Tagged: Orange is the New Black

Untied

It has been brought, quite abruptly, to my attention that I indeed have a type. Me, this self proclaimed and outwardly noticeably, uniquely diverse in taste, person. My taste for telly is distinct yet spans across all genres, not unlike my taste for humans. Let’s play a game of connect the dots shall we:

  • American Horror Story
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • The Golden Girls
  • Masters of Sex
  • Wentworth
  • Black Sails
  • Breaking Bad
  • Penny Dreadful
  • Sex and the City
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Shameless
  • The Good Wife
  • The Affair
  • Grace & Frankie
  • Younger
  • Will & Grace
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Empire
  • LOST
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Bloodline
  • Roseanne
  • Togetherness
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Wonder Years
  • ER
  • Girls
  • Weeds
  • Nip/Tuck
  • The Sopranos
  • Friends

Now, what do all of these shows have in common besides being some of my favorites? Some are dramas, some are sitcoms, some are comedies, some are old, others new, some are network, some are cable and some are streaming. It’s really simple actually:

Ohana

famiglia f (plural famiglie)

  1. family
  2. household

malocchio

Italian slang for ‘the evil eye.’ Basically it has similar meaning to the stink eye, but is scarier because it is given by little Italian women who damn you for eternity for doing them harm, doing their family harm, or going against their will.

Rent SynopsisFade to a high school performing arts auditorium circa 1998-2002, where one would find a gaggle of drama geeks belting their hearts out:

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life
How about love?
Seasons of Love
Of course they were supposed to be in class somewhere, but that auditorium was home and those geeks were my family. Through bullying, loss, life, love, hope and dreams, we stayed family and I am still in contact with almost all of those Rentheads who made me thrive on theater. “Rent” was one of our favorite pieces to meddle with. The meaning behind every lyric Jonathan Larson wrote, the way in which Jonathan suddenly died before ever seeing his creation come to full term and the way it hit every nerve connected to our heartstrings, make “Rent” a very special piece to me, one which has carried it’s meaning over into my full blown adult hood, without an auditorium.


The themes of “Rent” are constants in my taste for entertainment, both on and off screen and behind the camera. I’ll examine some of my telly habits as examples, as someone pointed out that they all have strong themes of family and the meaning of family. “American Horror Story” is one of my favs of all time, and the themes of family that Ryan Murphy explores are brilliantly woven into each season whilst still maintaining the complexity of suspenseful telly:
  • Murder House: All about family and the consequences of infidelity. Constance had a deeply disturbed connection with her children, but they meant the world to her. Heartbreaking to witness when Addie is struck and killed by a vehicle and Constance fails to get her body on the property in time to ensure she would still see her.
  • Asylum: Kit constantly fought for his family, the patients had to become a family to survive and take care of each other, even Jude became Kit’s family in her downfall, he went back for her and she helped raise his children.
  • Coven: The coven is family, the coven will fight like hell for that family. The complex relationships between mothers and daughters, as masterfully portrayed in Cordelia and Fiona.
  • Freak Show: Freaks band together, kill together, to protect their home and family. The relationship between father and son is explored with Lobster Boy and the Strong Man. Pepper returns and we learn of her family abandonment issues. She becomes maternal with Ma Petite and even attempts to start her own family with Salty, despite their disabilities.
  • Hotel: All about family, the one that lost a child and their marriage is suffering, the mother who lost a child to drugs, the mother of vamps and then the family that was built between folks such as The Countess and Liz Taylor. Trapped in a Hotel, you can either build a family with those trapped with you, or…
  • My Roanoke Nightmare: A mother’s child is kidnapped, her brother is involved. The actors on a reality show, as dysfunctional as it may be, are family, bonded.
Besides all of the themes Ryan Patrick Murphy executes, the concept of a pool of actors returning each season to tell a different tale speaks to the idea of a close knit family, bonded by their experiences, and that bleeds through to all of his iterations, from “Scream Queens” to “American Crime Story.”


Einstein Family
I will not go through the list of all of my favorite shows, but the common thread is the fight for family and the building of families that are not necessarily related. “Sons of Anarchy” for instance, Gemma was, how to say, hell bent on protecting her family. The club was a family and that family meant everything and was worth killing for. Loyalty meant everything to SAMCRO. Will, Grace, Jack and Karen were a family through and through. “Friends” should have been called “Family.” Frankie and Grace are family through mutual betrayal. “Wentworth” and “Orange is the New Black” are very different shows about female prisons, but it is natural in a prison environment both fictional and factual, that bonds are made and loyalty to that family are of utmost importance, just ask Tony Soprano about loyalty.
As a black sheep, outsider, freak and overall lost soul, the concept of building family through experience is something I’ve always been enamored with. My blood family is tight, we are close but as an adult finding her own way, I’ve long since sought out my adult family. My roots remain but in the process of growth and experiencing as much of this world as possible before I leave it, I am not a foreigner to being free to have other families. My theater years afforded me many families of that era. Theater families are so special and yet so short lived.


