Since its inception, Orange is the New Black has been one of the most popular shows on Netflix among subscribers. Although a great deal of the show’s acclaim can be attributed to its writing, the visuals incorporated in the show help foster an element of realism. In fact, the second episode of the first season, Tit Punch, is an excellent demonstration of how well the series’ plot is evoked through its cinematography.
In the beginning of the episode, the lighting creates a grayish color scheme while the camera focuses on two different scenes in medium length shots. This particular segment of the show depicts Red, a well-respected cook in the jail, in a flashback with her husband who encourages her to socialize with some boisterous guests in their shop. The use of shots in this manner allows viewers to observe Red’s customers from her perspective and predict her subsequent actions. In addition to that, the segment’s grayish color arrangement essentially conveys Red’s emotions as she works up the courage to befriend her clienteles. As Red ventures towards them, her facial expressions and body language indicate how uncomfortable and uneasy she is with placing herself in that predicament. The consistency of the color pattern and sentiments in this clip assist in forming a clearer message for the audience.
A great example of how well the lighting establishes the mood would have to be the scene in which Piper visits her counselor. During the visitation Piper requests to be moved to a different prison because of the kitchen staff’s refusal to feed her. The only lighting in the room they are situated in comes from the counselor’s lamp, which is focused on the report he drafts for Piper’s complaints. Since the lamp serves as the only source of light in the room, all of the other areas appear to be either dimly lit or not lit at all. This contrast gives viewers the impression that Piper’s counselor is the only individual who can help resolve her dilemma. In other words, the lighting in this scene was symbolic of Piper’s sole glimmer of hope.
Another instance in which lighting asserts the mood occurs when Piper is seen sobbing over her present circumstances. In this segment, the entire room appears to be illuminated; however, Piper arranges herself in such a way that causes her to block the path of the light source. As a result of this, Piper’s shadow comes into view on the wall behind her. The presence of her shadow really showcases how she allows her sentiments to overcome her and essentially detach her from her surroundings.
All in all, the second episode of the first season makes extensive use of lighting and cinematography to captivate viewers. Although these characteristics are integrated into every episode of the series, the scenes in Tit Punch frequently rely on these visual elements to distinguish phenomena and alternatives from one another. The visual design of the show helps define a level of intimacy between the characters and viewers.