English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: Orange Is the New Black (Page 2 of 2)

Juxtaposing Prison and Past

Despite the absurdity of an environment or character’s situation, TV viewers tend to become accustomed to the scenery of a show quickly. Whether the setting be in the middle of Manhattan, a dangerous jungle, or even another universe, the setting, although noteworthy, is generally not what we focus on. Instead, we tend to follow the issues at stake, the problem, or a particular character we sympathize with. In Orange is the New Black, however, to understand the main character’s thoughts and feelings, it is essential to view the new environment (jail) the same way that the protagonist (Piper) does. To accomplish this goal, producers jump in between scenes of flashbacks to Piper’s old environment and her new one in jail to create a juxtaposition.

When Piper’s old life outside of jail is shown, the first thing I noticed was the lighting. In scenes that portray the past, the lighting is always brighter and has a more yellow/orange glow. This lighting is so noticeable because it is very different from the lighting of the jail scenes before it where dark grey tones prevail. The use of bright lighting in scenes outside of prison conveys that Piper’s past life was much happier, fortunate, and comfortable than her current bleak situation.

To convey this theme of a nurturing past and cutthroat present, clips between the two often end with characters talking about the same thing in different ways. For example, in episode two of the first season, Red mentions how a certain bathroom smells like a dead animal. Immediately after, the filming jumps to a different scene that takes place in Piper’s past, where she talks about how she loves the smell of soapa luxury that she cannot afford now. During this scene, she excitedly discusses how she can start a business marketing soaps and lotions. As soon as Piper says “lotions” the scene cuts and goes to the jail, where a gross, generic container of lotion is slammed down on a desk. Furthermore, clips constantly jump from Piper not eating anything in the jail because she is being starved out by another inmate to her purposefully not eating at home because she is adhering to a detox diet. By switching scenes from her new life in jail to her old life with her fiance outside of it, the producers emphasize that Piper’s old life was comfortable and that her current one is foreign, scary, tough, and an enormous emotional, social, and physical challenge. By timing scenes to end at certain meaningful points, viewers gain a true understanding of what jail means to Piper because they also understand what experiences were like for her outside of jail and the change she is getting used to. Such utilization of cinematography to juxtapose the past with the present allows viewers to empathize with Piper and feel the same emotional toll that she does.



TVFem is the New English

Hello everyone! I am Alex Marin, a freshman MSE major from Sanford, NC who plans to graduate in May 2022.

Me at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China

While English has never been my favorite subject, I think this was largely due to the emphasis on writing and broad topics that many of my English classes focused on. During my senior year of high school, I experienced my first English classes on more specific topics (Southern Literature and Literature of the American West), which I enjoyed a lot more because they incorporated historical culture as well as just writing. This past summer I took English 1101, where I got my first taste of multimodal communication through the lens of the American Civil Rights Movement. I enjoy casual communication with friends through oral or electronic means, but I sometimes get nervous and stressed out when I have to give a formal speech or presentation. As this class is focused on television, I anticipate a lot of challenges with visual communication, where I need to choose visuals to accurately portray shows and statistics about television. As outline in my week one video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9RD5_0irqs), I have come up with several goals to help me improve my verbal communication skills this semester.

Although I have never been a big television fan, I have enjoyed several historical and dramatic series including Showtime’s Billions and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. I recently binged the Netflix series American Vandal and started watching Game of Thrones with my roommates, so my exposure is growing quickly. However, I have never previously given much thought to how women were portrayed in television shows or whether they played significant roles in the production and writing of these shows. I am excited that this course’s theme will allow me to do just that, forcing me to view television in a new light.

I have chosen to review Netflix’s well known Orange is the New Black in my blog posts this semester. I chose this series due to its positive reception from some of my friends and critics alike, as well as the fact that it is a comedy and I love a good laugh. The series follows a women who is imprisoned in a women’s prison for a long ago minor drug offense and her and the other inmate’s struggles.

Season 1 Trailer for Orange is the New Black


The Best Blog in the Game

How’s it going everyone? I am Adhav Arulanandan, no worries if it takes you twenty tries to get that right. I’m from Crystal Lake, Illinois, about an hour out from the Windy City. I am a first year Aerospace Engineering major (and Physics soon). I will be graduating.

My high school English classes ran the gamut from the boring and rote Literary Explorations III to the more exciting and free Creative Writing. They were always writing-heavy though, which was an issue since I was awful at writing going in to high school. All the practice helped me get a lot better, and it was through my Creative Writing class that I learned the issue was that I concerned myself too much with what I anticipated my audience’s reaction to be. I focused more on just getting my ideas onto the page with less of a self-inflicted filter, and I saw my writing quality rise. My biggest regret was not realizing this sooner, since I never had the opportunity to apply this to my speaking ability. I’m still a nervous wreck when I get up to speak to any crowd of more than zero people. This is (obviously) my first English class at Tech, and it is where I hope to improve my public speaking skills the way I did my writing in high school.

