Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 5-7: The Friends Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of CPU! loyal Friends – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – reconvened Around the Water Cooler for the next discussion in which we are Looking Back and reminiscing, this time about Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of CPU! favorite, mega-hit sitcom Friends.  This is the second part of a three part CPU! podcast series in which we talk, laugh, quote, and wax nostalgic about all things Friends! This episode was recorded in February 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Friends – if that is even possible – be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Stay tuned for Episode Three, the final episode, of our Friends Series, in which we cover Seasons 8-10 and each panelist’s Top 10 Best and Bottom 10 Worst episodes – next week!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 5-7: The Friends Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#24) & Recommended By Viewers Like You

Image result for friends season 5 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Friends,” an American television sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004 for ten seasons.

What: “Friends” features an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. 

SYNOPSIS

Rachel Green (Aniston) flees her wedding day and finds childhood friend Monica Geller (Cox), a New York City chef. They become roommates, and Rachel joins Monica’s group of single friends in their mid-20s: struggling actor Joey Tribbiani (LeBlanc), business professional Chandler Bing (Perry), masseuse and musician Phoebe Buffay (Kudrow), and newly divorced paleontologist Ross Geller (Schwimmer), Monica’s older brother. Rachel becomes a waitress at fictional Manhattan coffee house Central Perk; when not there, the group is usually at Monica and Rachel’s nearby West Village apartment or Joey and Chandler’s place across the hall. Episodes depict the friends’ comedic and romantic adventures and career issues.

When: The show aired on NBC from 1994-2004; Seasons 5, 6, and 7 spanned 1998-2001.

Where: The show is set primarily in Manhattan, New York City, New York and even more primarily in the West Village, wherein the characters live in spacious, rent-controlled apartments (well, Rachel and Monica do).

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Friends. They are all personal and occasionally touching.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Friends as much as I do, I decided to invite some true Friends of Friends to participate in a three-part podcast series during which we will take a critical look back at a sitcom that continues to tickle our collective funny bones while tugging at our TV-loving hearts. In this three-part series, our panel – comprised of all CPU! regulars, namely Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – look back at Friends and reminisce about a show that has, for the most part and somewhat controversially (as we discuss in our series), withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television situation comedies of all time.

We have already recorded one episode in this series, Looking Back at Friends Seasons 1-4. You can listen to that episode here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Friends Series, Episode One, Seasons 1-4

In this second episode of CPU!’s Friends series, our panel discusses the middle three seasons of Friends, covering the series’ arguably best seasons and its enduring and unshakable reign of international popularity. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of this program, which aired on Thursday nights on NBC for the entirety of its run.

Plus, Friends constitutes another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Friends’ Best Of!:

  • #21 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #28 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #7 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #5 in 2016
  • #1 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #26 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Friends ranks at #24 on the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, sight gags, jokes, and quotes of the Seasons 5-7 of Friends! Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Friends panel triumphantly and victoriously returns to the Water Cooler with the triumphant and victorious final of our three-part discussion Looking Back at the beloved sitcom du jourFriends! In the next episode, we talk Seasons 8-10, i.e. the Last One or the One with All the Babies and Paul Rudd, as well as discuss each panelist’s Top 10 Favorite and Bottom 10 Least Favorite episodes of the series. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Friends – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the 25 years since it premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written shows about people being friends because, hey, it’s not just a clever name.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this sitcom was once ahead of its time and is now as popular as ever, even if it is comprised of some dated humor; however, Friends influenced so many other multi-camera, situation comedies to follow and remains a (mostly) timelessly funny, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry and youthful commentary that is hard not to love, whatever flaws it might have. Friends is endlessly quotable, and the series represents an enduring statement on the Gen X experience, with some eternally applicable situations to which anyone entering their twenties, when their job’s a joke, they’re broke, and their love life is DOA, would relate. This critically and popularly lauded program has a bit of everything, and, if you love to laugh, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Friends. Just be aware, a small fraction of the humor doesn’t transcend its original context, and not all of the episodes are home-runs, but most hit the funny bone in all the right places. The panelists further feel that any new viewer, if such an individual exists, would be hard pressed not to laugh at least at those episodes that, without argument, hit it out of the park. In short, Friends will be there for you, as there is nothing like the consistency of a well-written, well-performed comedy. Could we BE anymore effusive in this recommendation? (No. The answer is no. How YOU doin’?).

