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  • 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. Averted in the next 2 seasons, as the relationship becomes more stable and human.
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    • Does Healy really have a crush on Piper in the first season? Does he have fatherly feelings for her? Or does he see her as a personification of what he values in a woman and that's why he's devastated when she turns out not to be what he thought?
  • Anvilicious: The show hits its main messages pretty hard over the course of six seasons, so there's no chance that you won't miss the point.
    • The "The prison system is broken and needs fixing, and convicts and ex-cons alike aren't treated fairly" message was obvious 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. And then when the prison gets privatised, they ramp up the exact same message just with "privatised for-profit prisons are broken."
    • A season three episode elaborates how the representation of women in media, particularly by the beauty standards is artificial and inaccurate, because in reality women appear in various sizes, shapes, ages and races. Watching the show in which women appear in various sizes, shapes, ages and races, most of the viewers have probably gotten the memo long ago.
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    • The preferential treatment shown to white people in the prison and within society at large. Black and latino inmates often must shoulder additional burdens that are not felt by their fellow white inmates, who are sometimes ignorant of the fact that they exist. The minority inmates are never shy about pointing it out whenever it happens.
  • Awesome Music: LP's "Muddy Waters" playing over the final moments of season 4, as Daya points a gun at two COs and, in her last posthumous flashback, Poussey turns to the camera and smiles.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Vee is either one of the most interesting characters on the show or an annoying Villain Sue, depending on who you ask. Though most people are in awe of Lorraine Toussant's acting.
    • Big Boo is either a walking Squick or absolutely hilarious, or a combination of both.
    • 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, but has ramped up again in season three, with a split between those interested in the beginnings of her as a Villain Protagonist and those who hate where her character is going.
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    • 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 2, 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.
    • Sam Healy. A fair number of fans actually do feel sympathy for him, given that, from what we've seen of his personal life and upbringing, he is deeply lonely and rightly feels that his overtures are not appreciated. However, the fact remains that a large number of fans have not forgiven him for his actions in the first season finale, which have yet to be addressed or answered for, nor do they believe that his more overtly villainous behavior should be excused so easily.
    • 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.
    • Aleida. A mother who's made a lot of mistakes in the past and is trying to make up for them, or a verbally abusive mother to Daya who's in no way a good parent? While these were mild complaints during the first two seasons, in season three, her going behind Daya's back and telling Mendez's mother, who was more than willing to raise the child and seemed like a better choice than Cesar, that the baby died during childbirth so she would (unknowingly) back off, has made many think she's a horrible mother.
    • Stella. Some viewers like her because she's portrayed by Ruby Rose, is extremely attractive, and helped to shake up the Piper and Alex dynamic. However other viewers find her character boring and pointless. It doesn't help that Stella is the only inmate who always has a full face of perfect make up and neat hair, everyone else looks more 'realistically' tired and unkempt.
    • The new guards in season 4, led by Piscatella, who turns a blind eye to their sadism and mistreatment of the inmates. Many viewers are stuck between them being a strong jab at actual sadistic prison guards, or whether they are a heinous stereotype of military veterans as psychopathic monsters. Especially considering that that the things Dixon admits to Bayley would never have happened without someone questioning as to why a Marine disappeared from an FOB with several grenades and checked back in without them, the result of this being very, very bad for Dixon.
    • Brook Soso. Either she's incredibly annoying and the other characters are right to not want anything to do with her, or she's a sweet, well-meaning girl who just happens to be a bit of a Motor Mouth who only wants friends and is treated incredibly harshly by the other characters.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During the tension build-up in the Season 6 finale, Luschek drives up to the softball field, within the fence's boundaries, in a DeLorean. He opens his door, expresses concern to himself, and then drives off...pretty random and bizarre overall.
  • Broken Base:
    • 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.
    • The show's treatment of Piper's bisexuality gets this from many viewers. Many viewers see the other characters' not-so-enlightened comments about it as being Truth in Television and an accurate portrayal of how bisexuals are ignored by the straight and gay alike. Other viewers think the show's refusal to explicitly refer to Piper as "bisexual" is simply a watered down form of No Bisexuals and falls in line with the unfortunate trend of not "putting labels" on Ambiguously Bi characters or using descriptors such as "flexible" instead of identifying them as bisexual.
