I've recently discovered that we have the technology in my home that allows me to stream Netflix to my living room TV; a TV that sits directly in front of my recliner. This is a huge problem. When I first discovered DVR and Hulu, I learned there were shows like "Heroes," "Weeds," and "Damages," that I had somehow missed almost a decade ago while doing Algebra homework and finding 15 different ways to serve mac and cheese . But now, here they were and all I had to do was hit "next episode" and days could pass by while I devoured entire series. One year it was as if February never happened. So now with Netflix streaming away into my living room, despite my absolute refusal for years to watch any show set in a prison because they are terrifying, sad and demoralizing, I have become an "Orange is the New Black" junkie.
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The question is why? There is no doubt it is a prison show and there is no question that it is graphic, upsetting and demoralizing. So why do I hit "next episode" instead of "exit"? In the past few years, my kids have gone to college and moved out. I always understood that my relationships with them would change during that process, and I knew that once the last one left for college, the same would be true for my husband and me as we adjusted to being home without the kids. What I wasn't prepared for was how my relationships with my friends would change as well. What I've found is that for some of us, once the kids were gone and once we were no longer involved in our local school systems, there wasn't much left to share. It becomes harder to maintain the link that held us together. We still enjoy each other's company, but we aren't a fixture in each other's lives on a daily basis. We aren't on the same committees and the same field after school for lacrosse anymore. I don't wait with them each morning for the bus, and I don't see them each afternoon for the carpool. The daily phone calls to work out plans are no longer necessary and the connections between us become more fragile and, in some cases, simply break. We discover that perhaps what held us together and what provided the basis of our friendship disappeared when the kids did. I believe friendships are tricky things for women and I believe they are that way at any age. I think that's part of why I'm in my recliner for the women of "Orange." I am jealous of Piper, Alex, Taystee, Crazy Eyes, Miss Claudette, and yes, even insane Pennsatucky. Despite their differences, despite their "crazy" they are in it together. Even if "it" is a miserable, disgusting and deprivation filled life, they have each other. The bond is real and at times, heartwarming. "Orange" reminds me of the "Sex in the City" days when I looked forward to getting to feel like one of the girls as they made their way through their lives. My passion for that show had nothing to do with the sex and everything to do with getting to live vicariously as one of them. So maybe it's the same with Piper, Crazy Eyes and even Pennsatucky. I don't want to go to prison, but I envy their camaraderie.
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