All ten seasons of Friends are currently available to stream only at Netflix, though the Warner Brothers company is launching its own streaming service, expected to appear in late 2019, at which time it will begin streaming some of its hallmark properties of modern television, Friends included. In the meantime, the CPU! Friends Series panel will return next week with Episode 3, the final episode, of this series, in which we talk Seasons 8-10 of the mega-hit sitcom as well as review each panelist’s Top 10 Best and Bottom 10 Worst episodes. Until then!

Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 1-4: The Friends Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of CPU! loyal Friends – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – gathered together Around the Water Cooler for a longer than usual discussion in which we are Looking Back and reminiscing about the first four seasons of CPU! favorite, mega-hit sitcom Friends.  This is the first part of a three part CPU! podcast series in which we talk, laugh, quote, and wax nostalgic about all things Friends! This episode was recorded in February 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Friends – if that is even possible – be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Stay tuned for Episode Two of our Friends Series, in which we cover Seasons 5-7 – next week!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 1-4: The Friends Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#24) & Recommended By Viewers Like You

Image result for friends season 1 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Friends,” an American television sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004 for ten seasons.

What: “Friends” features an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. 

SYNOPSIS

Rachel Green (Aniston) flees her wedding day and finds childhood friend Monica Geller (Cox), a New York City chef. They become roommates, and Rachel joins Monica’s group of single friends in their mid-20s: struggling actor Joey Tribbiani (LeBlanc), business professional Chandler Bing (Perry), masseuse and musician Phoebe Buffay (Kudrow), and newly divorced paleontologist Ross Geller (Schwimmer), Monica’s older brother. Rachel becomes a waitress at fictional Manhattan coffee house Central Perk; when not there, the group is usually at Monica and Rachel’s nearby West Village apartment or Joey and Chandler’s place across the hall. Episodes depict the friends’ comedic and romantic adventures and career issues.

When: The show aired on NBC from 1994-2004; the first four seasons spanned 1994-1998.

Where: The show is set primarily in Manhattan, New York City, New York and even more primarily in the West Village, wherein the characters live in spacious, rent-controlled apartments (well, Rachel and Monica do).

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Friends. They are all personal and occasionally touching.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Friends as much as I do, I decided to invite some true Friends of Friends to participate in a three-part podcast series during which we will take a critical look back at a sitcom that continues to tickle our collective funny bones while tugging at our TV-loving hearts. In this three-part series, our panel – comprised of all CPU! regulars, namely Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – look back at Friends and reminisce about a show that has, for the most part and somewhat controversially (as we discuss in our series), withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television situation comedies of all time.

In this first episode of CPU!’s Friends series, our panel discusses the first four seasons of Friends, covering the series’ somewhat uneven beginning as well as its initial growing pains and catapult to international popularity. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of the first four seasons of this program, which aired on Thursday nights on NBC for the entirety of its run.

Plus, Friends constitutes another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Friends’ Best Of!:

