Netflix’s latest über-buzzy show Orange is the New Black premiered about one week ago. Eight simple turns of the Earth. If Orange is the New Black were a normal show, the second episode would have aired last night. But it is not; it is a Netflix original show, which means all 13 episodes were available to stream at once and everyone, it seems, already has. Except me.
It isn’t for a lack of trying that I haven’t yet finished all 13 episodes. The night I started the show, I powered through “I Wasn’t Ready,” “Tit Punch” and “Lesbian Request Denied” (fun fact: Jodie Foster directed that episode) without stopping. Since then, I’ve finished two more, but still that’s only five of 13. Avoiding spoilers has been tricky, sure, but the worst feeling is that I’m afraid everyone will be done talking about it by the time I’m finished.
Some say the idea of a water cooler show is old-fashioned, but trying logging onto Twitter on during an episode of Mad Men. People are talking — more than ever — they’re just talking in a different place. I don’t have a television, but I do have a Netflix account (my own), a Hulu account (borrowed) and an HBO Go account (stolen), so I’m able to stay up-to-date enough on the shows I watch to know that the correct response when someone says, “oh my god how upset are you about Sybil?!?!?!?!” Staying current for one hour a week is easy enough, but to keep up with a 13-episode show that’s meant to be watched as quickly as possible? That’s an entirely new social phobia, one I’ll call “Netflix FOMO.”
For those who aren’t watching Orange is the New Black, here’s a quick primer. Piper (played by Taylor Schilling, the lady who got to make out with Zac Efron in The Lucky One) is headed to a federal prison. She carried drug money for her girlfriend 10 years ago and it’s come back to bite her in the ass. Her fiancé is played by Jason Biggs, who mostly just masturbates, from what I’ve seen so far. In prison, Piper meets a quirky cast of characters who are alternately depressing, threatening and delightful. For those who appreciate nostalgia, the prison’s yoga instructor is played by Constance Shulman, otherwise known as the voice of Patti Mayonnaise. As only Jenji Kohan (creator of Weeds) can, the show is both wickedly funny and strikingly dark. It deals with race and LGBTQ issues in a way that I’ve never seen on television before, not coming off as either preachy or insensitive. The show is also shot in my neighborhood (hey Astoria!) which adds to the fun.
But if Netflix shows are going to be A Thing now — and Netflix’s 15 Emmy nominations suggests that they will — how are we going to make sure we aren’t missing out? Keeping up with the online world can, at times, feel like a Herculean task. The world moves so fast, thanks to the internet. But, when it’s possible, it’s nice to slow down, to enjoy something as simple as a television show. And let yourself have something to look forward to.
The second season of Orange is the New Black won’t be out until 2014, anyway, and I’m sure I’ll have finished the first season by then, at least.