These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Alex angry with Piper because Piper waffles and refuses to commit, or does she not approve of Piper's bisexuality and uses it against her? Both? On a larger scale, is Alex's relationship with Piper sincerely romantic and healthy, or are there some seriously abusive and toxic undertones? As of the second season, more fans are leaning towards the latter, though the fandom is mostly split on the issue.
Anvilicious: Definitely a case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, but the viewer got the "the prison system is broken and needs fixing, and convicts and ex-cons alike aren't treated fairly" message the first dozen times. By the time Alex gets a close-up when stating that "nobody cares about an ex-con," it's almost a redundant message.
Piper. Though she's the main character, it's hard to find people who cite her as their favorite character. Though it's generally agreed upon that she's not the most interesting member of the cast, the base-breaking is revolved around whether or not the story should even be about her. Word of God acknowledges that she's the only way the show could run, but at this point few seem to care about how her story plays out when there are more interesting characters whose backstories are often shortened so that her plotline can be advanced. This argument seems to have lessened in season two, where she's increasingly Out of Focus to spend time with other characters, and she's gotten less irritating.
Alex, as well. When it was announced that Alex would appear in almost all of season 3 after having only a few appearances in season two, many fans reacted very positively or very negatively. Fans of Alex enjoy the character's complexity or were fans of Laura Prepon from That '70s Show and enjoy the actress's chemistry with Taylor Schilling. Many dislike her for causing a large amount of the drama on the show and don't care for the main storyline with Piper in general.
Piper and Alex's relationship in general; one side believes it's one of the best romantic dynamics on the show, loves how it's been evolving, and can't wait to see how it changes into the third season. The other side couldn't care less about who Piper ends up with, believing that the love triangle with them and Larry was bland enough and their continued relationship is just dragging the whole affair on, and they just wish Piper would end up with someone so that the focus can go to the supporting characters' lives instead of her love life.
Black Cindy and Watson both became this when they Took a Level in Jerkass in season 2 with those who dislike them claiming they were too Easily Forgiven by Poussey and Taystee and their fans saying that Vee manipulating them and them realizing it provided a Freudian Excuse for their forgiveness.
Crosses the Line Twice: the show indulges in this trope from time to time, but a particularly notable example involves Sister Ingalls mentioning that she's masturbated while looking at a crucifix of Jesus that was "particularly ripped"
Draco in Leather Pants: While as not as bad as some of the other men, Bennett has done a lot of things wrong (like having sex with an inmate and not even wearing a condom being the biggest) but they get overlooked and he's considered the nicest guy by fandom because he's attractive.
Alex Vause as a female example. Though not evil, many of her fans gloss over her toxic qualities to paint her as Piper's soul mate.
In Season 1, Morello was one of the more beloved characters despite her relatively minor role, due to being generally sweet and adorable. Then Season 2 came out and she got A Day in the Limelight, with her backstory and plot arc considered one of the highlights of the season.
Rosa gained a lot of fans in Season 2 due to finding out more about her past, and how she's dealing with her cancer treatment. What really sealed the deal was Rosa's escape from prison, set to 'Don't Fear The Reaper', and the fact she managed to kill Vee along the way.
The guard O'Neill. Mostly due to his scene with the nuns in the Season 2 finale.
Fischer has plenty of people who like her since deep down she is a good person and is the nicest guard. Many fans were upset when she got fired and are hoping she will return.
Sophia was one of the most popular characters in the fandom as soon as her character debuted in the first season, with the fans rejoicing that she was a strong character without being a token or a throw-away "progressive" character. Despite this, she was Demoted to Extra in the second season, most likely in order to give more time to the Vee subplot.
Fandom Berserk Button: Some fans of the show get upset if you refer to Suzanne by her in-story nickname of "Crazy Eyes" because the character doesn't like the name.
Foe Yay: Alex and Piper had this before the two warmed up to each other when it just crossed into plain Les Yay.
Genius Bonus: In two scenes in "Bora Bora Bora", Suzanne can be heard quoting Shakespeare to a group of teenage delinquents in the "Scared Straight" program, soon after she complains about not getting to play any decent Shakespearean roles like "Ophelia or Desdemona". While most viewers can probably tell that she's quoting Shakespeare, considerably fewer people probably noticed that they're quotes from Coriolanus and Measure for Measure, two of the Bard's most obscure plays.