  • #21 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #28 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #7 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #5 in 2016
  • #1 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #26 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Friends ranks at #24 on the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, sight gags, jokes, and quotes of the first four seasons of Friends! Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Friends panel triumphantly and victoriously returns to the Water Cooler with the triumphant and victorious second of our three-part discussion Looking Back at the beloved sitcom du jour: Friends! In the next episode, we talk Seasons 5-7, i.e. the One with All the Chandler and Monica. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Friends – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the 25 years since it premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written shows about people being friends because, hey, it’s not just a clever name.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this sitcom was once ahead of its time and is now as popular as ever, even if it is comprised of some dated humor; however, Friends influenced so many other multi-camera, situation comedies to follow and remains a (mostly) timelessly funny, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry and youthful commentary that is hard not to love, whatever flaws it might have. Friends is endlessly quotable, and the series represents an enduring statement on the Gen X experience, with some eternally applicable situations to which anyone entering their twenties, when their job’s a joke, they’re broke, and their love life is DOA, would relate. This critically and popularly lauded program has a bit of everything, and, if you love to laugh, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Friends. Just be aware, a small fraction of the humor doesn’t transcend its original context, and not all of the episodes are home-runs, but most hit the funny bone in all the right places. The panelists further feel that any new viewer, if such an individual exists, would be hard pressed not to laugh at least at those episodes that, without argument, hit it out of the park. In short, Friends will be there for you, as there is nothing like the consistency of a well-written, well-performed comedy. Could we BE anymore effusive in this recommendation? (No. The answer is no. How YOU doin’?).

All ten seasons of Friends are currently available to stream only at Netflix, though the Warner Brothers company is launching its own streaming service, expected to appear in late 2019, at which time it will begin streaming some of its hallmark properties of modern television, Friends included. In the meantime, the CPU! Friends Series panel will return next week with Episode 2 of this series, in which we talk Seasons 5-7 of the mega-hit sitcom. Until then!

Orange is the New Black, Season 6 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of feisty inmates – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Amanda, and Andrew – is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we review and recap Season 6, officially the penultimate season, of Orange is the New Black.  This episode was recorded in April 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen OITNB through the sixth season, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” the Season 6 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black” is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others show her no mercy. In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: Netflix released Season 6 to its streaming library on July 27, 2018, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The show is set in upstate New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-5 below:

Season 2

Season 3, Part One

Season 3, Part Two

Season 4

Season 5

Our OITNB-oriented Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, Amanda, and Andrew – triumphantly, if belatedly, return to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season 6 of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  We engaged in our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge – “to the max” – in the sixth season. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of the sixth season’s cliffhangers going into Season 7, which Netflix announced would be the show’s final season in fall 2018?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in April 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season 6. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday – AT LONG LAST! – and after nearly two years of advertising it, a new retrospective panel of tough-to-schedule members arrives triumphantly, with an Armageddon-inspired walk down the long hallway of our podcasting lives, and sits squarely and victoriously around the Water Cooler. There, they engage in the first of a three-part discussion Looking Back at all time mega-hit 90s sitcom (cue trumpets and the Rembrandts): Friends!  Yes, folks, CPU! will finally be there for you. We always keep our promises and our Central Perks. Eventually. Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).

NEW ANSWER: Piper is released from prison at the end of this season after a guard, Hopper, decides to manipulate the system to protect his role in smuggling drugs into the prison, which he does along with Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who he is seeing sexually and who begins living with him and his “Nana” this season. Also, officially, the show has one season left. So, unless Piper gets herself re-arrested, contrary to the trajectory of the real-life inspiration behind the Piper character, we believe we can remove this question from the list. The question we have now centers on how and if Piper will maintain relationships with those she left behind at the maximum security prison, her now wife Alex included.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback in Season 4 provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

REPEAT ANSWER: Unclear.  OITNB does not revisit Suzanne’s back story at any point this season.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

NEW ANSWER: She has zero time left in prison as of the Season 6 finale. In one of the final moments of the season, Piper is leaving prison as a kickball game, that she helped to bring to life, plays on without her.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see Healy (Michael Harney) again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

NEW ANSWER: Healy makes a brief appearance this season when Caputo (Nick Sandow) attempts to seek help, information, and a reckoning following the Season 5 riot. In their conversation, Healy shares that he left the mental institution, and that he gained calm and a sense of spirituality, and he advises Caputo to “move on” from his dogged pursuits of truth and justice related to the riot. This conversation, as it was, seems rather final as a tie-off for Healy’s character, so we’ll leave this question off the list next time.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see Lolly (Lori Petty) again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

NEW ANSWER: Lolly, apparently, is transferred to Max and placed in the psych block there, i.e. Cell-block B, “Florida.” There, she finds some old friends like Suzanne and Frieda (Dale Soules); listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Where and when will Season 6 begin?  Will there be a time jump? Will the Litchfield inmates be in various other prisons?  Will they return to a rebuilt prison?  Will we see all of the inmates we saw at the end of Season 5?  Will the inmates hiding by the old swimming pool, including Piper, Alex, Red, Frieda, Blanca, and others, be subjected to more stringent punishment?  Will they all survive?  Will they be captured?

