Let me start off with a simple sentiment: if you’re not watching Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, you’re doing it all wrong. Netflix has been nailing it with their original programming and OITNB may be their best series yet. It’s dramatic, it’s hilarious, it has forbidden love, a guy named “Pornstache,” a theme song by Regina Spektor and a cast that is freakin’ adorable on Instagram… basically, everything it takes to make a show critically acclaimed and popularly successful.
It feels like everyone is talking about OITNB (or maybe I just feel that way because I’m talking about it all the time to anyone who will listen), and for good reason. There’s a ton of interesting discourse to be had regarding the criminal justice system, the prison system, the LGBT community, the dynamics between inmates and correctional officers in a women’s prison, et cetera, et cetera. But the real draw of this show is its characters. I could write odes to the adorable, lovesick CO John Bennett and rants about the psycho, Jesus-obsessed Pennsatucky and essays on the enigma that is Crazy Eyes. But what’s even more entertaining than the characters themselves is their relationships with one another. The show explores so many different facets of female relationships. There are romances, there are fuck buddies, but most of all there are some truly awesome besties in Litchfield Federal Prison. Here are some of OITNB’s most excellent womances (like a bromance, but for girls. Get it?):
Big Boo/Little Boo
Tbh, I’m not even one hundred percent positive Little Boo is a girl, but there’s that whole saying about dog being (wo)man’s best friend. Also, how awesome is it that Big Boo gets to care for a dog in prison? Like, that’s a pretty sweet deal. It’s clear they adore each other, and if you can’t trust your dog to be there for you, who can you?
Piper/Crying Lady At The Phones
Perhaps the most underrated friendship in the entire series. If you watched closely (especially in the early episodes), you noticed that whenever Piper called home to her fiancé Larry or best friend Polly or anyone ever, the same woman was almost always using the next phone. She was always, without fail, crying. Sometimes, Piper cried too, and Crying Lady shared her tissues. Unspoken camaraderie. They totally get each other.
If you squint, it’s almost like Piper and Miss Claudette are brand new college roommates. At first they find it really hard to live by each other’s lifestyles, but eventually they wind up telling secrets, talking about boys, and Piper even paints Miss Claudette’s nails. Pretty much the same thing that goes on in double dorm room freshman year.
Yoga and Janae are awesome friends because they hated each other at first and are polar opposites. Yoga is totally chill and zen while Janae is raging against the man all the time. They eventually come to understand one another and then like, electrocute themselves together with a wall socket. If that’s not a sign of true friendship, I don’t know what is.
So Alex and Nicky are kind of screwing up the whole just-friends dynamic at this point, but before they did that, they made pretty awesome besties. They both have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and act like badasses but actually are big ol’ softies when it comes to emotions. It really just makes sense that they’d gravitate to one another.
Red can be pretty frickin’ scary, so it seems a bit odd that her right hand woman would be the older mute lady. But they just work together. Norma is very loyal to Red until Red betrays her trust; once Red realizes what she’s done, it becomes clear how much Norma’s friendship means to her. Also, Norma’s singing at the Christmas pageant is Top 5 moments of the season.
If you don’t think that the transgendered woman (transgendered man? Disclaimer: I’ve tried so hard to get this terminology right all my life and I always mess it up, please correct me) and the nun being best friends is awesome, I definitely cannot relate to you at all. Although Sophia originally tried to get in with Sister Ingalls because she wanted to take her hormones, their friendship moved past that. Now they share secrets, Bible studies and even produce the prison Christmas pageant together.
The absolute best of the besties. I knew Taystee was my girl when she got into a fistfight over a King Cone, and her friendship with Pousséy is kind of pretty awesome. If you didn’t get a little weepy when the guards forced T out before she had a chance to say goodbye, and then laugh through your tears as P watched her victory dance from the window… you probably don’t have a heart. One of the realest, rawest, most heart-wrenching moments in the entire series, and one of my favorites, comes when Taystee returns to Litchfield after being out for only a month:
P: “…I know you ain’t tellin’ me in my face right now that you walked back in this place because freedom was inconvenient for you.”
T: “Everybody I know is poor, in jail, or gone … I know how to play it here, the way to be, what rules to follow. I got a bed, and I got you.”
P: “I really missed you.”
If that scene didn’t make you feel something… again, no heart! But these girls aren’t all solemnity and seriousness. Actually, most of the time, they’re pretty fucking hilarious (see: their impressions of white ladies, the aforementioned victory dance). Taystee and Pousséy are both amazing characters on their own, but they are hands-down the most awesome best friends.
So, here’s a follow-up question for everyone: can we decide on a universally accepted female equivalent for the word “bromance”? I’ve heard the term “ho-mance” tossed around, but I’m not sure I’m down with that, which is why I went with “womance.” But neither have quite the same ring as “bromance.” Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. Also, who are your favorite Litchfield besties?