The Moment I Stopped Watching OITNB

Photo: Ali Goldstein/Netflix.
I’m not one of those people who gets personally offended by spoilers. When I hear people complain about them, I become that whiny older person in the room. I start to use words like “this new generation,” “coddled,” and “entitled.” What I know now is that I was speaking from a place of privilege. Spoilers never actually spoiled anything for me. Knowing what was at the end of a story didn’t make watching it any less satisfying. Sometimes it could make a show or movie better. That all changed last summer when I abruptly stopped watching Orange Is the Black because word got to me that my beloved Poussey dies.
Before the summer of 2016, OITNB was one of my favorite shows. Not only is it very women-focused, it chronicles the stories of Litchfield’s women prisoners in a way that made me sometimes wish it were an actual anthology series. I loved how it pushed me to my limit with dramatic suspense, and then provided the perfect amount of comic relief. There is joy in the sadness and tears with the laughs. And then there was my actual reason for watching: Poussey. Piper and her panty ring be damned!
Poussey is the queer Black girl that I had been craving to see on television since forever. She isn’t relegated to the backdrop and she isn’t one-dimensionally tied to her sexuality. We got to see her being playful, serious, and, yes, topless. The spelling of her name looked a lot like the word “pussy.” She was perfect.
I was nearly done with the fourth season when I came across the information that she would be killed. When I found out, something inside me died with her too — mainly my will to watch the show ever again. OITNB was officially spoiled for me.
When I quit OITNB, I went cold turkey. I didn’t even bother to finish the last two episodes to know for myself what happened. My Netflix account doesn’t even suggest that I should “continue watching” anymore. It’s a loose end that I refused to tie up; a part of my past that I was willing to forget about until the trailer for the fifth season was released, and I remembered that I love Daya and Taystee, too. It may just be that I have to go through the pain of Poussey’s death to get back to the joy of the show.

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