Orange is the New Black has made a lot of important decisions that have led to the show’s success. It created a place to tell the stories of marginalized women and the pasts that led them to their current time in prison. The series wasn’t afraid to show women from all backgrounds, cultures, and orientations and tell their dark stories with a sense of humor. It has tackled homophobia, racism, police violence, and the inhumane conditions in which prisoners live while doing time.
The show also knew when to draw back and fix its mistakes, like the great decision to change the focus from Piper-- a WASPy entitled whom who fell in love with the wrong person in her early twenties-- and redirect it to other characters with more complex life stories and motivations.
However, OITNB has not gotten it right every time. Season three comes to mind when we think about mistakes. Why was Piper so outraged by Larry’s affair when she was shacking up with her ex in prison? What was even the point of Ruby Rose’s character? Why, oh why is there not enough of Laverne Cox in the last two seasons? Some of these things are just unforgivable.
Jenji Kohan’s dramedy has had fantastic moments, like Sophia Burset’s flashback story and the insanely flawed romances between the main characters. But it comes to no one’s surprise that OITNB has lost some fans due to some decisions they can’t take back, like the passing of a beloved character.
Here are 20 Things Wrong with Orange is The New Black We Choose to Ignore.
20 Makeup is banned… sometimes
In the first season of OITNB, the prison rules are sprinkled throughout the episodes by the inmates, alerting Piper Chapman as to how things work. One of the rules bans makeup, except for some powder foundation and mascara that can be bought in commissary.
There are several characters who wear heavy makeup constantly and they never get in trouble.
Morello always has heavy eye makeup and red lipstick. The same thing goes for Red, who is rarely seen without red lipstick on.
While some inmates get creative with their makeup, like mixing Vaseline with Koolaid to make a tinted lip gloss, it is never explained why the mentioned characters can get away with what appears to be real makeup.
19 The timeline makes no sense
When Chapman turns herself in, she mentions she is going to be in prison for fifteen months. While it has been six years for the viewers, all of these crazy events have taken place in Litchfield for only a few months.
Think about everything that has happened. Maria had her baby. Daya got pregnant halfway through the first season and had the baby. That is a full nine months of Chapman’s sentence. Then there is the underwear business, the riot, and the months in Max.
Throughout all of this, Taystee left prison and came back, Piper became a criminal mastermind and made a lot of money, Alex also left prison for months and came back, and Lorna got married and quickly pregnant.
Piper does end up getting six more months for participating in the riot, but that only happens in the latest season.
It just seems unfeasible that so much would happen in less than a year, as her fifteen months are not done yet.
18 The mystery of the swimming pool
One of the major turning points of season five is the reveal that there is a closed-off section of Litchfield that no one knew about; an indoor emptied pool where Frieda builds her bunker for situations just like this riot.
However, the pool area is never mentioned in OITNB, not even in passing. They talk about the track they’re closing off and about Max down the hill but no one ever mentions a pool or even an old water exercise program. This is not even mentioned by the older inmates who have spent years in prison.
It just simply turned up when it was necessary.
At the end of the season, Caputo reveals the existence of said pool, but never thought to bring it up during the riot negotiations.
17 Kubra shouldn't fall for Alex's trick
Alex’s biggest fear throughout the majority of the seasons is that her former drug lord boss, Kubra, will come after her for naming him during a trial in season two.
However, in season four, with the help of Lolly and Freida, Alex is able to get rid of Kubra’s lackey and they send Kubra a picture from the henchman’s phone of Alex pretending to be lifeless on the floor, to show the "job was done." After that, not much else is mentioned about Kubra. Sure, they find the guard’s body and the riot ensues, but so far it seems Alex is safe.
How can that be? Does she not show up at all in any of the footage of the riot? Did her name ever get out? Is Kubra not expecting to see his lackey again?
16 Stella should still be in Max
In season three, Stella Carlin is taken to Max because the guards found illegal substance hidden in her bed. Piper set her up because Stella stole all of Piper’s underwear operation money. Stella was about to be set free and now has an added sentence she has to complete in Max.
Considering the seasons cover only a few months of their time in prison, Stella should absolutely be in Max when the Litchfield "cookies" arrive there in season six after the riot. Apparently, Stella was released and is mentioned in passing by Badison.
Surely, if illegal substance were found in Stella’s bed, they would have added more time to her sentence than just a few months.
It’s clear that Stella should have been in Max when the gang arrives but maybe OITNB just couldn’t get Ruby Rose on board.
15 Daya’s motivation for shooting
Why did Daya shoot the gun that ignited the riot? In the heat of things, it seems anybody could have been convinced but really, why did she do it?
While it is a tense scene, it never makes sense that Daya is the one to pull the trigger. She has always been quiet and passive, worrying constantly about her family and focusing on getting out in order to take care of her newborn daughter. Even though she got mixed up in Maria’s crew, which were basically in charge of a lot of terrible things before and doing the riot, it wasn’t enough for it to suddenly turn Daya into a gun-wielder.
It’s not until an inmate praises her for ruining her whole life that Daya finally comes to her senses.
14 No one but Doggett, Chang, and Gloria try to escape during the riot
At the end of season five, during the culmination of the riot, Doggett and Chang manage to escape through a hole in the fence. Doggett ends up in a CO house and willingly stays with Coates while the whereabouts of Chang remain unknown.
Why didn’t it occur to anyone else to flee as well?
Gloria tries to go through the fence to see her son but she isn’t able to, but no one else thinks of it. They were all too busy burning Flaming Hot Cheetos and becoming pacifists in the yard. Many of the inmates didn’t care enough about the riot or its purpose in order to stick around.
It’s still possible someone else may have left, since the inmate count is all messed up at the beginning of season six.
13 We still don't know why Red is in prison
From the beginning of the series, Red plays the motherly role for many inmates in Litchfield but it’s also very clear no one wants to cross her. In one of her flashbacks, Red and her husband get involved with the Russian mob. Later on, Red is seen becoming part of the mob, even calling some of the shots.
However, it is never fully clear how Red gets caught. At some point, she mentions there were five bodies in her freezer when the police raids her house. Red and her husband were also letting the mob hide bodies in their market in Astoria, but why the raid?
So far, there hasn’t been a flashback revealing Red’s arrest story or if she took the blame for someone else’s crime. Isn’t six seasons enough to reveal a main character’s story?
12 Piper’s "window" tattoo moved arms
Piper goes through a rough time in season four as she is considered a racist by the Hispanics. Piper accidentally gets involved with a group of racist white women and it goes bad really quickly.
Maria takes this opportunity to settle issues with Piper and decides to brand her left arm with a racist symbol to match the image of the supremacists Piper accidentally incited. Later on, Red helps her by branding her once again, changing the shape of the tattoo to a window.
Piper got visibly branded on her left arm, but in season six, when she hands out something to Maria, her mark is clearly on her right arm.
11 Alex is just as bad as Piper
Fans of the show love to hate Piper. She is an entitled doe-eyed WASP with, as Larry would say, an ominously shaky moral compass. Unfortunately people don’t give Alex enough flack for her equally terrible flaws.
Remember how she named Piper in court in order to get less time and lied multiple times to Piper about it?
Remember how she once again betrayed Piper in season two and ended up going home while Piper stayed in prison?
The problem is she is funny and charismatic and comes from a less privileged background than Piper. Alex is more likable in general and can get away with a lot with a few funny lines. In the end, she and Piper are equally matched in their horribleness.
10 CO Bayley's fate is still unknown
While season four was not without its flaws, it started an interesting commentary on police brutality and white privilege in the face of criminal charges. In a silent protest that goes awry, Officer Bayley ends up taking the life of one of the main characters, which spirals into the three-day riot because no justice was served for the deceased inmate.
Racked with guilt, Bayley goes through a lot of decisions in the three days the riot takes place. From looking to be thrown in jail and attempting against his own life, Bayley can’t seem to find a worthy punishment for his actions.
At the end of season five, one of the cliffhangers is Bayley going to a train station towards an unknown destination. It was assumed the destination would be revealed in season six but viewers got nothing.
9 Morello became too comedic
Morello’s storyline has been a slow-burner. For the longest time, she talked about her engagement to Christopher, only for us to find out hewas just a guy she stalked. It is then when the inmates and the viewers realize there is a lot more going on in Morello’s mind.
Morello’s story about her mental illness and how she struggles to control it provides another layer to her humanity-- and an unexpected rekindling between her and Nicky.
In the last couple of seasons, Morello changed from a flawed, romantic character to the set-up to every punch line.
It feels like the only reason she is around is to throw Nicky a silly line so she can hit a home run of a joke.
8 Frieda's impossible bunker
Frieda Berlin became a fan favorite in season five, when she revealed her amazing survival skills instilled by her father. Halfway through the season, she reveals the den she has slowly made while doing her time in Litchfield. Near the end of the season, she welcomes some of her friends who wish to hide from the riot.
Sure, Frieda is tenacious and creative, more so than anybody in Litchfield, but it doesn’t explain how she gathered so many supplies. She might have been able to make tools and build things during her spare time, but how did she get away with collecting so many supplies and food without anybody noticing?
It seems the writers will answer those questions when they answer how the pool magically appeared out of nowhere.
7 Doggett and Coates's toxic relationship
Tiffany Doggett is one of the most interesting characters in OITNB, with a solid organic arc from meth addict, to religious fanatic, to a sensible person who chooses the well-being of others before her own.
She learns from her mistakes and becomes friends with Big Boo, someone she used to condemn for being a lesbian. Sadly, things get much worse for Doggett after she becomes friends with officer Coates. While seemingly harmless at first, Coates quickly turns sadistic and ends up abusing her.
The worst part is that the writers decide to humanize Coates to the point of making him Doggett’s love interest.
Yes, her attacker is now her boyfriend. They turned him into an apologetic, sweet man who just needed some education from Doggett’s part so he could learn not to hurt women. Yikes.
6 What year is it?
The pilot season of OITNB premiered back in 2013 and we can also assume that is the same year when Piper Chapman goes to prison. Also, when Piper is in prison she asks Larry not to watch Mad Men without her, a show that ends in 2015.
As the seasons go on, it has been more than five years for the viewers but it’s only been a few months-- a year tops-- for the inmates of Litchfield. It should be some time in 2014, maybe 2015, but the inmates keep referring to current events, mentioning in passing things like the #MeToo movement and the current government administration. At one point Taystee even asks if Beyoncé and Jay-Z got divorced.
5 Daya makes all the mistakes
While Daya is a compelling character who starts off with a forbidden romance and a severe case of mommy issues, she can’t seem to make the right choice. Ever.
It is a bad idea, on every level, to get involved with a CO, but that never stopped Daya.
After she becomes pregnant, she decides to pin it on Mendez.
After she stops following her mother’s advice, Daya joins Maria’s crew, who end up taking her down the wrong path. Daya shoots Humphreys and the riot ensues.
If that weren’t enough, she gets dealing when she ends up in Max because she thinks she is never getting out. Has she not learned a single lesson?
4 The missing inmate count
There have been several continuity errors throughout the seasons in OITNB but the inmate count in season five takes the cake.
At the end of the three-day riot, an emergency response team enters the prison and forces the inmates to evacuate. The team does a head count and finds out ten inmates are missing. Caputo quickly realizes they must be hiding in the pool and they are found in the end.
There are more than ten inmates missing.
Linda, an MCC employer, was counted as a prisoner, which means there is an additional inmate missing. On top of that, Chang and Pennsatucky escaped through the fence, which brings it up to thirteen missing inmates. How many are actually missing?
3 Where is Chang?
After Chang and Doggett leave Litchfield through the fence, season six follows Doggett’s story. For the past few months, she’s been staying with CO Coates, working on their relationship. They are headed for a road trip when officer Dixon decides to join, thinking he is only going with his friend Coates. Eventually Doggett decides to turn herself in and she joins the other girls in Max.
However it is not until the episode "Mischief Mischief" in season six that Natalie Figueroa mentions Chang.
Apparently, Chang was found sleeping inside a deer carcass.
That is the only time she is mentioned. There are no further comments about her fate or if she is to join the other inmates in Max. Considering that Doggett ended up in the same place as the rest of them, why didn’t Chang?
2 There is not enough of Sophia
One thing no one should forgive OITNB for is how little we have seen of Laverne Cox’s character in the past few seasons. Easily one of the most interesting characters in an already interesting ensemble, Sophia Burset deserved more story time during the riot and even more so in season six.
Burset is the only trans inmate in Litchfield and constantly bears the transphobic behavior of both inmates and guards. Additionally, Burset carries a lot of guilt for what she’s done to her life and her family in order to become the woman she was meant to be.
After season one, Burset’s story line is reduced.
Aside from an interesting arc between her and Gloria about their children and their possible criminal behavior, Burset spends her time in SHU, off camera, or locked up in Max, off camera.
1 Poussey Washington’s fate
It has been two seasons since Poussey was written off from OITNB and we are still not over it. Before the riot began by the end of season Ffour, the inmates silently protested the guards’ treatment and things didn’t end well.
Office Coates accidentally suffocates Poussey while pinning her to the floor with his knee. The episode’s ending left audiences feeling profoundly sad for Poussey’s end, considering everything was starting to go well for her. She had a job lined up for when she’d be released and her relationship with Soso reached the "I love you" stage. All her good luck just made her demise that much more painful for the viewers.
It’s understandable that the writers wanted to add some emotional weight to the upcoming riot but sacrificing Poussey in order to get that was unforgivable.
What other problems do we ignore about Orange is the New Black? Let us know in the comments!