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The Realism of Prison Fantasy in “Orange is the New Black”



Inmate Review – Orange is the New Black

We have discussed, the realism of prison life on the hit show, “Orange is the New Black.” The second season’s first episode revealed again  realistic conditions of prison life– the viewers watched the main character, Piper, awakened during the night for an eventful transfer to another prison. In the fourth episode, “A Whole Other Hole,”another inmate, Morello, tried to accept that her fiance was marrying another woman. Throughout almost all of the previous  episodes, Morello, had repeatedly told the other inmates about her wonderful fiance and her future wedding. In this episode, we learned through intriguing flashbacks, that Morello only had one coffee date with her “Fiance” and that he had filed a restraining order against her for stalking him. Nevertheless, in Morello’s mind, she continued with her fantasy in prison.

Let us compare Morello’s fantasy with real prison life. During my time in state prison, it was obvious that inmates had all types of coping methods for the harsh reality of prison life. One cell mate talked every day about his girlfriend. He constantly asked me for relationship advice. He was concerned that another inmate in a former prison wanted her for his girlfriend. I listened, but tried not to give any advice. After four weeks of this constant discussion of her and his plans for their marriage and future life together, I asked him a simple question, “How did you meet?”

He responded, “We never met.”

He had never met her outside of prison and she had never visited him. He had talked to her, when her girlfriend was on the telephone with another inmate.

“Orange is the New Black” has continued to show the realistic conditions of prison life while dramatizing the show.

By Bradley Schwartz
Founder of