Orange Is The New Black Showed Us Balls! What Does It Mean?

Photo: JoJo Whiden/Netflix.
The new season of Orange is the New Black gave us a special gift this season, and that gift is a pair of testicles. #Ballgate2016 — the name I’m assigning this event — happens in episode 5. The guards are hanging out at their on-campus housing, a new perk instituted to attract more candidates to work at the prison. Their version of “hanging out,” of course, is taking shots at each other’s masculinity and drinking beers in their underwear. Officer Dixon (Mike Houston) offers Officer Stratman (Evan Hall) his can of Coors, which he’s holding against his thigh. He hasn’t sipped it yet, and it’s nice and cold. “Is Officer Dixon pacing himself?” Stratman asks. When he grabs the beer, we see a shot of Dixon's balls, which are sticking out of his boxers. “I’m never gonna be able to unsee that,” Stratman claims. Bros, am I right? Also, let’s take a moment to appreciate the not-so-subtly phallic names of these men. The question is: Is male nudity starting to rear its head (yep, pun fully intended) and pitch a tent (sorry, I can't stop) on mainstream television? In October 2015, we had full-frontal male nudity in a sex scene on The Affair, which was a cute way to ease ourselves into the nude dude. Though more recently, and more importantly, we saw the gritty realness of what boy bits really look like. Game of Thrones went for it earlier this season with a close-up of a chap checking his penis for warts. In a show that’s normally all tits and ass — usually for reasons having little to do with plot — it was shocking to see a schlong, even if that schlong was presented in the most mundane, unsexy way imaginable. (The antithesis of the role the female body plays in the show.) So the OITNB balls is an important step in what I can only hope is an increase in male nudity on screen. Orange Is the New Black has a reputation for portraying realistic female bodies engaged in everything from showering to oral sex. So it makes sense that when the series explored male nudity, it didn't opt for the phallus of a Calvin Klein model who had a walk-on role. Instead, male nudity at Litchfield means a pair of balls from a dirty prison guard hiding himself behind a can of beer. And that, my friends, is the kind of matter-of-fact stuff we need.

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