Jenji Kohan Hit Television Shows

Weeds aired for eight seasons via Showtime. I watched them all via Netflix. From the title alone you can guess that the show is going to be risque. Any show can have drama, but can the director/creator give it an edge? I think that the show’s creator Jenji Kohan did just that with this show.

Every disturbing or controversial topic you can think of was in this show. A recently windowed mother turns to the business of drugs to maintain a family of two boys. One of these boys has an attitude issue, but it’s all right because it makes for shocking television viewing. Also, during the course of the show the boys’ uncle gets into making porno movies and running a store that sells bicycle accessories that he himself invented. Furthermore, there aren’t just drug battles within the state, but also across the border. Jenji Kohan ingeniously finds ways to make the story exciting while still showing how dangerous the whole gig of drug manufacturing and selling is. When you get right down to it, it’s good entertainment.

If you or I were to meet any of these characters in real life, we would run away or, perhaps, be intrigued for the first few hang outs. It’s sort of like going on a date with someone who seems to be exciting, but they are merely crazy.

People who live mundane lives love a good fictional story. Sometimes the people we find entertaining in our lives wouldn’t be so to millions of viewers who show creators are hoping to get. So it’s no surprise to me that Orange Is The New Black seems like a story with a few exaggerated characters. It seems to me that this is done because the real story might not be as well-received a few crazy female prisoners here and there.

Piper Kerman is a real woman who wrote a memoir about her own experiences in prison. I haven’t read the book, so all my theories are just theories. I have never been to prison, so I don’t know just how crazy the women were whom Piper Kerman interacted with.

Crazy Eyes is one of the characters I think is more exaggerated even though the actress who plays the character does an excellent job. I don’t like Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom, but that’s probably because I never liked any of the characters Jason Biggs has done that I’ve seen.

The only two things I want to find out at the end of this story is if Alex Vause really betrayed¬†Piper Kerman and if they end up back together in the end. It seems to me that Alex is genuinely sorry that she and her ex-girlfriend were both sent to prison (the same prison no less). I just want to know if it’s all a ploy to lure Piper into a love/drug business trap.

It’s also humorous to me that Nicky Nichols keeps taunting Piper to come “out” as a lesbian while she is there in prison. It’s almost as if the show is foreshadowing the ending, but I can’t really know. It could just be a tease, plain and simple.

I have only watched three episodes so far. I wanted to write down my thoughts on the two shows and make a prediction (and hopes) on Piper and Alex getting back together ¬†at the end of the series. It’s hard to know because there is a curve ball in the mix. Larry Bloom is married to Piper Chapman. That’s pretty official. It makes it seem that much more difficult to have an ending where Piper and Alex end up together.

Human Nature, Social Standards

The World

Today I heard someone refer to “the world” when they were talking about something they didn’t agree with. It’s a kind of reference that I hear many religious people use when talking about people who do things “against the Bible” depending on what translation you follow. Using “the world” in that way isn’t just used with religious people. It can used by anyone who doesn’t agree with something.

Everyone has had their own way of being raised. Even the upbringing of my older sister and younger brother is very different from each other as well as different from my own. People are unique and some are more different than others. We all know how it feels to be different in at least one way if not more. So why is it that minority people are against people from other minorities? I don’t have the answer, but I would like to explore the possibilities.

The other day I read this quote by an author (sorry I can’t remember), it said that no matter what intellectual conversation was being had, there will always be someone who will dissagree. So why try to figure out why people who are different and know what it feels like be against someone else who is different. My theory is that most people really don’t like things that are different. Also, most people don’t like change. if something that has been around for thousands or more years has been working, why try to fix it? My answer to that, is that it may have been working for a group of people, but it wasn’t working for another group of people. There are so many instances in history where that was evident. Slavery worked out for the “masters” who owned them, but not the people enslaved. Marriage worked well for the people allowed to be married, but it did not work out for the people who couldn’t be married. In addition, teaching Deaf kids worked out well for the hearing people who didn’t want to give Deaf people their own language and avoid having to learn sign language work out for the instructors, but it didn’t work out for the Deaf kids who spent mass amounts of effort with one pronunciation alone. Even left-handers have to live in a right-handed world. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some left-handed doorknobs? Maybe some higher ceilings and archways for taller people?

If someone doesn’t like certain foods. They don’t eat them. If another girl doesn’t like pants, she will wear dresses. Once you start telling someone who lives differently from you that they can’t have the same thing you have or that they have to be treated differently because of it, that’s where inequalities happen. And that’s when people start to refer to things they don’t like as “the world”. Crime happens. That’s the way the world is. It doesn’t make it any less important.

Next time you’re talking with someone who brings up something they don’t like, listen to see if they refer to “the world”. You would be surprised at how many people use it. To me it is almost saying, “I give up,” or “I can’t change the way the world is”. Alcohol Anonymous even has a motto that says, “Let live and let God.” Can you imagine if we had that motto for everything from “I’m failing Math” or “My job sucks”. I don’t think anything would get done. We would just be stuck in the same ole place.

Here is a quote that I do have the author for. Just something to think about when you go out there in “the world”.

“When any prevailing prejudice is attacked, the wise will consider, and leave the narrow-minded to rail with thoughtless vehemence at innovation.” By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Human Nature, Social Standards

Fruitvale Station 2009

Five and a half years ago, my brother, our friend and I embarked on our first road trip together. We drove eight hours to San Francisco. We stayed at a friend’s apartment on the first floor. We chose this time in particular so we could be in the city for New Year’s Eve/Day.

My brother and our friend went out clubbing while my friend we were staying with and I went to Tank Hill. We took three cars to fit everyone in our group. We were all very close in those tiny cars, but we made it. Everything was all and well. We enjoyed our time together. It was a lot of fun.

Little did we know that eighteen miles away at the Fruitvale Station, some people were wrongfully taken off the Bart due to some fighting that went on while on the Bart. All I know about the event was what I saw in the Sundance Independent film “Fruitvale”. What I saw was some other guy started the fight. And this particular group of friends got the entire blame for it. And the rest of the story you just have to see for yourself.

My brother had the opportunity to work at Sundance in 2012 and this year. He said that the people whose lives the film is based off were there at the screening. They said that the film was accurate and “it was like reliving it all over again.” Which tells you a little about how well the independent film was made.

Today was the last day the film was showing in the theatre closest to me. You might be able to see the film in a theatre near you. See the film in theatres if you can. If it isn’t available in a theatre near you, watch it on dvd.

Michael B. Jordan, Melanie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer all did an outstanding performance on screen. Michael played the role of Oscar, the guy trying to make a living for his girlfriend and daughter. Melanie played the role of his girlfriend. Octavia played the role of Oscar’s mother. All really difficult roles to play, but all three achieved it.

There is a scene at the hospital where Oscar’s mom, keeps the boys waiting with her in check while maintaining positive vibes. The whole scene is tense. It takes a very strong woman to keep her head up until the verdict is known.

The actors who played the policemen involved also had a hard role to play. To play someone who is so despised for their part at Fruitvale Station, can be a lot to bare. You really hated them.

At the beginning and the end of the film, they played lived footage from the event. It really brought all the emotions home. As someone who was close-by, but did not experience the event like the real people who did, I feel emotionally connected to the incident. I cannot imagine how much emotional pain has taken place because of someone’s mistake. But I know that the family can get by each day a little easier knowing that their story is out there and people are watching it and joining their side.