High School English with a Twist

The musings of Susan E dot Cohen

Month: September, 2013

The Internal Piper Chapman

Netflix’s new hit, “Orange Is The New Black,” is all about actions and consequences. Piper and her fellow prisoners have thoughts and action that exist in the world and for the purposes of the show, have been encapsulated within the characters and magnified by the prison setting. The show forces us, the viewers, to place ourselves in all of the prisoners shoes and consider what we would do. Yes, it definitely portrays prison as humorous, but the humor is designed to draw us in. Through this humor, we get transported into prison, attached to the prisoners and their problems, and then once this connection has been established, we have the opportunity to examine what it means to be human and what truly is important.

Within all of us is a Piper Chapman. Maybe that’s why I related to her and did not judge her throughout the first season. As people, we know what we can do to avoid situations and then like Piper, we just walk into them. We act without thinking, make the wrong choices, and although we do not have to worry about a Red not feeding us, we too face the consequences.

The question the season finale left us with is what happens next. In that final scene, Piper certainly could not charm her way out of the situation and made a choice that was starkly different from her other prison choices. What exactly that means is not yet clear, but it certainly gave all of us something to think about as we wait for the next season.

The Reality Show Apology

I have thought about this often and with Yom Kippur a few hours away, the timing is ideal to discuss apologies. Specifically, how apologies are handled on the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. Before I go any further, I know you are questioning what do a group of women from across the country employed by Bravo have to do with the need to seek forgiveness for Yom Kippur? Just give me a paragraph or two to demonstrate my thinking.

The Housewives series is big on honesty and apologizing. Now, I am well aware that the series has come along way and with time has become a bit more scripted, a bit more aggressive, and a bit (possibly extremely) vindictive. However, even with these changes and the the franchise’s general ridiculousness, it has women being honest, talking it out, owning up to their actions and behaviors, apologizing to each other, and at times – depending on the season – moving past their issues and becoming friends (or friends again). Again, I am aware that the producers often make decisions and apologies can be fake, but the idea here is to apply the notions of honesty, discussion, ownership, apologizing, and moving forward beyond the screen.

The Housewives’ abilities to not just be honest, own up to their actions, apologize and move forward, but do so at times very calmly and maturely, is admirable. Again, I know this is a reality show and they may rehearse, but the principles on the show are something that I know I can benefit from. I have left situations saying if only this is the Real Housewives and we could meet the next day and all can be cleared up. Although not every “let’s get together” on the Real Housewives ends well, it still shows people being honest and trying and that is the goal regardless of the outcome.

Even if the apologies are for ratings, I have learned from watching these women make amends and do better. Real or not, I have learned how I want to proceed going forward. I will not have time to ask everyone for forgiveness before this evening, but I am going to take the Real Housewives toolkit and apply it tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that.

For this Bravo, I thank you.