I haven’t watched much TV in the last three years, mostly because in my high school dorm, we didn’t have cable (I also procrastinated a lot, leaving myself no free time to watch TV, but let’s just blame my high school). I would, however, go home most weekends to Bears games and recorded episodes of The Big Bang Theory and The Middle.

Don’t give me that look of pity, we’re relevant again.

My brother and I also tried to finish Friends, which for some reason took us three summers, and this summer we started BoJack Horseman. My junior year roommate binged Netflix shows, and I often watched with him, even during the following year when we were no longer roommates. The shows we watched (though I missed episodes in between), included The Office (US), How I Met Your Mother, and …

It’s been a while.

Orange Is the New Black, which is the series I will be reviewing for this class. It is a show about a women’s prison and inmate Piper’s journey through a life that she, at first, is clearly not cut out for. A friend introduced it to my roommate and I by gushing over the incredible job the creators do with character development throughout the series, and even by watching a few episodes of the first season I was able to see what he was talking about. I was a fan, but homework piled up and took over, so I never finished. But now I have an excuse: it is, literally, my homework to watch this show.

“Scared to face the world, complacent career student, some people graduate, but be still stupid” -Kanye West

Aight ATL, what’s happenin’? I am David Veres and I came here from the far-reaches of Charlotte suburbs from a town by the name of Weddington in North Carolina to study Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I anticipate to graduate with the class of 2022, but if my interests in foreign studies dragged that out by a semester or two, I wouldn’t mind it because I would always be coming back to my long admired city of Atlanta.

I am really looking forward to this English 1102 section of Television and Feminism because I am eager to delve into and understand a new form of media and art. I always found most of my experiences with English courses to be pretty dry because it was always the same recycled format of reading a book and writing a paper since my earliest days in elementary. Actually, I hated English classes for many years. I somehow reluctantly pulled myself through the AIG Reading program for about five years until I had my breakthrough in grades eight through ten. I had began to take rap more seriously in it’s lyrical dimensions and the poetry unit I loathed in previous years was something I yearned for — just not haiku’s and sonnets. It was the dissecting of hip-hop and rap verses that really helped me build up my analytical arsenal. In my last two years, College Board has once again managed to absolutely kill the joy I once had by making me write timed essays about article segments and read books that frankly had more incest than I could have ever asked for in Song of Solomon and Invisible Man.

Me trying to sneak in a Kanye reference for the ten millionth time.

Moving in a different direction, even though I said I think I would struggle most with the visual component of the class during my introduction video, I think I will still struggle more with the written component. Watching the novela Jane the Virgin has eased my nerves a bit and even made me excited to binge the whole season! However, even as I sat down to write this blog post, I still had to overcome this insane prewriting-phobia that I have every assignment. Seeing that the content of this course is significantly different and will be my last English class ever, I hope to overcome my fears of writing and even develop a desire to immediately put my thoughts into a body of work rather than procrastinate until the last day. Furthermore, I hope to become proficient in translating my thoughts and feelings into sentences that actually make sense (a longstanding Achilles heel of mine).

Finally, I am the farthest thing from “well-versed” in television. My only experience comes with Donald Glover’s show Atlanta FX which depicts a much more realistic struggle of daily life as an African American in modern America. Also, I have not had entrenched myself in the topic of feminism because I never had any social issues with the movement due to my very progressive and liberal ideology. I am more of a reserved person so I never had any friends that were girls, but over the summer I started my first serious relationship and I would not trade the knowledge I have gained and the way I view love for anything. It has been exceptionally exciting because my girlfriend is from a completely different country so getting to know her culture has been an endless supply for my curiosity. My curiosity is what is also leading me to chose to watch Orange Is the New Black as my show to review for this class. I am always gripped by highly provocative and polarizing figures because I enjoy how deeply they make me think about living a life from a different perspective and I feel like the radically lifestyle inside a women’s prison is exactly the fresh content my analytical mind needs.

Me to all my previous English teachers who never wanted to watch the movies for the books but that’s all I am doing this semester.

Zimmeroni the Blogger

*I actually hate talking about myself so lets get this horrible act of narcism out of the way.*

It is I, Zhane’ Zimmerman or better known as Zimmeroni. I am a first year Industrial Engineering student expecting to graduate in 2022. This is my first english class at Tech and I am so excited to see how classes without a stem focus function. The first three weeks in this class have shown me that english classes here are way more relaxed than any english class I’ve taken before and obviously way more relaxed than the other classes that I take at Tech. This makes me want to switch my major to LMC.

