DRAMEDY: Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba in a scene from the TV series Orange is the New Black.
DRAMEDY: Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba in a scene from the TV series Orange is the New Black. Paul Schiraldi

How insidious can this TV series get?

INSIDIOUS.

Normally a word with nasty connotations.

Usually preceding "cancer" or "disease".

However in the case of ground-breaking TV, I don't know about you, but I delight in the thickening, insidious marinade that consumes me the more I watch.

Dexter, Newsroom, Friends, Roseanne: I am looking at you.

The plot, characters and sets seem to take over a portion of my life, both waking and asleep. I think about the show - what just happened, who might do what to whom, where it could go - almost all the time.

Is it any wonder when those crafty Latins gave us a word stemming from insidiae (to ambush) and insidere (to sit in or on). It is the word for a gradual development, a cumulative effect, something harmful but enticing.

A word that could go either way, good or bad, if you wanted to stick simple labels on things.

Every layer in the Orange Is The New Black mille-feuille proves everything from human tribes to right and wrong is black and white.

But in so doing, it masterfully implies the infinite shades of grey that must exist in between.

I came to this show late, and three episodes in, wondered what all the fuss was about. People raved about it, and yet no one could explain to me what it was.

And that, I now know after soaking up two seasons, is its secret weapon.

I had been a sheep-slave to tradition, wanting to put this new thing I was watching in a box with a label of my choosing. OITNB has been an education in the dangers of pigeon-holing.

I flinch when I see it nominated in the comedy category of various awards shows, but then realise it doesn't really fit into drama's shoes either. They created for it something called "dramedy", which I suppose is better than "coma".

I see lead Taylor Schilling as part of a comedy actor's round table and wonder why she's there.

Better suited, I think, to share starched white tablecloths and Evian-filled Old-Fashioneds with other actors surnamed Wright, Streep and Blanchett.

Watch through your fingers and wonder if Pornstache is going to crack a joke or an inmate's rib? Is Crazy Eyes going to wee on the floor or quote Greek chorus-insightful Shakespeare?

Will Nichols, Vause or Washington self-destruct or survive?

Something sinister bubbles under the surface here, but it is a brew rich with a humanity I know, and care for.

Like Gump's chocolates, I never know what I am going to get.

Good art should make you feel.

While the nutty mutterers scoffly assemble to debate whether television can constitute good art, this show makes me feel uncomfortable.

And I like it.

In news that broke just this week, Aussie Ruby Rose will star in season three.


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