ANSWER: Season 6 immediately begins in Litchfield’s neighboring maximum security prison, with little time having passed between the events of the finale of Season 5 and the opening moments of Season 6. Many of the beloved (and less beloved) Litchfield Penitentiary inmates have been shipped off to other prisons, but most of the ladies we have been following and/or have grown to love (or to hate) have come to stay at “Max.” The swimming pool inmates are all shipped to Max and begin the season in solitary, Cell Block A, only to be transferred when they are able to provide statements as to their guilt or innocence and/or helpful, relatively speaking, testimony related to the cause of and/or influence on the events of the Season 5 riot. All of the inmates from Season 5 appear to survive, and all of the swimming pool inmates are captured by the SWAT team that invades Litchfield Minimum at the end of the fifth season; in the case of Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) and Suzanne, they are captured later than the others because Cindy and Suzanne hide for a time until they are discovered in their hiding place by the armed guards.

7) What will happen to the guards originally left in the prison and captured by the prisoners?  What fallout, if anything, will they receive?

ANSWER: The guards receive no fallout. Though Piscatella dies as a result of “friendly fire” by the SWAT team assigned to quell the prison riot, the corporation, MCC, later re-branded by Linda The Worst as “PolyCon,” endeavors to cover up as much of the riot as it can and does so by scapegoating the prisoners, particularly Taystee (Danielle Brooks), who is positioned to be the “face” of the riot. When she is criminally charged for her role in the previous season’s melee, the prison attracts grassroots attention from the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and Taystee is provided a legal defense by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). On an individual level, however, Corrections Officer (CO) McCullough, the female guard who was particularly tortured by Maria (Jessica Pimentel) during the Season 5 riot, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the riot (coupled with being a veteran), while each of the remaining guards that make the transfer from Litchfield Minimum to Max deal with post-riot processing in their own way.

8) Will Piper and Alex marry in prison, and will this proposed marriage make Piper a more likable character?  Is that even possible?

ANSWER: Yes, Piper and Alex arrange a good old-fashioned prison wedding, with witnesses Nicky and Lorna (Yael Stone) along with Cindy and Flaca (Jackie Cruz) present to celebrate. Whether this wedding and ensuing marriage will make Piper more likable in the end will depend upon her behavior as a free woman while Alex is left to rot in prison in Season 7. Since Piper achieves modest likability improvement in Season 6 via her efforts to act like a human and to organize a kickball game, and relative to B-villain Badison, who is the most annoying new character of the season, anything is possible.

9) Is this the end of Litchfield?

ANSWER: The minimum security penitentiary does not appear, except in flashbacks, in Season 6. One would assume that the corporation would need to time to rebuild after prison riots and meth-head perpetrated arson.

10) What will the fallout of the Litchfield riots be related to the company, the state, and the figureheads?  Will the company be assessed any consequences for its incompetent management of Litchfield?

ANSWER: The Litchfield riot becomes political fodder in Season 6, as MCC aka PolyCon must defend its actions before congressional hearings and the New York state governor. Unfortunately, the company makes the mistake of putting flunky Linda (The. Worst.) in charge as a settlement after losing her among the rioting prisoners in Season 5, when her position, in the end of season headcount, is not questioned in due diligence, since Pennsatuckey (Taryn Manning) escapes both the prison and the headcount in the Season 5 finale. Fortunately, Caputo is on the case and has made it his quest to ensure that the corporation faces consequences, and/or that Taystee is given a fair shake in her trial. Unfortunately, both fronts of that battle are decidedly uphill.

