encounter with a stoic corrections officer

The manner in which Kohan wrote the first episode of Orange is the New Black really makes the show engaging and realistic for viewers. The devices she consistently uses allow spectators to form meaningful connections with the show. With these attachments, audience members are able to remain entertained and suspend their disbeliefs.










































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Jack O’Lantern

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Piper looking like a Jack O’Lantern

Working inside out, I think it is important to evaluate the episode in the middle of the season when thinking about writing because the first episode doesn’t give an accurate depiction of what the season will be like and the last episode usually ends on a tragic note to promote for continuance for another season.

Episode five of season six on the show Orange is the New Black starts pretty f*cked up…We visualize the guards practicing the same behavior that you think about during the 1800’s when auctioneers were selling and biding slaves. Luscheck creates a way to make tracking each inmate easier (similar to the cotton gin????).

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CO Ginger convinces Piper to fight Ruiz

Written by Anthony Natoli, a common writer and editor for the show, he uses comedy to lighten the darkness of the show. While the guards try and collect points for their fantasy inmate game, CO Ginger influences Piper to start a fight with another inmate in order to get her tooth back. She makes a joke saying that she resembled a Jack O’Lantern which pushes Piper off the edge.

Throughout the entire episode Natoli writes with the purpose to manipulate all of the main characters in the show. We experience manipulation with Piper and “Badison” when Badison demands a favor for her in exchange for a favor that Piper did not even ask for. Because of emotional distress, Linda tries to manipulate Fig into building a relationship to get back a Joe, and we experience manipulation between inmate and guard relationships. Further in the season Natoli is also responsible in writing episode 11 where Frieda manipulates Suzanne into thinking they are friends so she can watch her back. He also edited the script for episode 6 in which Pennsatucky manipulates Linda into getting her into Florida (the elderly section of max). Seems like Natoli’s common theme is manipulation.

Upcoming Asian Rapper: Eddie Huang

My first review blog is about the first episode of season one of Fresh Off the Boat. I was really impressed by the writing in the pilot and it gave me a great first impression of the show. The entire show is actually based on a book written and based on the life of Eddie Huang. According to IMDb, Eddie Huang was one of the most prominent writers of the show along with Nahnatchka Khan who is also the creator of the show. The show does have voice overs that are done by Eddie Huang himself. The narration is used as a frame for the show and only comes on at the beginning and end of the episode which emphasizes how the episodes are like memories and the narration act as intros and summarizations at the end. This voiceover is significantly different than the one from Jane the Virgin where the narrator gives explanations throughout the episodes. Another interesting aspect of the show is that the episodes are generally flashbacks of the past while the voiceovers are in present time.

The writers kept the script very genuine and included grammar mistakes in the dialogues of the Mom in order to highlight her accent and emphasize her immigrant characteristics. The dialogue acknowledges racism and instead of conforming to it it attempts to undermine it by presenting it from Eddie Huang’s perspective. The repetitive use of colors such as “white” and “black” to describe races continues to make the dialogues seem realistic especially from the perspective of a kid in middle school. Silence is also implemented effectively, both to induce comedy after characters say jokes and to dramatize arguments. The writers used the repetition of Eddie saying “your never on my side” to his mom to reflect how he feels like an outsider even in his own house. However, what stands out most about the writing is the constant references to rap music, which really allows you to relate to Eddie. Overall, the show had very thought out and relatable writing that has me itching to keep watching!

gotta go fresh off the boat GIF by HULU

Me running to go watch the next episode

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