It is increasingly difficult as I get older to build families because through the years the innocent trust we are all born with decays and the true irony is that the moments where you find yourself fresh out of trust and feel alone, are the moments when you need a family the most. The epiphany that writing this has manifested, is that creativity and art are the core of my families. When I find a family I can express my creativity in I become the girl in the plastic bubble and nothing else matters. My loyalty shines through regardless of what brought me and my families together. La Vie Boheme. When the bonds break within one of my artistic families however, that is the single most painful thing I can and have experienced. Those situations leave me the rawest, the most broken and they steal any sort of faith I have left in my reservoir.
Weeds 3
Perhaps my part in all of it, is that I assume the word “family” means to everyone out in the world what it means to me. Maybe I trust my pseudo families to the extent that I refuse to believe they don’t possess my vision of what loyalty should look like. For me, it truly is in the midnights and cups of coffee I share with people. It is certainly in the inches and miles I would travel for family and the inches and miles in which I grow from absorbing the ideals of others to better understand my own ideals. Not necessarily in the strife of everyday life in this fucked up world we find ourselves, but MOST importantly, it is in the laughter I share with other beings, without which, myself and a lot of them would cease to live.

What family represents for me:

No Day But Today

Jonathan Larson said it best:

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn

There is no future
There is no past
I live each moment as my last

There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret– or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today

There’s only yes
Only tonight
We must let go
To know what is right
No other course
No other way
No day but today

I can’t control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only hope
is just to be

There’s only now
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear it
No other path
No other way
No day but today

Italian Miss You

Note: Someone said some words to me today that really stuck, “Family will never be the ones asking you to leave. They are always the ones hoping you’ll stay.”

Today also happens to be my late grandfather’s birthday. Speaking strictly biologically, what with DNA and everything, not unlike Forrest and Bubba, we were of no relation. My grandpa did not ever tell me what family is, was or should be. He showed me, every single day what that word meant to him and I carry THAT with me in everything I am. His heart.

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Twitterview @nlyonne Questions

Hey folks, so here are all 30 days of questions for Natasha Lyonne for my July 2014 Twitterview. If I used your question, DM me, I have presents.

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1. Are there any movies you have seen where you think, damn I wish I had been in that, or played a particular role?

2. What is your favorite SNL skit of all time?

3. When was the last time you hand wrote a letter to somebody?

4. Aside from people you work with, who is the last person that made you legitimately proud?

5. Rats, cockroaches, bedbugs: You have to be locked in a room with one for an hour, which do you choose?

6. Happy 4th! I’ve never been to NYC, what’s one place you would take me to that only a native would know about?

7. Will you say something to me in Aramaic?

8. So uh, what’s the fuckin scoop on Time Warner?

9. Can you tell me the filthiest joke you know?

10. It annoys me, peeps seem to only focus on drugs w u (in interviews) sum it all up in one sentence as though you will never be asked again?

11. #AskOrange Will you sign my fuck book? You too @realleadelaria #BaeWatch

12. Now that you are an Emmy nominated actress, lets get to the meat, what would your DJ name be?

13. What’s the next door you’d like to see OITNB open? What dialogue do you feel is next to be discussed by us masses?

14. Where’s the funniest place you have ever fallen asleep?

15. Do you feel you’re completely cognizant of the impact you have had on the LGBT community throughout your career?

16. Are you a road trip kind of gal?

17. “Artists to my mind are the real architects of change…” How have you, or have you, seen yourself manifest this? (William S. Burroughs)

18. When you were changing Rootbeer’s name to Columbae, did that have anything to do with Mrs. Columbo? (@totallykate)

19. Do you remember your dreams when you wake up, and if so, how quickly do they fade from you?

20. Did you have any type of emotional reaction when Michael Alig was released on parole? Significant thoughts? #ClubKid

21. “Growth…depends on being always in motion just a little bit, one way or another.” How do you feel you are in motion? (Norman Mailer)

22. We use humor to deflect anything of our choosing but I find with age I’m less guarded, is your experience different?

23. What’s the best autocorrect fail you have seen or done?

24. Emulating Cassavetes or marinating on Natasha?

25. Have you ever tasted green chili from New Mexico?

26. If Nicky was on death row, what would her last meal be? What about yours?

27. Best gag gift you have received?

28. Favorite vacation spot and what makes a great vacation, the fun stuff or the self reflection?

29. Do you enjoy Costco?

30. Do you have your answers ready for the Bernard Pivot questionnaire James Lipton will ask you one day?

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I think it is clear, based on the questions I ask, I’d make a hell of a personal assistant to Ms. Keach….wink wink nudge nudge 🙂 I would proudly stand at her door step shouting, “Ms. Lyonne is issuing no treats this year.” Even if it’s not Halloween.

