Orange is the New Black Review: “Where My Dreidel At”/“A Tittin’ and a Hairin’”

(Episode 3.09/3.10)

TV Reviews Orange Is The New Black
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<i>Orange is the New Black</i> Review: &#8220;Where My Dreidel At&#8221;/&#8220;A Tittin&#8217; and a Hairin&#8217;&#8221;

Here we are in the back half of the third season and I’ve come to a startling realization: I’m just not that interested in the storylines the show is investing the majority of its time in. Alex thinking the girl from A League of Their Own is stalking her? Yawn. Piper getting into the panty business? Sure it’s funny, but it’s a little one-note. Piper cheating on Alex at the first sign of trouble? Only makes me like her less.

The show is really missing a dramatic thrust. Last season, Vee provided the show with a direction and a central force to build the action around. This season the show is playing more like a series of vignettes with characters we adore. (And really not even all the characters we adore, since I feel Nicky’s absence acutely.) It’s fun to see them and spend time with them, but it’s not the amazing television we’ve come to expect from Orange.

Also I’d like to point out that famous chef Judy King has had time to go on trial, get convicted and receive her sentencing and Daya is STILL PREGNANT. I don’t know why, but I just can’t get past her never ending pregnancy. It’s been a constant distraction this season. I know when you’re pregnant it can seem like forever, but it actually is only 40 weeks. Have the baby already.

Still, “Where My Dreidel At” is overall perhaps the funniest episode the show has ever done. A rabbi is brought in to ferret out who really is Jewish and who is just enjoying the delicious kosher meals. It leads to some great lines, particularly Cindy screaming out the title of the episode and talking about Annie Hall and Yentil during her interview. Cindy deserves her own spin off.

Red spends her time going from table to table telling everyone she had nothing to do with the food. And Crazy Eyes’ extremely graphic novel has the entire prison aflutter, giving her the acceptance that has thus far alluded her. But when a fellow prisoner Maureen flirts with her, Suzanne is unable to act on Maureen’s advances, reminding us of how truly childlike Suzanne is.

And all this time we thought Lorna had moved on from Christopher and put all her energy into finding a new guy. She was actually just looking for a guy she could send to beat up Christopher, which she found in a suitor straight out of The Sopranos.

We also learn about Leanne’s Amish upbringing and how she went full throttle into rumspringa. When she decided to return home and be baptized, her parents welcomed her back and she felt loved and comforted… until the police force her to wear a wire against all her friends. When she returns home after that, she is shunned and eventually leaves. Leanne is the most committed to the cult of Norma and, much like she was shunned, she tries to ostracize SoSo from the group.

Pennsatucky’s backstory was much harder to bear. We already knew her mother was the worst. But she took it to a whole new level when she tells 10-year-old Tiffany, who has just gotten her period, that now men will want sex and she should give it to them. As a teen Tiffany trades sex for cases of Mountain Dew, until she gets a nice boyfriend who shows her that sex can be a wonderful thing and that relationships can be mutual. At Litchfield, Tiffany befriends the new, untrained and unqualified prison guard Coates. The two share donuts and feed the ducks… and then he makes her act like a dog and kisses her. But, she’s still Tiffany, and with her perception of men permanently warped, thinks she likes him. But then he rapes her. And it’s awful, and terrible and made my heart break. She’s also raped in a flashback and we realize how truly awful her life has been. Her whole story line made me want to hug my daughter a little tighter.

Pornstache’s mom Delia goes to visit him in prison and tells him that Daya’s baby isn’t his. This is, of course, potentially good news because it could mean that Pornstache could get out of prison sooner. But he doesn’t see it that way. He’s in love. Delia goes to visit Daya again and once again offers to adopt the baby. This time Daya agrees.

Meanwhile, Gloria and Sophia battle it out over their sons. Sophia thinks Gloria’s son is a bad influence on Michael but Michael is pretty much doing bad all by himself. I’m so glad Sophia has a story line this season and I like the show exploring how an adolescent Michael would deal with both having a transgendered parent and having a parent in jail. Sophia takes her worry for Michael out on Gloria and realizes too late that this is what she’s doing.

Alex confronts Lolly only to realize that she’s had a complete break with reality. Or has she? With this show, you never know. What I do know is that the Alex/Lolly story line is bad, bad, bad.

Other thoughts on “Where My Dreidel At” and “A Tittin’ and a Hairin:’”

“Federline is the white trash Federline”

Even though Judy King has been sentenced to another prison I have to think she’ll end up at Litchfield. Why would they have cast Blair Brown if we weren’t going to be seeing more of her?

“I hear Mandy Patinkin can be difficult to work with.”

Luschek is not the brightest bulb. He doesn’t even know he should pretend to be upset about losing hours and pay.

I can only suspect that Piper is going to get caught. She has truly become a completely distasteful character this season.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.