    • The Ship Tease between Red and Healy in Season 3, which fans either found touching or just awkward.
    • Bennett and Caputo getting their own episodes in the third season and the general Spotlight-Stealing Squad status of Caputo, Healy and to some extent Danny Parson's in the same season. Some consider fleshing out the members of the staff a good thing, while the others point out that watching adventures of free, white males is not exactly what one would expect of this show; or just consider these characters unsympathetic.
    • Pennsatucky's forgiveness of Coates' rape. Some believe that while he is Easily Forgiven, it is still an effective and natural development for Pennsatucky and a good continuation of the exploration of Pennsatucky's rape. There are others though who believe that he was too Easily Forgiven and should have suffered some consequences for his actions because Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil.
      • Nicky and Lorna's sexual relationship, for a similar but more subtle reason: some fans find the sexual tension between them cute and prefer it to Morello's often unhealthy relationships with men; others are disturbed by Nicky's increasingly aggressive attempts to resume their sexual relationship after her return from Max, despite Lorna loudly and repeatedly saying she's married to someone else and doesn't want to.
    • Poussey's death. Some commend the show for raising awareness of the brutality often faced by black women in prison, and thought it was done in a poignant and respectful manner used to expose this kind of injustice to millions of viewers. A similarly sized portion of the fandom hated it for what they felt was a cheap, unnecessary Bury Your Gays plot twist that they thought the show was above using, and that if they were trying to appeal to the Black Lives Matter movement then they shouldn't have portrayed the guard as a guiltless victim when those groups insist that in real life police/guard brutality often stems from malicious, intentionally violent racism.
    • The quality of season 3. Some fans feel that the season focused too much on the characters at the expense of building an overarching plot, that certain plot elements were pointless (Such as the entire character of Stella) and that the subplots became increasingly cartoonish (mainly in regards to Piper's panty business and Suzanne's erotic fiction), making the prison feel more like a summer camp than it had in the previous seasons. Other fans love the character focus and more laid back pace, and praise the payoffs of the last few episode.
    • Season 5 broke the base to the foundation. Is the format of an entire season taking place within a few days a fresh and experimental idea, or is it too reminiscent of the hated season nine of How I Met Your Mother, which uses the same format? Is the plot itself interesting and different, or does it feel like unrealistic fanfiction? Will the next season, presumably a plot taking place across different prisons, work, or will it flounder?
  • Crazy Awesome: Season 4 will probably leave you with some newfound respect for Flores. Punished by a guard to stand on a cafeteria table, she withstands days pissing and shitting herself in the process and only gets down when the whole prison gets a lockdown. And at the end of the season she is the first one to protest against Piscatella's treatment of Red, by getting on that table again and inspiring every inmate in the room to follow her footsteps.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The show indulges in this trope from time to time.
    • A particularly notable example involves Sister Ingalls mentioning that she's masturbated while looking at a crucifix of Jesus that was "particularly ripped".
    • How Big Boo and Little Boo's companionship ended.
    • Nicky sitting on Soso's face to finally shut her the hell up.
    • After Big Boo, Mendez is the second character who rides on that trope.
    • The Judy King puppet show is appallingly racist, yet weirdly hilarious. Then she admits she was an idiot in The ’80s, and "everyone was an idiot in the Eighties." Then she admits she was on cocaine at the time...
    • Gina needs to get into the front office where Luschek is hiding, and he won't let her in. She sticks her hands in her pants and wipes menstrual blood all over herself, then proceeds to shout about how it's "Aurora, Colorado out here, and we're all in the movie theatre".
    • Judy King getting "crossed" and nearly thrown off the roof by two neo-Nazis poorly disguised as Muslim fundamentalists.
    • Most of the scenes concerning dying and then dead Humphrey in Season 5.
    • The "Black Lattes Matter" meme in Season 5.
    • You wouldn't think a Bungled Suicide could be hilarious, but Bayley's attempt by drinking non-toxic dog hair dye, and his family's utter indifference manage to do it.
    • Everyone seems to have a different mass shooting to use as a metaphor for Humphrey's supposed shooting spree in the Season 5 premiere.
    • Barb and Carol's nickname of "The Little Debbie Killers", when you find out the entirely horrifying reason why.