In high school, I took english classes that were heavily focused in literature. Every other month we read a book, analyzed it, and repeated the process. All to learn??? Well, I am not exactly sure what was the end goal of these horrid classes but that is exactly what I expected to experience in college. Since it is different, and I can actually focus on myself for once and not Shakespeare, I want to reevaluate what it is to be a writer and communicator. Based on WOVEN, I struggle the most with nonverbal communication but the best with visual. I want to take those skills I have of making posters and graphics aesthetically pleasing and applying that to my face! I am so excited to learn that we actually will be learning about something we can all have an appreciation for- TELEVISION.

Now, I have a love hate relationship with watching series. One reason because whenever I start, I always seem to get busy and forget about the show completely. It seems like I need some sort of motivational pill to finish  a series (which is why this class is perfect for finishing showssssssss). Second reason is because whenever I sit down and watch television I only watch the home improvement channel (I know, lame right?).

Because of this relationship that I’ve developed with television, I’ve decided to finish a series that I started and loved but haven’t seemed to finish, Orange is the New Black. A show centered around various women doing time for various crimes that have over the seasons grown into incredible friends which makes the show confusing on who and what it is really about :).

Netflix Is The New Homework

Hello! My name is Lauren Garrett, I am planning on double-majoring in business administration and international affairs, and hopefully I can somehow manage to graduate in May of 2022 (we’ll see though).

This is me right now, stressing about how stressed I am going to be.

I love English, and every English class I’ve ever taken has been a personal favorite! I took AP Language and AP Literature in high school, so I didn’t take English 1101, and now I’m here. I also wrote for an online Buzzfeed-type website for about a year, submitting articles weekly that ranged from coffee shop reviews to rants about our modern society. Although I cringe now when I read them, I feel like I am fairly apt at writing, and this is definitely my favorite mode of communication. My least favorite would probably be nonverbal since I tend to be sort of twitchy.


Honestly, I was never raised watching television with my family beyond sports games or the news, so I didn’t ever really get into binging shows. When I watched Netflix, it tended to be mainly for the cultural relatability – aka, I watched only the mainstream shows so I could understand the references and pretend that I knew what people were talking about. I also went for the lower commitment shows, like The Office or Parks and Recreation, where the episodes were fairly short and didn’t require a ton of previous knowledge of other episodes. Even shows that I loved fell into the void of “never to be finished”, so getting into The Good Place was a weirdly exciting event for me. I’m excited to continue to spend evenings in my dorm with my roommate watching shows for this class!


However, I do know a bit about feminism. In high school, I formed a feminist club that was aimed at bridging divides between the missions of feminine empowerment and common misconceptions (such as trying to end the stereotype that “feminists hate men!!1!”), and we experienced enough success for the club to be continued on into this year. We did multiple service projects such as professional clothing drives for a local shelter that helped victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet, and we led discussions in high school English classes that were reading feminist literature on how these themes carried over into modern-day society. I am definitely no expert, though, and I certainly never really thought to consider feminism in the context of mainstream media – this class calls to me!

I have chosen to review Orange Is The New Black this semester, a show about a woman getting through her prison sentence in an all-female prison, mainly because I’ve been wanting to watch it since it first came out and never got around to it. Based on what I know about it, however, I am excited to see how each woman is portrayed through the lenses of not only gender but sexuality and background stories. I believe that this show will make for great analysis and discussion of many of our course themes.

Let’s get watching!!

Getting to Meet (part of) Me

Hello, everyone! My name is Alexandra Buhl. I am currently an International Affairs major (although I am leaning towards switching to International Business), and expect to graduate in 2022. In the past, I have always looked forward to my English classes. For me, such classes have always been a forum where I could express myself both creatively and persuasively at the same time. I have always loved dissecting diverse forms of rhetoric and analyzing them in these classes as well. In addition, English courses that I have taken in the past have rarely dwelled on learning grammatical structures and rules. Instead, they focussed on helping me answer questions that did not have clear or singular answers. This class is my first English class at Georgia Tech and I think that it will adhere to a similar style as my previous ones.

I enjoy written and electronic communications because I can carefully and efficiently plan out what I say but struggle with the oral and visual modes. This semester, I hope to improve my nonverbal communication in addition to the modes I struggle with so that I can convey any message in multiple ways.

Unlike most people my age, I do not have extensive experience with this courses theme of TV. Growing up, my parents did not allow me to watch much television, so I never developed attachments to shows. I recently bought a Netflix subscription, however, and am trying to balance watching a plethora of shows all at the same time. I’ve been wanting to add Orange is the New Black to that list for a while due to its creative plot line and focus on women, so I have chosen to review it for the Blog Assignment. I was also motivated to choose this show because of its reputation for having many diverse women who all experience their own relatable and real-world problems that I may be able to learn from. This show is about Piper Chapman, a public relations executive whose past with a drug dealer finally catches up with her and puts her in jail. The interactions she has with her previous life and other women in the jail shapes a story that I’m excited to discover.  

Orange is the New Black shows diverse women experiencing a diversity of problems.



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