Did Orange is the New Black S5 Jump the Shark?

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Season 5 of Orange is the New Black has been the most controversial season yet even surpassing season 3 in many people’s eyes. The series has faced a significant shift since its first episode was released back in 2013 moving away from a story solely about the real life Piper into its own living and breathing series.

The most asked question about season 5 is whether or not it jumped the shark. Two of our staffers disagree on this, so let’s hear out the arguments and then you can make your voice heard below.

Orange is the New Black Season 5 DID jump the shark

Argument by Kasey Moore

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I couldn’t stand Orange is the New Black this season. That’s coming from someone who watched all the previous seasons within the first few days of the each seasons release. This season felt forced and completely uninspired thanks to an overarching plot which feels limp and purely a setup for season 6. The ridiculous shenanigans the cell mates got up to this season took away any kind of realism the first few seasons developed.

The most annoying thing this season was the writing of each character. Every character felt like an over exaggerated caricature of themselves throughout with each scene revolving around a witty punchline that falls flat almost every time.

After the climatic end of season 4 which conjured emotion on every front, mainly in part down to Poussey’s demise. I felt that season 5 could shift the show into a more sitcom which is ultimately a shame as the build up to this season was fantastic.

The show has now been renewed up to season 8 which is rare for a Netflix show given that they usually (and this applies to most networks) get renewed on a yearly basis. Could this bulk season purchase have made the writing staff too comfortable?

If you look at Genji’s (the shows creator) previous work in Weeds, you can see Orange is the New Black following the same kind of pattern with each season towards the end gradually decreasing in quality. You could argue she’s already jumped off the sinking ship having now focused her efforts in Netflix’s other show, GLOW.

For years, many have wondered whether the show would lean more towards the drama side or the comedy side and it’s clear that they’re now going for the comedy side but without a laugh track and without the comedy. Most will now look to Wentworth to pick up the pieces and it’s clear as to why.

Orange is the New Black Season 5 DID NOT jump the shark

Argument by Cheryl Greenway

I liked this season just as much as any of the others, perhaps more. (Yes, I’m talking about you, season 3.) While I won’t say I felt the season was forced, I will say that because the timeline was so dramatically compressed, each shift in mood was more obvious. It was more of a lurch than a transition. But the season itself seemed to be a look at society as a whole and shaking up the power structure.

I’ve always found the show funny, and didn’t see any of these “punch lines.” Just humor where it always was. If anything, I believe the show was much darker the last few episodes than it has ever been. It has always been about the empowerment of women, looking at the humiliations they have to endure, how their own self-worth can suffer over time.

Watching Piscatella hunt down and actually enjoy torturing these women took the show to a black, terrifying place. At the same time, it was done as a horror movie. Again, balancing the insanely depressing with humor.

I don’t think they have by any means gone all the places they have to go. There are more stories to be told at Litchfield. Let’s just have them happening over more than 3 days, ok?

Now it’s over to you. Do you feel that the latest season of Orange is the New Black jumped the shark? Let us know in the comments down below.

Did Orange is the New Black S5 Jump the Shark?

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Founder and webmaster of What's on Netflix. Based in Norwich in the United Kingdom, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for a decade having started the site in 2013. Contact: [email protected]