  • 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. It seems to have ended by the time when he leaves Daya and the prison, seemingly for good.
    • 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.
    • Mendez to some degree, especially after Bennett proves to be a Dirty Coward. Yes, he shows love and a great commitment for Daya and her unborn child even after he learns it isn't his, and displays the bravery Daya wanted from Bennett. But he is also a sadist, a drug-dealer, a molester, and an implied rapist, so he is definitely not "better" than Bennett.
    • It can be arguable that many of the characters benefit from this in some form. The fan-base can be quick to passionately latch onto and defend their favourite characters for numerous reasons (charisma and charm, representative of particular marginalised groups, the show's focus on the inequities of the prison system, etc.) and so find it easy to overlook or ignore the fact that, regardless of their more sympathetic or charming qualities, most of them genuinely do deserve to be in a prison for valid reasons.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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.
    • Poussey started as more or less a sidekick of Taystee (though their antics were still entertaining), but gained considerable popularity with time, partly for her character being endearing and partly for immediately realizing that Vee is full of shit. Her friendship with the lonely Soso also gained her a lot of fans.
    • Zirconia was one of the few new characters in seasons 4-5 who got decent reception, being a cruel, immature but funny lad-ette. She's given development in seasons 6-7.
    • Carol, particularly her younger incarnation, has developed a huge fanbase since Season 6 came out. People seem to be willing to overlook her psychopathy in favour of her attitude, appearance, and just how entertaining she is. See Evil Is Sexy below.
  • Evil Is Sexy: A lot of fans had this reaction to Young Carol in flashbacks. She’s very evil and very crazy, but her actress (Ashley Jordyn) is very pretty and her manic, Laughably Evil behavior can be weirdly alluring for some.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Alex and Piper had this before the two warmed up to each other when it just crossed into plain Les Yay.
    • Caputo and Figueroa with the former having an obvious sexual interest in the latter despite hating her, and the later knowing it and relishing that fact. In the third season they are regularly hate-banging each other.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In one episode in season 2, Taystee tickles Poussey until she's out of breath saying "I can't breathe." Then comes season 4, where Poussey struggles to choke out those same words as she's being suffocated by Bayley.
  • 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.
    • Piper's business "Felonious Spunk" is a pun on the name of jazz musician Thelonious Monk. Only Piper would think to stick such a high-brow reference on such a gross business model.
    • The "Bora Bora Bora" episode title and quote from the episode seem to be a very oblique reference to Tora! Tora! Tora!.
    • Chang is portrayed as having a comically ridiculous bathroom routine in "Ching Chong Chang", with a focus on her habit of pouring salt all over her toothbrush before brushing. But like most seemingly odd things she does, it has a logical purpose- brushing or rinsing with saltwater is one method of shrinking the gums and combating gingivitis.
    • It's not explained, but in "Power Suit," Black Cindy/Tova is shown putting a mezuzah at the entrance of her cubicle, following Jewish tradition. Since mezuzahs are placed at the entrance of one's home, it's certainly an attempt by Tova to mark her territory as a Jewish abode in the face of her new Muslim bunkmate.
    • One of Poussey's flashback episodes shows her hitching a ride with Buddhist monks on bikes in New York. She asks the leader what his philosophy is, and he answers to find something in this life that gives you pleasure and hold onto it. Someone familiar with Eastern philosophies, particularly Buddhism, can guess he's not a real monk before he tells her, because most Eastern philosophies are about transcending earthly pains and pleasures alike to attain spiritual enlightenment.
  • Genre Turning Point: The one-two punch of this show and House of Cards (US) practically singlehandedly convinced the world that online streaming services could be a viable platform for original programming. While Netflix was already hugely popular as a streaming platform, people really took notice when they realized that one of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television was only on Netflix.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Alex's threat to essentially rape Pennsatucky in the first season becomes much harder to take after Pennsatucky is raped by a guard in third season, following the revelation that she has actually been raped repeatedly throughout her life, but has been consistently unable to distinguish consensual sex from non-consensual due to her upbringing and mental problems.
    • A cute scene in Season 2 with Taystee pinning Poussey to a bunk and tickling her ends with Poussey crying out "I can't breathe!" This becomes a cringe-worthy line upon rewatching and knowing that being pinned down and not being able to breathe is how Poussey dies.
