Until ... the final pages of the memoir when Kerman is transferred to a Chicago prison before testifying at a trial involving one of the men involved in the cartel just before her release. The conditions are so dire, the women in prison so damaged or mentally ill, the situation so pitiful, that we begin to see the rage and despair that one would expect in these circumstances.
The comedy is understandably heightened in the series: Mom is a bit of a prissy blonde ice queen; the Jewish in-laws conform to type; the brother is a goofy slacker who lives in a trailer. The guards fall into predictable categories too - the sexually exploitative Mendez with the pornstache; the hunky but honorable Bennett who impregnates one of the young Hispanic girls; the career climbing senior warden official; the older counselor who is secretly in love with Piper and turns against her when his affection is unrequited.
Prison is quite literally a ghetto... a place where the U.S. government now puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient - people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled. Meanwhile the ghetto in the outside world is a prison as well, and a much more difficult one to escape from than this correctional compound. In fact, there is basically a revolving door between our urban and rural ghettos and the formal ghetto of our prison system.
|Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) makes a new friend|