Harsher in Hindsight : An In-Universe example. Alex mouths off to Tricia while decorating, causing Tricia to uninvite her. Alex throws back the roll of paper she's using as streamers and says "I just got uninvited to the most depressing party in history. Now what am I gonna do to make me not want to kill myself?" Tricia later dies of a drug overdose, which Pornstache covers up by making it look like suicide.
Het Is Ew: There are some Die for Our Ship Piper/Alex fans who hate Larry, not for Larry's genuine flaws, but because they believe having the main pairing on the show be heterosexual is somehow homophobic.
It also says something when there's a portion of the fanbase who believes that Piper is a "bad bisexual" because she chose Larry, a man, rather than an unhealthy relationship with Alex, who's an attractive woman.
Hollywood Pudgy: Daya gets this treatment for being curvy, at least from her mom and the other women who are relatively model-thin. Ironically, this is what attracts Pornstache, since he thinks Daya actually has breasts and curves compared to her mom.
Hype Backlash: The show is an excellent character drama and garners a lot of praise, but some newcomers have scorned fans comparing it to shows like The Wire. This can lead to an underwhelmed, if not disappointed, reaction from said newcomers to the first couple of episodes, especially those thinking that the whole show is about the prisoners' lives and not the Alex-Piper-Larry love triangle (which many fans of the show didn't care about, to be fair). Unfortunately, those who express ambivalence or even dislike to the show are liable to getting ripped apart by some Fan Dumb members.
Jerkass Woobie: Most of the cast counts, given that they have committed crimes but have also led fairly harsh and disadvantaged lives. Several of the prison staff as well:
Also Caputo, who is a total asshole to everyone save for newbie officer Fischer, whom he has a blatant crush on. He then buys her flowers right before she introduces him to her boyfriend.
Alex when she tells Piper that the latter broke her heart—and then her speech about heroin being "the perfect girlfriend."
Despite turning his back on Piper when she could be getting stabbed to death, Healy comes across like this when more of his background is revealed. He hasn't got any real friends, and he looks genuinely heartbroken when he overhears Soso mentioning that none of the girls like him. Like Mendez, a lot of Healy's jerkassery appears to come from the fact he really is a very lonely person.
All of her corruption and callousness towards the prisoners aside, even Figueroa had this moment when it was revealed that her husband is gay and is having an affair with his male campaign manager. It is also implied that when she had originally started her job, she was idealistic and optimistic like Caputo but the years of the prison system's corruption and incompetence that she faced eventually turned her into the cold-hearted bureaucrat that she is now.
Les Yay: Apart from all the actual lesbian liaisons, spoofed by Maritza and Flaca in season 2.
Memetic Mutation: On tumblr, taking screencaps of female prisoners from other shows, mostly cartoons, and purposefully confusing them with this show.
Also on Tumblr, praising the complexity of the characters and asserting that every character becomes at least somewhat sympathetic when their backstory is viewed. ...Except Vee. Fuck Vee.
After Vee's "you're a rose and that bitch is a weed" speech to Suzanne, some members of the fandom took it as an "inspirational message" and adopted it as a personal motto, some even sending it up as a highlight of Vee's positive qualities, not realizing (or caring) that that quote is the start of Vee's manipulation of Suzanne. It wasn't even an empowering quote in context, as Vee was using it to exacerbate the racial divisions within the prison and take Suzanne away from someone legitimately wanting to be her friend (Piper).
Alex Vause seems to have a sizable fandom, with fans often citing her as "better" for Piper than Larry and often shipping her with Piper. This is despite the fact that she is a complete sociopath without any remorse for any of her crimes and cheating her into going back to prison while getting an early release for herself in season 2. In a way, Jenji Kohan brought this on herself by having Piper hook up with her repeatedly in jail, but even then, the show seems to not shy away from how toxic their relationship is.
While most of the show's fanbase mostly feels sorry for Morello's clear mental illness and don't condone her crimes, there is a decently sized (and vocal) portion of viewers that still seems to have thought of Morello as a complete Woobie, the reasoning usually being that she's 'cute.'
Sofia, to a certain extent. While she's one of the most nuanced transgender characters that you're likely to see in contemporary pop culture, and definitely one of the most good-natured prisoners at Litchfield, some of the fans seem to forget that her means of seeking gender reassignment therapy aren't exactly presented in a 100% sympathetic light. She's in Litchfield because she resorted to stealing credit cards to pay for hormones, which left her wife to raise their child alone after she was busted and imprisoned.
Paranoia Fuel: Have you been the victim of stalking? Death threats? A car bomb? Don't worry, your stalker is in prisoner, and she won't be coming near you for a long time. Unless of course she drives the prison van to your house, breaks in, runs a bath and tries on your fiancee's wedding veil while you're not home.
Rewatch Bonus: Remember when Suzanne explains to Piper that she has a system with the guards to tell them that she's got everything under control? How she gestures to her eyes to show that she's okay and doesn't need to be put into psych? Watch when Suzanne throws her pie at Alex, she makes that exact same gesture to the guard on duty, several episodes before she explains this tic to Piper.
Romantic Plot Tumor: The Alex-Piper-Larry love triangle (or anything regarding Piper's love life) is often accused of taking up so much time that it swallows up time that could be devoted to what the fans prefer seeing, such as prisoners' backstories and the Vee plotline, or even development in Piper's character that doesn't revolve around her deciding who she wants to be with.
Ron the Death Eater: As mentioned already, Larry. The guy certainly has his Jerkass moments, but if you never watched the show and headed into watching it with most of the fans vision of him, you would be surprised to see that he isn't as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
The Scrappy: Larry is this to incredibly memetic levels, despite Jason Biggs doing a rather good acting job. The reasons for the dislike seems to be both how boring and disconnected from the prison his scenes can be, how he begins to act like a complete Jerk Ass to Piper, and keeping Alex and Piper apart (for fans that prefer that couple).
Even though Litchfield is a playground compared to maximum-security prison (and this is without even including men's prisons, which are a nightmare), the show is clear that the prison system in general needs to be reformed. However, it's also clear that there's no easy answers to the problem; bureaucracy can put a damper on any attempted reforms, well-meaning staff can't fix the problems they see, the public essentially doesn't care about prisoners, and even if reforms were put in place, it's hard to balance rights with the punishment that prisoners are there for.
Some of the show's message on the validity of different gender and sexual identities, and of different viewpoints in general, can be rather heavy-handed at times, but the fact that these are still issues after so many years means you can only be so subtle.
Another fairly clear one comes out with quite a few of these: prison is no substitute for mental healthcare. Besides the obvious (see: Suzanne), Morello and Nicky are clearly more in need of psychiatric care than punishment, and quite a few others have more or less obvious psychological problems that simply go unaddressed.
The scenes of raw sewage bubbling out of the Spanish Harlem showers.
In a flashback, Alex's ex-girlfriend Sylvia sends a "message" to Piper: a burning bag, revealed to be a turd when Piper stomps on it to put it out. Piper later enlists new sister-in-law Neri to send the same "message" to Polly after Piper finds out about Polly's affair with Larry.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: After spending the latter half of the first season building Pensatucky up as an antagonist to Piper, and ending with Piper mercilessly beating her, there is absolutely no hostile interaction between them in the second season, with their plots being completely separate.
Vanilla Protagonist: Piper for many fans, as her background story is significantly less interesting than those of many of the other inmates. In Season 2, she became more and more Out of Focus as the season's main ongoing plot arcs shifted to the supporting characters (Red and Vee's rivalry, Daya's pregnancy, Soso's hunger strike, etc).
What an Idiot: Piper. Quite often, actually. Some of her reactions are understandable and at the same time very cringing.
Christopher visiting Morello in prison and making a loud, audible threat to kill her if she comes near him or her family again. Sure, she has been stalking him, but there was a guard within earshot to HEAR that threat.
Soso's complete ignorance on how life in prison works is mind-boggling. While a period of acclimization is understandable, it takes her the entire season to realize that that prison is not daycamp, the people aren't there to make friends, and the rules aren't intended to make her comfortable.