    • In the Season 2 Finale, Cindy and Janae come into the library to talk to Taystee and Poussey. Poussey grabs a book and uses it as a shield. Cindy knocks it out of her hand and Taystee picks it up. As Taystee is holding it, you can read the title: "Fighting for Air".
  • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Kate Mulgrew's last big show, the guy in charge of the kitchen was notoriously The Scrappy.
    • When O'Neill starts singing "Do You Hear The People Sing?" in "We Can Be Heroes", Ford's objection of "black people don't know this song" becomes this when you remember that the 2014 Broadway revival cast featured African-American Kyle Scatliffe in the role of revolutionary leader Enjolras, who sings the aforementioned song. (And of course, Kyle Jean-Baptiste)
    • Samira Wiley later married the writer of the episode where her character was killed off.
    • In Season 1, Nikki is called "Rabbit Pearl" while gouging a hole in the wall. A few years later, Natasha Lyonne got a recurring role on Steven Universe.
    • Polly is confused about Piper being sent to SHU in the Season 1 finale, thinking an actual shoe is involved. Guess how the Sesame Street parody handles it?
    • Piper's revenge on Stella looks quite a bit more badass now that she successfully pulled it off against Batwoman.
    • Natasha Lyonne's next role is an angry Russian redhead, like Nicky's mother, Red.
  • Hollywood Homely: The young Mei Chang, played by the beautiful Teresa Ting, is an obviously attractive girl with bad skin. Everyone talks about her as if she's "ugly," ignoring the fact that she just needs a dermatologist.
  • 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.
  • Ho Yay: Here.
  • 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 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 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:
    • Mendez. One of the big causes of his jerkassery is that he's just really, really lonely; he's a jerkass because he's lonely and he's lonely because he's a jerkass.
    • 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. The fact, that he is the least apathetic of the workers and wants to improve the prison's condition also earns him redemptive points.
    • 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, his wife is a mail-order bride who mostly ignores him 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. It's also revealed that Healy had a troubled childhood, and that his issues with women stem from the fact his mother was clinically insane, and he had to try to take care of her from a very young age.
    • All of her corruption and callousness towards the prisoners aside, even Figueroa had a woobie moment when it was revealed that her husband is gay and is having an affair with his 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.
    • Pennsatucky in season two, when her former clique shuns her and she struggles to become a better person, and also in the first season when she landed in Psych - due to actions she committed genuinely believing she's helping people. Plus in season 3 it's revealed that she was raped as a teenager. And at Litchfield, she's assaulted again, by CO Coates.
    • Piper showed these tendencies at times, helped by her Cry Cute moments. It comes to a head in season 4 where Maria, Flores and the Hispanic inmates crudely brand a Swastika onto Piper's forearm while she screams in agony. Despite her jerkass tendencies, that scene, complete with her being ignored by the prison population while everyone is socializing together and dancing, is quite sad. And then Hapakuka turns on her for treating her horribly and sells her out to the Hispanic inmates.
      • The next episode shows Piper crying in her bunk and when a now guilt-ridden Hapakuka asks her if she's okay, Piper responds brokenly "Not even a little bit." She also looks unwell physically as well as mentally.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • The Bolivian Army Ending for the ten women in Frieda's bunker in season 5. While the show has been known to occassionally kill or send off a major character, eight of the mentioned ten - Piper, Alex, Red, Nicky, Suzanne, Taystee, Cindy and Gloria - are the most core characters of the show, so not many viewers believe that they might not survive this situation. In fact, all ten women return as main characters in Season 6; it's most of the women outside the pool who get Put on a Bus between seasons, and the only inmate to die is Kukudio.
    • The first few episodes of the following season try to imply that Alex might not have survived, as though there was seriously any chance of them killing off the main character's love interest. Sure enough, it turns out they just sent her to the hospital to get proper treatment for the arm that Piscatella broke. Admittedly, this probably wasn't in the original plans for the season, but Laura Prepon was pregnant and unavailable for the first few episodes, forcing the writers to work around this.
  • 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.
    • Just to be clear, Red had nothing to do with the food.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • 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.'
      • Morello getting together with Vince at the end of season 3 was lauded by Morello's fanbase, who said that "Morello deserves to be happy," seemingly ignoring the fact that she got Vince to organize a beating on Christopher (who was unequivocally the victim) just because she told him that he was mean.
    • 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 abused her position as a firefighter to steal credit cards from people who had lost their homes in fires, which left her wife to raise their child alone after she was busted and imprisoned.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Healy has one at the end of the season finale, when he turns his back on Pennsatucky knowing that she is about to try to stab Piper to death.
    • Mendez has one when he's indirectly responsible for Tricia's death.
    • Pennsatucky crosses it when she tries to kill Piper. While in her first murder it could be chalked up to the society she lived in, this was in no way justifiable.
    • If Vee beating Red half to death (for the second time!) doesn't do it, manipulating Suzanne into taking the fall for it does.
    • In Season 5, several of the inmates rape prison guards. Their actions range from voyerism and molestation to full on penetration, and they justify this because the victims are guards. Angie and Leanne casually joke about this, the former non-chalantly admitting to having raped men before she was jailed. This may well completely destroy any sympathy held for those responsible.
    • Carol and Barbara crossed this before show. A flashback reveals that they murdered their younger sister when they were teenagers, in a way that ensured a slow and terrifying death. Their motive? Her gymnastics competitions made them move around a lot.
    • The riot control police cross this when they decide to frame the prisoners for Piscatella’s murder, which they (the police) were actually responsible for.
  • Narm:
    • Soso's hair being cut by Leanne, which was a very poorly disguised maneuver to cover the fact, that the actress wanted to get a haircut. For a supposed Traumatic Haircut in prison, Leanne surely gave Soso's "Pocahontas hair" a very even and moderate trim, still leaving her hair looking stylish and semi-long.
    • Piscatella's actor's face is adorable, especially after he shaves. This sometimes undermines the character's status as a Nightmare Fuel - he can be genuinely chilling when in action, but when sitting tied down in a basement in season 5 he looks most like a good natured giant St. Bernard's dog waiting in front of a shop.
    • The guards breaking out in Do You Hear The People Sing? at the end of "We Can Be Heroes". It makes sense in-universe, as O'Neil starts it and they had watched the movie recently, but it's still Narm.
    • Bayley's utterly random background appearance during Poussey's flashbacks in the Season 4 finale, in a very clumsy attempt to hint that they've been fated for their cafeteria encounter for years.
    • The entire fact that we don't learn Adeloa's name until the Season 6 finale, in what comes off very much like the crew panicking as they realized the Unfortunate Implications of a comic relief black character never actually getting a name onscreen and contrived a way to say it at the end.
    • You have to feel for the writers of the first few Season 6 episodes trying so hard to make us think Alex might be dead, while not a single fan buys it as even if Like You Would Really Do It isn't in effect for you, Laura Prepon is still openly listed in the main credits.
    • The unbelievably pompous and pretentious “one color” trailer for the final season, in which the show basically takes sole credit for all the progressive social change that’s happened since it started.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Have you been the victim of stalking? Death threats? A car bomb? Don't worry, your stalker is in prison, 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. And then send her new boyfriend and his buddies to your home to beat you up.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe, Flaca and Maritza are referred to as "Flaritza" in season 5.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Pennsatucky/Coates comes off as this. In Season 3, they have a fun banter, until Coates starts violently raping her. Penn and Boo plot revenge, but ultimately do not follow through. In Season 4, their sex is framed as being Questionable Consent, and Coates is portrayed as a good guy who made a mistake, and good compared to Piscatella's guards. In Season 5 Penn basically treats Coates like a boyfriend. Their friendly interactions after he's repeatedly sexually assaulted her are very problematic to some fans. In-Universe, Big Boo vocally disapproves. The writers' inconsistent treatment of Coates and his culpability varies from Ambiguous Situation to a straight up Retcon. Needless to say you won't find too many people who ship them as a couple.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Soso was often disliked in season 2 due to her naïveté and Motor Mouth, which were often perceived as annoying. After we got a bit of backstory and a lot of Character Development in season 3, she has gained many more fans.
    • Fig, starting in the third season when she is fired and becomes a Jerkass Woobie, and more definitively in the final season when she is put in charge of the ICE facility and, disgusted by the inhumane treatment of the detainees, uses her position to genuinely advocate for them as best she can, even going so far as to sneak in an abortifacient for a detainee who has been denied access to an abortion.
  • 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.
    • Continued in the third season despite the absence of Larry and the appearance of the much awaited Ruby Rose's character taking her place in the love triangle. Many fans, while considering Stella hot and even taking an interest in Piper or Alex-related storylines (like Piper's Start of Darkness and Alex's paranoia over her former boss' revenge), literally beg for tossing out the romantic drama between them.
  • 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.
    • Christopher, for being "mean" and yelling at Morello. Some of Morello's fans go as far as find his beating up received from Vince "satisfying."
    • While Piper is (very) far from a perfect person, there are significant parts of the fandom that deliberately see everything she does and says in the most negative way possible, to ridiculous levels.
  • 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 Jerkass to Piper, and keeping Alex and Piper apart (for fans that prefer that couple).
    • Vee is a tad too close to being a Villain Sue in many fans' eyes and in contrast to literally every other antagonist, she doesn't have a single sympathetic or humanizing trait. Again, the actress is doing a good job, but the character is so despised that running Vee over with a van instantly elevated Rosa to a fan favorite.
    • Polly wasn't much liked either by viewers during the first season although she gained a lot of detractors when the second season arrived with a storyline of her getting together with Larry, who is also disliked. This likely contributed to her lack of an appearance in season 3.
    • Stella is viewed as this for many fans, who believe her character is poorly written and overly fanservicey. Also some viewers have uncharitable opinions on Ruby Rose's acting.
    • The white supremacist prisoners are heavily disliked by the fandom despite the attempts to make them somewhat less two-dimensional.
    • New character “Badison” in season six, for being incredibly obnoxious and unlikeable- and for her actress putting on what many fans consider to be an absolutely abysmal Bostonian accent.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 5 has the lowest Metacritic score of any of the show's seasons by quite some distance, is widely considered the show's weakest season by fans (with Season 3 being the only one even coming close in that regard before it was aired), and even creator Jenji Kohan publicly apologised for the drop in quality. While opinions on the season were divided at first, they've become far more universally negative in the years since.
    • Season 6 is seen as an improvement, but still flawed, with a weak Big-Bad Ensemble in the Denning Sisters, several other characters (most prominently Badison, and to a lesser extent Daddy) being disliked, and the season not really hitting its stride until the halfway point.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • There are still some scuffles between Piper/Alex and Piper/Larry camps, the former believing the other side to be any variation of boring/disgusting/Het Is Ew, the latter believing the other side to be a toxic and unhealthy relationship. And then there's the final group who doesn't care about Piper's love life at all.
    • The third season were to introduce a new character named Stella Carlin, about whom was known that a) she would be played by Ruby Rose b) she would be 'an object of lust of both Piper and Alex'. Shipping wars were in motion before she even appeared. That's what you can do by featuring a pretty face. It however mostly died out when they really introduced Stella, she turned out to be less interesting than the fans expected, and was only Piper's — not Alex's — love interest.
    • In-Universe example after Suzanne's porn novel featuring Betty and Veronica type interests for the protagonist reaches a smashing popularity in prison. Poussey roots for the Nice Guy Gilly, pretty much everyone else are hot for Admiral Rodcocker, though Cindy would settle for that guy made entirely of vaseline. And it's SERIOUS.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Daddy and Badison were introduced in season 6, and both were widely disliked, then quickly written out in season 7.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • 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.
    • Noted in Kerman's book and a running theme throughout the show: Drugs Are Bad. No one in the series does drugs or is involved with the drug trade without some kind of consequence, to varying degrees of awfulness. It's the ones like Nicky who keep going back that you want to slap, but there is a lot of Truth in Television there, in that most addicts have a life long relationship with drugs.
  • Squick:
    • Red's message to Piper at the end of the first episode. " Egg McTampon. Rare."
    • Mendez urinating in the gravy.
    • Pennsatucky's teeth. Taken Up to Eleven in season 2 when we see the results of what Piper beating the crap out of her did. Most of her teeth are knocked out and it is not a pretty sight.
    • Let's hope nothing did happen between Boo and Little Boo that involves peanut butter...
    • 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.
    • The entirety of the "bedbugs" plot. Especially Taystee...well, tasting one.
    I'm about fifty-fifty!
    • In Season 4, we have the "shower pooper," Piper digging in the port-a-potty and getting poo all over her hands, the "gun to your head" discussion (and its later ramifications), and the source of Nicky's crack.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some feel Stella was this, given that she had a lot of hype behind her that ultimately never truly paid off. Stated to be the object of lust for both Piper and Alex, she's definitely not this for the latter, with Alex more peeved at her than anything else. After a brief relationship with Piper, she's reveals that she is being released soon and in the finale, she's Put on a Bus to Hell when Piper frames her after discovering she was the one taking money from her accounts by putting a lot of contraband in her bunk and gets her sent to Maximum Security, where we will probably never see her again (the screwdriver from season 1 is found in her possession, which has been stated to add up to five years to someone's sentence). We never find out what she is in prison for and most, if not every scene she has features Piper on-screen in some way. As of Season 4, we do get a glimpse of Stella in max with Nicky, and they even have a brief, off-screen affair. Nicky breaks it off because of Stella's drug use, which is most likely the reason Stella is in prison.
  • 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.
    • In Season 5, the gun that's stolen from Daya by an unseen figure and the fact that Coates is hiding in the ceiling both seemed like intriguing setups that could have led in all kinds of surprising directions, but after only a couple episodes, Coates and the gun are removed from the plot together in a pretty anticlimactic way.
    • "Florida," the block in the Max prison reserved for elderly, trans and mentally ill inmates, provided an ideal opportunity to show more trans inmates and their circumstances without being torture porn. Unfortunately, we weren't shown any new trans inmates there. The only other trans inmate shown is a non-binary person in D-Block who's used for a single gag (wanting to be referred to as Mx. instead of Miss.)
    • Red's dementia in the final season got many fans expecting a poignant ending to her story where she finally sees the legendary chicken, only to forget about it soon afterwards. Instead, she never does get to see it.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Piper. Quite often, actually. Some of her reactions are understandable and at the same time very cringing. She gains more prison smarts as the seasons go by but her decisions still get her and her fellow inmates in trouble from time to time.
    • Christopher visiting Morello in prison and making a loud, audible threat to kill her if she comes near him or his 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.
  • Win Back the Crowd: After Seasons 5 and 6 left fans questioning whether the show had run out of steam, Season 7 was seen as a major return to form for successfully wrapping up many of the plot threads that had been running throughout the series, and being generally better-written than the previous two seasons.
  • The Woobie: Despite being prisoners, some of the women qualify even without the "Jerkass" part.
    • Tricia: she was young, well-meaning kleptomaniac and an addict who wanted to atone for the acts she had committed because of those issues... the first attempt landed her in jail, the second caused her death.
    • Poussey, the nicest one of the black clique, who goes trough hell in the second season in the hands of Vee, whose mother died while she was in prison and who had to coped with homophobia of her first love's father and Incompatible Orientation of her second (on-screen) love. Samira Wiley's tremendous Puppy-Dog Eyes probably help as well.
      • It gets worse later. Poussey, unlike most of the other girls, lead a decent life, was brought up by loving parents and was generally a happy person. Her reason for being in prison? Possession of less than an ounce of pot (which, knowing how cops on this show are, might have been planted on her as a pretext to arrest her) and how do we even come across this information? Because Poussey was killed in trying to protect her friend.
    • Maria, who gives birth while in prison, is separated from her child and when it looks like things can go fairly well for her (given the circumstances), she is dumped by the father of her daughter and separated from her for good.
    • Soso has no friends, is completely unable to adjust for prison life and at one point was almost being sold for a blanket. She was also used and coldly dumped by Nicky, and is bullied by the members of Norma's cult in the third season, to the point that she attempts suicide, and in Season 4, her girlfriend is killed during a protest. The fact that she won't stop talking until you sit on her face probably would stop most people from giving her a hug, though.
    • Chaj, an ICE inmate in the 7th season, is an indigenous K'iche woman who can only speak her native language, which nobody else in her unit understands. On her way to America, she was raped and left pregnant and has no way of explaining her circumstances and need for an abortion, leaving her a desperate Nervous Wreck. Fortunately, Fig gets her an abortifacient at the end.
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