Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Orange Is the New Black

Go To

As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • If you watch closely, it's actually Luschek the shop manager who gives Chapman the screwdriver at the beginning of day without giving her a chit. Even if Watson had written down all of the day's transactions, Chapman's screwdriver would still have gone missing.
  • The plot of "Thirsty Bird" is a direct reference to the prisoner's dilemma.
  • Advertisement:
  • Red's seemingly throwaway line in Season 1 about all the black girls being on heroin makes a lot more sense when it is revealed that Vee is smuggling heroin into the prison, and probably had been doing the same during her previous prison stay.
  • Morello helps Piper deal with the racial segregation by telling her to "pretend it's the fifties." Her accent, hairstyle, make-up, and general outlook on life (such as wanting to settle down and be a housewife) are old-fashioned. This is related to her interest in West Side Story, set in the 1950s/early 1960s and focusing on race relations.
  • Two instances from the same dialogue. When Red confronts Boo for being a snitch and suggests she should join Vee, Boo says that maybe she will and sarcastically remarks that this might make her a race traitor. When Red dismisses her for good, Boo only says "Boo has Boo". Within the same episode, Vee shoots down Boo too for being a snitch, thus Boo unexpectedly is on her own for real and Healy reveals to Pennsatucky that Boo's last name is Black, making the race traitor remark ironic in hindsight.
  • Advertisement:
  • Although Aleida is perceived by Daya to be selfish and uncaring for her children, in the scene where Daya has just come in to make her younger sister some food, Aleida tells Cesar that eating mac and cheese will make him look uncool. He then gives Daya $20 to "go get some real food". It's not a lot, but she is keeping her dirtbag boyfriend from literally taking food out of her children's mouths.
  • Early in season 3 when Caputo dons a track suit and it appears that he is going to train the new C.O.s in combat, this looks like a setup for an embarrassing joke on his part. However, he takes down a guard much larger than him with ease. This makes a lot more sense later on in the season when it is revealed that not only did Caputo start off as a guard in Litchfield, but that he used to wrestle as a kid.
  • Advertisement:
  • A flashback showing a young Big Boo seeing The Nothing After Death seems like a bit of a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. But this is to show her rationalization for a lot of her behavior. The reason why she lashes out and often seeks revenge towards people is because she believes that bad people will receive no divine punishment after death. She also likely doesn't believe she'll have to answer to the repercussions of her actions in the afterlife, which explains a lot of unethical behavior she willingly engages herself in throughout the series.
  • Another bit of flashback-based brilliance comes into effect earlier in the season, when Bennett leaves Litchfield, Daya, and his child with her behind and drives away from Daya's crib; his flashbacks took place during his time in the Army, and the final flashback featured a grenade attack in a tent Bennett was in with many other soldiers. Instead of making like one of his fellow soldiers and falling on the grenade to save everyone, Bennett dives to the ground and clutches a bag, only even daring to look back once. This, paired with realizing just how screwed up the people in Daya and Aleida's lives are, inform his decision at the end to walk away.
    • The scene where Bennett is told to kick the grenade away is set up to make us believe this could be how he truly lost his leg, and was lying about losing it in a hot tub incident. Instead, he ducks for cover, proving what was shown about his character throughout: by the end of the day, even when he has the perfect setup to be a hero, he's a coward. Maybe in another lifetime, he would've lost his leg doing the right thing.
  • During the Mother's Day Fair in season 3, Boo eases Pennsatucky's guilt about aborting her five babies by explaining what (statistically) miserable lives they would possibly have lived and how their horrible upbringing would have probably impacted society... while wearing a clown costume. While her costume is for the fair, the writers' decision to dress her so for that scene takes on greater symbolic and historical significance when one realizes William Shakespeare himself often wrote court jesters and clowns as the only sane men in a world gone crazy; deeply insightful and great tellers of truth masked behind humor. Even historically, court jesters were known for using brutal honesty as part of their humor, and were the only ones who could be honest in deadly decadent courts, and the only ones who could insult the king (or queen) without retribution. Whether or not one agrees with Boo regarding abortion, she does offer a much-needed alternate perspective to ease Pennsatucky's guilt and help her slip away from the religious mask she'd been hiding behind most of the series. Plus, Boo looked like the Angel of Death.
  • Red’s nickname makes sense on four levels: as a shorthand for her last name (Reznikov), as a reference to her red hair, and, since red is Spanish for ‘net’, a reference to her many connections (and possibly her hairnet, since she runs the kitchen). Red is also strongly associated with Communism and Communist Russia, where Red would have grown up.
  • Taystee tells Caputo that her trial feels like a game of charades. When the jury reads her verdict, the sound drops out just before they say the word "guilty," forcing the viewer to infer what is going on through body language rather than words, just like charades.

