more real, raw, drama-infused topics reflecting the elements of
the American family that are drastically changing (305-08). Orange
is the New Black serves as a similar rendition of the “family” sitcom
since these women are each other’s family in a world that isolates
them from their biological families. Through this representation of
family, Orange is the New Black confronts real issues and
acknowledges the harsh reality of life’s devastating circumstances
and people who continually let you down but also acknowledges
that there are those who remain steadfast and loyal. In this context,
not only is the LGBTQ community represented, but several
identity groups within the LGBTQ community have distinct
storylines in the series including lesbian, transgender, and
bisexual characters.
While lesbian relationships are represented on television,
they are rarely associated with the protagonist of the show and
even less frequently become popular subjects of critical discussion
in mainstream media. Certainly, other series have not been nearly
as popular as Orange is the New Black, which has been covered in
mainstream publications and favored by some of Netflix’s most
avid viewers. Often, lesbian and gay relationships emerge in a
subplot featured on a particular series, and if the TV show receives
any sort of praise or popularity, it almost always comes from
within: as in, the heterosexual actors who play heterosexual
characters in the protagonists’ relationships. Orange is the New Black,
however, has proven that a show that focuses much more on
lesbian relationships than straight relationships can become
popular in commercial and critical terms. Although precise ratings
are not available, evidence points to viewers becoming invested in
the Netflix series from the very first episode, “I Wasn’t Ready,”
and many viewers say they “binge watched” after becoming
hooked on the first episode. Some media sources have written
about it as the most popular of the original streaming series on the
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