11) Will there be additional crossovers with other original Netflix series – or additional crossovers with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  Some of the panelists support this idea; some are less enthused with both this concept and with the crossover that occurred in Season 5.

ANSWER: There are no further crossovers of any type in Season 6, and the panelists did not seem to miss them, judging by the current discussion.

12) Are there any prisoners, especially prisoners that the viewer has known since the beginning, for which we have not seen flashback stories?  What flashback stories will see next season?

ANSWER: We see flashbacks covering the following circumstances: Cindy and Suzanne during the SWAT incursion at Litchfield Minimum; Cindy’s path to unplanned, teenage pregnancy; young Frieda’s rivalry with season villains Barb (Mackenzie Phillips) and Carol; Nicky’s bat mitzvah; a new Max inmate, a lesbian named Daddy, who takes a shine to Daya (Dascha Polanco) and who gets involved in pimping escorts and distributing drugs pre-prison; Badison, another Max inmate, and her origin story; Taystee’s life working fast food with her friend Tamika, who is a CO at Max; Barb and Carol’s back story, part one; and Barb and Carol’s back story, part two. If there are any inmates who have not been given flashback treatment, none of us know or can recall who they are. Plus, several of the inmates that we have known since the beginning were shipped to different prisons.

13) What was Frieda’s crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

ANSWER: The official answer is still, as yet, unknown, though Frieda admits to killing many people throughout the series.

14) Will the company or anyone else discover Linda, the company woman playing prisoner who is also The Worst, among the prisoners?

ANSWER: Linda is discovered in solitary as an unlisted prisoner and creates holy high hell when the mistake is unearthed, resulting in her ability to extort from the corporation a sizable financial settlement, a hefty raise, and a huge promotion that puts her in charge of Interim Warden Fig, who, so far other than Caputo, is the only official at the company who realizes that Linda is, simply, The Worst. Of course, Linda is now in charge of things, and that never bodes well, as we have learned from her flashback and general way of being.

Incidentally, Tuckey uses the same technique on Linda, blackmailing her with the information about her tryst with Big Boo in Season 5 to score a spot in Cell-Block B, the psych block (“Florida”). So, some karma is delivered in a satisfying way to Linda The Worst. Still, the Chief CP is personally voting for the tarring and feathering of Linda at some point. She is my least favorite character by far!

15) Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca and Maritza, be reunited?  Will Nicky and Morello?

ANSWER: Flaritza are not reunited; Maritza is shipped to a different prison, theoretically giving her more time to appear on Jane the Virgin and other high profile projects. Fortunately for a very pregnant Morello, Nicky and Lorna are reunited in Cell-Block D, Barb’s block, though that positions them squarely against Red (Kate Mulgrew), who lands in C-Block and aligns with Carol to survive, as Barb and Carol are sibling rivals who choose to agree only when it comes to their enmity against Frieda. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Will Daya ever get to see her baby again?

ANSWER: Since Daya enters a guilty plea for second degree murder this season, in order to avoid the death penalty for her role in the riot and in former CO Humps’ murder, earning a life prison sentence instead, chances are very slim. Daya even calls Pornstache’s mother to tell her how to find Daya’s baby, so that the little tyke will have a good life and proper care. Daya subsequently proceeds to, essentially, give in to Daddy’s advances and to give up mentally by developing an oxy addiction, particularly after the other women on her block beat her regularly following her guilty plea. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) Will Piper maintain relationships with her prison friends? How will she conduct married life when she’s out of jail, and Alex remains in prison?

2) Will we see any of the inmates who were shipped to other prisons again in the final season? I think the panelists particularly missed Big Boo, Soso, and Maritza.

3) Who will fill the vacuum created in Barb and Carol’s absence? Will Alex take on the power role in place of Carol? Will Red? Will Gloria (Selenis Levya) step up in Barb’s absence? Will Daddy?

4) What is wrong with Lorna at season’s end? Will her baby survive?

5) Will the show check in with Blanca (Laura Gomez) next season after she is turned over to INS in the sixth season finale?

