A TV Aha Moment

I didn’t livestream anything until my youngest child offered to share her account with me. This came about one day when she was using my TV to watch her stuff, and I asked her how to livestream. She put me on her account, and the rest is history. I’ve been able to watch shows on Hulu and Netflix (I have the old-fashioned kind of Netflix, which is crazy, I know).

This past weekend I watched the first episode, season 7, of Orange is the New Black. One of the evil characters turned her head just so, and I recognized her as the oldest daughter on Last Man Standing. Could it be the same person? It didn’t sound like the same person with her Boston or Brooklyn accent (I can’t tell which). She is no longer a well-dressed restaurant manager with a son named Boyd and a tree-hugger husband. Instead, she is a loud-mouthed nasty prisoner looking to screw with Piper’s girlfriend.

Somehow, I missed a season of OITNB. I don’t remember Piper getting out of jail.

Still not convinced that the actor was the same person in those two shows, I finally Googled it. Yup, Amanda Fuller plays both roles.

In the olden days, I would’ve argued with five people before I knew the answer, pointing out the weight gain on Last Man and the heavy actress on OITNB.  The hair color doesn’t match, either. But that face! After watching Last Man Standing in its syndicated glory, I recognized those cheek bones.

Last Man Standing is about a Republican sporting goods manager living in Denver. His wife and three daughters have lots of problems that he, of course, helps to fix. The well-cast cast includes a doofy boyfriend/husband named Kyle who also works at the sporting goods store, a black couple for neighbors, and the loveable Hector Elizondo as the sporting goods store owner.

Orange is the New Black has a cast of motley prisoner characters. It has been a great venue for actors of color (BIPOC). Look at Uzo Aduba as crazy Suzanne, transgender Laverne Cox as Sophia, and Dashka Polanco as Dayonara. The list goes on and on for outstanding black and Latina roles found nowhere else on mainstream TV.

The series is based on a book by a for-real white girl, Piper Chapman, who went to prison. She wrote a best seller, and voila, what should have died after one season, has gone to live on, year after year. We can thank Jenji Kohan for keeping it alive.

TV can be really bad, or it can be really good. I don’t have all the streaming services that everyone else seems to have. I had to go to a friend’s house to see Hamilton the movie on the Disney channel. I was the last person to see the chess movie, The Queen’s Gambit. I have yet to see a single episode of Game of Thrones, but that’s because I have a zero tolerance for blood and gore, no matter how cool the dragons are.

My one exception to that is Yellowstone. Yes, there is blood and/or gore in every episode, but it’s short, and I can look away, then look back at the beautiful Montana scenery along with the beautiful Kevin Costner.

Reality TV, to me, is a big waste of time. It’s fine in the background if you are doing something else, but to watch two hours of the Bachelorette? Pure torture.

Unless you are my daughter. She loves it.

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