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Álainn or Appallin’: Piper Chapman



With season 2 of Orange is the New Black coming to Netflix on tonight Friday June 6th (happy birthday to me) I thought we could take a look at the woman herself Piper Chapman, a character based on the real life experiences of Piper Kerman, writer of the book by the same name.

TV has many male anti-heroes from Dexter to House to Tony Soprano, but not that many ladies spring to mind.  For me Piper is a great anti-hero, she’s not the most likeable person in the world but I just can’t help myself from rooting for her as she desperately tries to understand her situation.

Piper is serving 15 months in New York’s Litchfield prison for drug smuggling, a crime she committed 10 years ago whilst dating Alex Vause.  Although she has moved on with her life and is engaged to Larry the writer, she meets up with Alex in prison and from there things get interesting.

As Piper tries to get to grips with the hierarchy of the prison she manages to get on the wrong side of a few inmates.  She alienates herself from Red who ran the kitchen, upsets her admirer Crazy Eyes and even messes with her intimidating room mate Miss Claudette.  Piper has gone as far as ending up in solitary.  However, dispite seemingly feeling sorry for herself she has her moments – telling her mother that being in prison is no ones fault but her own, standing up to officer Healy and telling a teenage delinquent how it is:

I’m like you Dina. I’m weak too. I can’t get through this without somebody to touch, without somebody to love. Is that because sex numbs the pain or is it because I’m some evil fuck monster? I don’t know. But I do know that I was somebody before I came in here. I was somebody with a life that I chose for myself and now, now it’s just about getting through the day without crying. And I’m scared. I’m still scared. I’m scared that I’m not myself in here and I’m scared that I am. Other people aren’t the scariest part of prison Dina. It’s coming face-to-face with who you really are because once you’re behind these walls there’s no where to run, even if you could run. The truth catches up with you in here Dina and it’s the truth that’s going to make you her bitch.

This is why I can’t help but like her and hope that she manages to make something worthwhile out of her experience with all of these amazing women.

So come on Piper, keep learning, keep growing and for God’s sake, sort out your love life!

and just cause it’s fun

Piper Chapman

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One Comment

  • For me, Piper certainly has her moments, but the show’s ongoing struggles with labelling her as anything other than merely gay or straight is really frustrating for me to watch as a non-monosexual who is also a really big fan of the show. S2 is the first time we’ve heard the word ‘bi’ in relation to Piper’s sexuality, but it’s still presumed that Piper was either ‘gay for the stay’ or that she was lying to Larry about her attraction to him. Even though she SPECIFICALLY told Polly that she likes hot boys and hot girls… and then called herself ‘shallow’. Hmrph. I know the show is based off Piper Kerman’s expereinces, but you’d think with a storyline as diverse as OITNB’s, there’d be a little less biphobia, right?

    Caoimhe said:
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