Orange Is The New Black: Orange Black or Bleak: S1 E11 “Tall Men With Feelings” (Netflix)

Orange is the New Black: Orange Black or Bleak: S1 E1 “Tall Men With Feelings” 

As a formerly incarcerated person, I have decided to do a deep-dive into OITNB to help explain things that folks watching the show without a felony background might not catch or have the context to understand.

Oh, and Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates Easter and a happy holiday weekend to anyone who doesn't! 

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

5 Things About Season 1 Episode 11 "Tall Men With Feelings"


Tall Men With Feelings is About:

* Tiffany Doggett(Taryn Manning) and her brutal time in Psych

* Piper Chapman's (Taylor Schilling) realization slow realization that she is not the nicest person in the world

* Red's "family" celebration of the passing of Trish (Madeline Brewer)

* A bizarre scheme, cooked up by Red (Kate Mulgrew), to get Mendez back for killing Trish by having Daya (Dascha Polanco) have sex with CO Mendez (Pablo Schreiber) and then turn him in for raping her (I said it was bizarre).

* Larry (Jason Biggs) finally does his NPR radio interview, using the opportunity to expose many of the stories Piper has told him about the women in prison in the most brutal way possible.

Oh, and "Tall Man With Feelings" refers to Mendez who tells Bennett (Matt McGorry) that he wishes the women prisoners would occasionally "ask him about his day" because "he has feelings too" (a fact Daya uses to set him up later). This whole subplot is just gross to me btw.

5. Piper Really is Kind of an A-Hole

I usually just add commentary about differences between the show and real prison life or try to make a grand point about criminal justice reform or about prison reform but this time I have to speak up....Piper really is kind of an A-Hole.

Originally I was kind of on Piper's side with the whole Alex (Laura Prepon) and narcotics trafficking thing. But in flashback we see yet again that while Piper absolutely loves the lifestyle Alex's drug dealing provides for them, she is unwilling to help Alex out to maintain it. She actually decided to dump Alex because she had the temerity to ask her to make a drug mule run for her.

Later, in another flashback, we find out that when Alex finds out that her Mother died, Piper chooses to leave anyway as scheduled and won't even delay her departure to attend the funeral with Alex (Apparently, Piper knew Alex's Mom which IMHO makes it even worse).

And then there is the cheating on Larry (who is also a real piece of work) without telling him so that she can continue to get all of the benefits of having a "fiance" on the outside without any of the commitment or cost that would make the arrangement meaningful. She is basically using Larry just like she used Alex and just like she uses whoever cares about her.

Of course, there is also all of the awful things that she shared with Larry and which he shares on a national radio program that he knows everyone at Litchfield can listen to. It was a monumentally "dick move" by Larry, but Piper did tell him all of those stories and talk about the rest of the inmates to him in horrible ways. When she needs them, she is friendly and even caring, but in saying all of those things she exposed how shallow that caring really was.

I really felt terrible for Suzanne (Uzo Adoba) and for Miss Claudette (Michelle Hurst) who opened up to Piper and took her into their hearts in different ways. Just a brutal betrayal by Piper. Someone might say that those stories were from when Piper first moved in, but it sure sounded like they were ongoing discussions. 


Piper, for a few seconds, even tries to blame Doggett being put in psych on Alex, which is total bs (yes, Alex came up with the gaslighting plan but she didn't sick Doggett on the girl in the wheelchair (Piper did that).

On the good side, Piper does go to Caputo and confess to setting Doggett up. Taking responsibility is good for the soul.

4. "Psych is Worse Than SHU"

I remember being asked "are you depressed" right after I was arrested. 

What a stupid question. Of course, everyone is depressed when they walk in jail or prisons, but if you admit it, you go directly to psych, do not pass GO and do not collect $200.

Yes, they do put you in an observation cell. Sometimes they look like the one Doggett is in and where I was they put you in a plexiglass cell (literally a cube of plexiglass, like that cell they put Magneto in during X-Men).

Yes, they drug you to the gills and just leave you in a room to rot. As I have mentioned before I I met people who were drugged and left locked in solitary for over a year. 

As Suzanne put it, "It's real bad...I wouldn't wish it on the worst criminal."

So, so, so, immoral and disgusting. A civilization should be judged by how it treats the lowest among its citizens and we are treating the mentally ill terribly.

When Suzanne asks Piper, "Why does everyone call me Crazy Eyes," it is heartbreaking, but there are tens of thousands of people just like Suzanne right now at this very moment locked up in our jails and prisons today.

This cannot be who we are. This cannot be the society we want. Ignoring this exposes how cruel our society really is. We should be fighting for the Suzanne's, for those who cannot help themselves and deserve better.

 If I accomplish only one thing with this series, I hope it is to raise awareness of the treatment of the mentally ill in America's prisons and jails.

3. "Crossword Criminals"

Look, I know next to nothing about sexual relationships between CO's and inmates, but I have a really hard time believing that it would be as simple as walking into a mop closet and getting it on.

There are cameras all over prisons. 

I really hate this storyline, so maybe it is coloring my feelings, but it just seems highly unlikely to me. So does when Mendez just walks into the kitchen and leaves with boxes. There are cameras in the kitchens and what the F is a CO doing carrying food boxes out of the kitchen? 

The whole thing just doesn't work for me. Doesn't feel legit or true to form. 

I totally believe that Mendez is self-absorbed enough to feel slighted that the women he harasses, extorts, and tortured on a daily basis don't ever "ask how is day is." But, he does all of this stuff way too out in the open.

Way too out in the open, prisons have cameras.

Plus, what the heck is Red doing, I know she wants revenge on Mendez for Trish but now she is using the same kind of manipulation that got Trish in trouble in the first place. 

2. "Come, Be My  Little Spoon"

Okay, fine, that was just an excuse to include one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of 2016 (this is a music and television blog). 

I do kind of wonder at why Alex still likes Piper so much given that Piper wouldn't even accompany her to the funeral of her mother.

1. What Was Larry thinking? 

Yes, I get it, Larry is mad because Piper is sleeping with Alex. 

I also get that Larry is a privileged, self-absorbed jerk who is getting off on his fiance's incarceration.

But, sharing stories he was told in confidence about prisoners on a national radio show (when he had to know people in prison have radios), is just crazy. He could literally get Piper killed.

He surely can't be that much of an idiot.

And, as if that were not bad enough, Larry doesn't just let the whole prison know all of the things that Piper told him he also tells Piper that Alex sold her out.

My first reaction was, "Dude, just break up with her"

But then I realized that he doesn't want to break up with her (because Piper in prison has become his meal ticket). His whole career is now based on being with Piper.

So, instead of just breaking up with Piper for cheating on him all he had left was cruelty. Lots and lots of cruelty. 

Unlocking The Gates


I am a member of a Criminal Justice Reform organization called Nation Outside (The Voice of the Formerly Incarcerated) but I am not speaking for Nation Outside in any official capacity.

If you are interested in criminal justice reform or are formerly incarcerated yourself, please consider joining the fight (if you are a Michigan resident - you can sign up by clicking on the hyperlink above). 

Today's Comment Question is:

"Who deserves more blame, Alex, Piper, or Larry? And why?" 

Leave a comment, let people know.  Or, if you have questions, I respond to 100% of my comments! 

Today's book is Maria Gottschalk's book "Caught."