Now taking requests for the next victim of my next Twitterview, in September.

#OITNB Please Share

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We all have our favorite shows, we all have at one point thought how
cool it would be to actually be on one of our favorite shows,  I can’t
tell you how it pains me so that I will never be on ER, Will and
Grace, or LOST. And then it occurred to me, there actually is a
current show, right now, that would actually be a plausibility, and
then my gears wound up devising a plan. I am sad to report I have no
real plan but it is my mission to get on Orange Is The New Black.

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I got to thinking, why does this show seem so reachable? There are
many reasons, but I think to simplify it, it’s because its a prison
show with potential to be on air, or streaming for quite some time in
the future. It has long term potential because prisons by nature are a
revolving door of people. People come people go, there are constants
but many variables which in writing terms is a dream. And listen,
nobody is glammed up or dressed extravagantly. Now Im not saying the
cast isn’t full of beautiful women but come on, they look like people.
They don’t look like hollywood, they look like people we all know.
Right there boom, that’s my “in” as it were. I look like people. I am
not a beautiful girl, I’m not drop dead gorgeous. But that’s what the
show does so well, it’s not about made up beautiful people, and that
leaves just these women’s personalities and acting chops. This, I’m
telling you, this is where I belong.

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I remember seeing a comedy special by Monique, years ago, it was
called “I Coulda Been Your Cellmate.” It sounds crazy as hell, but
that special really made me look at prison and jail in a different
light. The undertone was simple, we are all one decision away from
being somebody’s cell mate. And then the special went a bit further,
Monique asked the crowd if anybody had a talent or could sing. The
women all started shouting and pointing at one person, It was bizarre
to me that these women were behaving like me and my friends, it hit
me, they were people like me and my friends. The woman got up and
started singing, and I tell you, she had an angelic voice. And Monique
told her she didn’t know what she did to get in there, but she better
get out and never look back. I always remembered that, and OITNB
reinforces how my opinion broadened with knowledge.

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I think we are all jaded when it comes to our idea of what prison is.
I think we imagine the murderers and rapists and our hearts are cold.
But I think everyone has a story and everyone arrived at that
destination differently. I don’t think the show glorifies the
criminal, it acknowledges that as a consequence to our actions we
sometimes have to serve time. It does however, humanize the criminal.
There is more to it that death row inmates, serial killers, child
molesters and things of that nature, things are in our predisposition
to think about prisons. Now, not to get too serious, there are in fact
some stereotypes and things that creator Jenji Kohan and her array of
actresses have some fun with. Lesbian shower sex, the sneaking of
contraband into the prison, and the notion that COs are for the most
part dicks. With the unique brand of humor comes more humanizing
qualities. I heart Jenji, from Weeds to now, I think she is brilliant.

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So that is in a nutshell why I could totally pull off a role on OITNB.
I have a unique sense of humor with a not so hollywood bombshell
exterior that I believe would mesh well with the entire cast. Listen,
to be blunt, I’ll do whatever they ask of me, as long as there will be
no repeats involving hardware tools. This show is a platform for
people who might not otherwise be known, MIXED with some of my
favorites who are well known. Natasha Lyonne, as I live and breath is
one of the most interesting unique people in show biz, Laura Prepon is
phenomenal, Danielle Brooks is hysterical and yet relatable, we all
have a Taystee in our group and we love her, I mean the list goes on
and on. Patty fucking Mayonnaise is on the show, enough said. Kate
Mulgrew, what? And what discussion of OITNB would be complete without
Taryn Manning, oh my Tucky girl. Laverne Cox has some balls to be
doing what she’s doing I gotta say. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be
a part of this???

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SO how am I going to convince Jenji and her team to at least give me
an audition? I haven’t a clue, but I decided to utilize my social
media sites as a jumping off point. Ive seen people spreading videos
of themselves or messages they have to celebrities by engaging their
social sites and their circle among those sites to retweet, reblog,
and share their links or videos or message. Why can’t I start by doing
that? Anybody who knows me knows that I have made up my mind, I am
going for it and I will find a way. And more importantly they know
what a good fit this would be, like a glove. They know I have a
character in me that would do a number of things to make it on the
show, why she’d sleep with Alex, talk politics with Piper, dance with
Taystee, talk shit with Poussey, pick up chicks with Boo, shower with
Nicky, catch a chicken for  Red, smoke a joint with Yoga Jones,
comfort Morello, clean the bathroom with Suzanne, help Daya with baby
names, and she’d even tolerate Pornstache. Any and all of those
things. So what do you guys think? Should I tweet once a day, should I
contain everything on my blog, should I post videos, what do you guys
think would be the best, most effective way of getting Jenji’s
attention? Let me know, and thank you in advance, this is going to be
a group effort and I am grateful.

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