Thursday, May 23, 2024

“Orange is the New Black” Returns with a Hilarious Season 4 Opener


Overnight tonight, “Orange is the New Black” returns to Netflix with 13 episodes. We saw the first one tonight at a cast screening and a hot after party at the Boom Boom Room– er, Top of the Standard. Rosie O’Donnell dropped in to congratulate the cast. From what I can tell, this season will be akin to the “Veep” Renaissance going on at HBO.

Andrew McCarthy — of “Brat Pack” fame– directed this episode- his 9th so far for this series, and did a terrific job. All the regulars are back and there are some new characters. But the main newbies are Brad William Henke as Desi Piscatella, a new prison guard who will be terrorizing everyone, and Blair Brown returns as Judy King, the Martha Stewart character who will now do time in Litchfield.

And yes, we still have what’s become this all star regular cast of Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Lori Petty, Taylor Schilling, Lea Delaria, Danielle Brooks, and Laura Prepon. The main story picks up where Season 3 ended, with the women having escaped the prison for a romp in the lake. Prepon’s Alex is in trouble but is saved quickly by Petty’s Whitehill. Not to give a spoiler, but let’s just say they turn into real cut ups. Petty steals the episode.

Show creator Jenji Kohan, who also created and wrote “Weeds,” comes from a comedy family. Her father, Buz Kohan, is a legend in Hollywood: he wrote 110 episodes of the Carol Burnett Show. He also wrote countless Academy Awards shows and TV specials for every major star from Frank Sinatra to Richard Pryor to Cher to Bette Midler and so on. Her brother David created “Will and Grace.”

I asked, Do you have Passover seders together?

Jenji said, “We do!”

Do you get all the way through them, I wondered? They must be hilarious.

She said, “They’re not as funny as they should be, believe me.”

But “OITNB” is, and I’m glad I’m all paid up on Netflix. It’s going to be a weekend of being watching!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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