6) Will PolyCon get into some sort of significant trouble for incompetent management? Will Jason Biggs return with a triumphant story of investigative journalism exposing the mismanagement and corruption of the corporation?

7) Will we see Judy King or Yoga Jones again?

8) Will the show focus on the core group of prisoners, or will it introduce even more new prisoners in the show’s final season?

9) Will there be a time jump?

10) Will Frieda’s fate be death in prison?

11) Will Taystee be sentenced to death? How will she confront Cindy’s betrayal? How will Cindy atone for that betrayal?

12) Will Gloria or Red survive their transfer to solitary confinement, particularly since Gloria was put in solitary roughly by “fantasy inmate” kingpin, CO Alvarez? Will they be allowed to move back to Gen Pop next season?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel proved much more tepid about the sixth season than about some of the seasons preceding it.  Most panelists felt that the transition to “Max” was an engaging new backdrop for the inmates in which we have invested six seasons’ worth of viewing time, though the backdrop did not necessarily entice or sustain on all story fronts when all was said and done, particularly in lieu of the volume of new characters introduced this season, which also monopolized some of the flashback storytelling and not always successfully.  Though some of the panelists found themselves reluctant to start this most recent season, all panelists also noted that once they began watching Season 6, the story, including the bevy of new characters, managed to engage them once again.  The panel further warmed to Piper, believing that she continues to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  

All in all, though, the panel reached a repeat consensus of opinion: the story trajectory remained mostly compelling but for some jarring origin stories for the season’s new villains, namely Badison, Barb, and Carol. At the same time, with the release of several inmates, including Piper, by season’s end; the transfer of several inmates to prisons unseen; and the lack of a tense cliffhanger in the finale, the panelists also all agree that calling Season 7 the final season is a smart move, which will, hopefully, allow the show to go out on a strong note.  The entire panel plans to continue to watch the show and Season 7 to find out what happens at the last, particularly given the increasing separation of the main characters and the uncertain fates of vulnerable individuals, such as Blanca. The panel additionally hopes that viewers will be given glimpses of character fates, if not fateful reunions of separated characters in the remaining episodes.  Of course, the panel acknowledges that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch and maintains high hopes and expectations that Season 7 will continue the overarching, excellent quality of storytelling that has characterized Orange is the New Black since its premiere. The panelists, finally, ultimately, hope that the series finale will finish as powerfully as the series has generally played for the whole of its Netflix run.

LOOKING AHEAD

Orange is the New Black had already been renewed for a seventh season as of 2017, though Netflix announced in fall 2018 that Season 7 would be the show’s last. Season 7 is tentatively slated to premiere in summer 2019, after which our panel of #orangepeels (wait…that’s not a thing?) will reconvene a final time with a two-part goodbye miniseries in which we recap the final season and Look Back at the unlikely comedy-drama as a whole. Until then!

CPU! LIVE! @ Blue Bridge Games – “A Shiny Look Back at Firefly” (MAJOR SPOILERS)


In honor of the tabletop and role playing gaming industry, which respects a good show when it sees it by adapting excellent TV concepts and transforming them into awesome games, CPU! visited our former Grand Rapids Comic Con sponsor, and our current episode sponsor, Blue Bridge Games, a new game store in Grand Rapids, Michigan! There, we took a “Shiny Look Back at Firefly” and also totted out one of our spicy feature formats, “Top 5,” though we had a few false starts, given that some of our panelists were new to the feature and were less than prepared for the spicy constructs contained therein.  Listen as our six resident Browncoats – Chief Couch Potato/Moderator Kylie, Sarah, Spencer, Kelsey, Selene, Christian, and special guest Margaret – enter into a “gorram” reminiscence about one of the greatest “gone too soon” tragedies of television history while attempting to rank our most favorite aspects of said series – when we can finally agree on one of four (more or less) prepared topics to debate.

This podcast was recorded live on March 31, 2019, with associated video; this is the audio recording of the event! As always, if you have not watched any of Firefly, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Audio/Video Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Social Media Marketing and Graphics: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville