This Friday (June 13), "Orange is the New Black" will finally return to Netflix after its typical year-long hiatus — exactly a year, to the date, since we all end up binging it in a single day like insatiable monsters.
Last season (its third, ICYMI) was tumultuous — we lost Nicky, were introduced to the captivating Stella, let Soso and Sophia break our hearts, and felt #blessed by the beautiful, strange relationship between Big Boo and Pennsatucky.
So with that in mind, let's remind ourselves of where we stand right now at Litchfield ... by ranking its many inmates, of course.
Alex Vause is the worst. In three seasons, she has made no effort to connect with any other inmates at Litchfield sans Piper, which has made her storylines drag and her presence on this show questionable. She is drop dead gaw-geous, but if she didn't survive last season's stabbing, I wouldn't be mad at it.
Her backstory was gorgeous, and tragic, and reflects actual issues China has with women. But in present day, she's mean and scary, and sort of grotesque? If Soso didn't show up in Season 2, I'd argue that Chang being the only Asian woman on here is jusssst a bit racist. But, Soso's great, so we're cool, I guess.
I mean ... we BARELY know her. But good for her for making dick pics a priority in prison.
Anita seems like a nice person! She's also never given very much to do.
Of all the groups at Litchfield, I care for the meth heads least. But Angie leaving prison by accident and having nowhere to go was very sad, at least.
Her pregnancy story was tragic, but I don't know. She's barely in it. It's tough to get too invested.
How could you not love a "wake up sheeple" government conspiracy-obsessed inmate played by "Tank Girl" herself, Lori Petty? You wouldn't be human, man.
She's a jerk, but I love Elizabeth Rodriguez, and she's so, so much better than her terribly annoying daughter.
"If you want more pizza, vote for Maritza."
I want more pizza, so vote for Maritza I will. She hasn't gotten a flashback yet like her BFF Flaca (though rumor has it, that changes early on in Season 4), but she's so damn funny it's impossible not to love her.
If I went to Litchfield, no question, I'd want to get in with Goth Kween Flaca. She knows all of the ~ cool ~ pop culture, has great deadpan one-liners, and is a good friend to Maritza, who is also fun and hilarious. She's a B-character, sure, but a true A-lister in my goth-loving heart.
Soso is so, so good, you guys. I don't even care that she's annoying. She's someone you've met if you've ever lived in Vermont or upstate New York or California, and her bullying plot line just got me. Like, of all places to be rejected by your female peers, freaking prison?! For this, I rank her (relatively) high. She's earned our love.
Red is cool. It's great watching "Orange" highlight badass over-50 actresses like "Star Trek" legend Kate Mulgrew ... even if her plot line last year wasn't the most interesting.
Morello's flashback came out of nowhere in Season 2, to remind us that not all of these women have hearts of gold, and just made careless mistakes/did Bad Things once they fell into hard times. Girl is a straight-up dangerous stalker, and belongs in prison — but she also has so much damn heart, and is consistently fun to watch ... even if I still don't understand what that accent is or where it is coming from.
"Big Boo" Black
Big Boo is not the kind of character who usually carries sexual and/or romantic plot lines on television — the world is just not comfortable with fat, outwardly "dyke-y" characters having sex at this point in time. But that's exactly why we need her! And even though she can be aggressive and a snitch, her relationship with Pennsatucky was easily the highlight of Season 3. Big Boo can hang.
Nicky can't be gone for good — Natasha Lyonne's addict with a heart of gold is just too valuable (and sadly grounded in reality) to ever fully leave us. She commands each and every scene in with her strong, funny, nurturing presence, and reminds us that the horrors of drug addiction can turn even the most lovable humans into monsters.
In earlier years, I would have put Piper lower down on this list. But once "Orange" decided to make the show NOT revolve around Piper, and allowed Taylor Schilling to use her many comedic talents with that panties storyline, she excelled. Piper is annoying and privileged, sure, but unlike Alex Vause, she's managed to form real, genuine relationships with other inmates at Litchfield, which makes her a very valuable player on this show.
Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
Uzo Aduba has won multiple Emmys for this role for a reason — she manages to add new layers of depth to "Crazy Eyes" every season; allowing us to simultaneously feel for her heartbreaking struggles with mental illness, and laugh at her nutty-as-hell fan fiction. It wouldn't be Litchfield without Suzanne.
Sophia Burset is easily one of the most important characters currently on television. Before her debut in 2013, no one could name a trans actor working on television, let alone one playing such a dynamic, nuanced character. Laverne Fucking Cox is still not even a regular on "Orange," but I'm 90% sure that's just because she's now ridiculously busy being Laverne Fucking Cox. Anyway, her transphobia plot line last year was devastating and brilliantly acted, and her shower-shoes rule.
Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett
I've gotta be real with you guys — when "Orange" picks up on Friday, it's Tucky's story I'm most excited to see. The character has done deplorable things for deplorable reasons, but my god, is Taryn Manning great at giving pathos to one of the least-relatable women on this show. Her rape story last year was treacherous, which only made her burgeoning friendship with Big Boo more powerful (and easy to root for).
Taystee is joy wrapped in happiness wrapped in sunshine. I mean, her story is awful, and she gets knocked down a peg for being horrible to Poussey during Season 2, but she's the "Mom" of Litchfield's Black women for a reason — I would trust Taystee with my deepest, darkest secrets and to be on my "Harry Potter" trivia team.
HOW DOES ONE CHOOSE BETWEEN TAYSTEE AND POUSSEY?! It was a difficult decision, but I put Poussey at number one because of A) Taystee's aforementioned beatdown, and B) she was the only one who was genuinely nice to poor, sweet Soso last year during that horrendous bullying thing, and the only one who saw through Vee. The woman is a precious cinnamon roll who needs to be loved and protected. Period. Accent à droite.