Fridge Horror

  • Knowing what we know about Lorna's actual relationship with Christopher makes one wonder if Nicky is entirely safe maintaining an on-again, off-again romance with her.
  • Related to the above, Lorna's relationship with Vince. It seems that she has nothing but love for him, but she appeared to feel the same way for Christopher before. And she has already tricked Vince into beating up an innocent man. And her flashback juxtaposed with their wedding scene clearly shows how Lorna cares more for the prettiness associated with things than for their essence; which had been also hinted before in her view of marriage. Looks like Vince is in for a fun ride.
  • After the revelation of Vee's true nature, it becomes clear that she was only at the adoption fair to recruit vulnerable orphans for her drug empire.
  • Alex's threat to 'fuck' Pennsatucky in Series one comes across to most of the audience as just an angry retaliation to her homophobia. But we later learn that Pensatucky has been raped several times in the past.
  • From what age exactly had Doggett prostituted herself and been occasionally raped, believing it was normal? And since she learned this philosophy from her mother — what was the story of the conception of her and her siblings? And her later pregnancies?
  • One of the new, harsher guards in season four raped and killed what are implied to have been civilians overseas. The guy is literally a war criminal. This guy is far more deserving of prison than half of those girls and not only is he allowed to roam free, he gets payed to essentially beat them daily, the corporation all but openly nurturing those psychotic tendencies.
  • In season 3, Sophia has to watch her son become more and more of a criminal without being able to do anything about it, has to deal with constant bullying, misgendering and eventually transphobic violence at the hands of fellow prisoners (that leaves her all but mutilated) and is ultimately PUNSIHED FOR THE HATE CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST HER by being sent to solitary confinement. Not only that, but when she is in confinement she tries to get out and get back at Caputo by both attempting to drown herself in her cell by clogging the toilet and starting a fire with a towel on a lightbulb. If the guards and Caputo had not come in time on both occasions she very well may have drowned or been burned to death and she wasn't terrified at all! Consider how broken the poor woman must be after all the abuse she has suffered...
  • From "Fucksgiving", we still don't know if the voice Piper heard talking to her in SHU is real. Solitary confinement can have profound psychological effects on a person, especially on someone like Piper who is not accustomed to long periods of solitude. Solitary confinement beyond 15 days leads directly to severe, and in some cases, irreversible psychological harm. But for some, it can manifest in even less time. Hallucinations, for example-hearing voices when nobody is speaking could be a sort of coping mechanism for Chapman, so it's very likely that she could be hallucinating and talking to her subconscious mind.
  • One of the sadistic guards in season 4 and 5 speaks/acts with relish in regards to torturing and psychologically messing with people in the prison. You wonder if he acted on his sick fantasies towards other people even before he came to Litchfield. That's not even factoring in the first episode of season five where Sophia has to tend to the guards leg injury after he was shot in the leg by an inmate and tears open his pants to get at his leg revealing his penis. Why would he not wear underwear? For easy access? So he could masturbate because he was getting off on the idea/act of torturing other people and making them suffer? Or he literally has no shame and got off of the idea that there was just one item of clothing on his part separating him from all the women?

Fridge Logic

  • So, do the higher-ups at Litchfield do everything in their power to lengthen shorter sentences so that no prisoner ever makes it out alive, or do they not understand that prison is supposed to be temporary apart from life sentences? What do these guys plan to do when Piper eventually walks and writes her book a la "Mommie Dearest" or "The Outsiders"? Good job keeping up appearances, guys.
    • Litchfield is a for profit prison. They get government grants for every prisoner they hold, so its in their interests to lengthen their sentences for bullshit reasons. Yes, this does happen in real life. And if that makes you think "The american prison system is entirely fucked," then you've figured out the moral of the show.
  • This Troper was put off by all the in-universe animosity towards Bayley after Poussey's death for what was a tragic accident. Especially when Taystee and crew started talking about how it was cold-blooded murder (especially since nothing was cold-blooded in that circumstance). Then it hit me, while we the viewers saw exactly what happened, nobody else did. Guards were scrambling to clear the cafeteria and the inmates were fighting to protest peacefully over the insane conditions (i.e. fighting the guards). The only person other than C.O.s Bayley, McCollough, and Poussey that had any clear shot of what was happening was Suzanne, and she was freaking out. All any of the inmates saw until it hit that Poussey died was C.O. Bayley kneeling on her. Coupled with all the C.O.s claiming afterwards that she had a weapon, and it starts to sound like a classic killing of a black "thug" by a racist cop and the system scrambling to cover it up.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: