For the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black, Spencer Kornhaber and Sophie Gilbert are discussing the series via recaps, taking turns to analyze one episode at a time. Spoilers abound; don’t read further than you’ve watched.
Episode Three, “(Don’t) Say Anything”
Read the review of the previous episode here.
To the question of whether Judy King is supposed to be Martha Stewart or Paula Deen, we have an answer: She’s no Deen, at least when it comes to racial sensitivity. “I get in more trouble for expanding those single-letter words, but never ‘N’s,” she told Brook Soso. “Despite this drawl, I am brighter than that.”
The fact that people might expect errant epithets based on King’s accent is a sign of the kind of prejudice that so much of this episode spent skewering. Brook’s entire storyline was a searing look at liberal shitheadedness, the mentality that wears the mantle of inclusion and enlightenment but doesn’t deeply understand—or maybe doesn’t really care—why those things are important; the irony of Soso and Judy’s interaction is that Soso herself had used the N-word earlier that day hanging out with Poussey. In the flashbacks, the 19-year-old Brook lept to the idea that a sex offender on the canvassing trail was a molester, and then employed the damaging stereotypes about him to bolster her own rep. In the present, she lept to the idea that her own girlfriend was raised in poverty, with her racism outweighing the stated facts about Poussey’s life. Every scene setting up and untangling this misunderstanding was wrenching and clever, capped with hot fire from Netflix against its old-school rival HBO: “I watched The Wire a lot—I made assumptions.”