As we fans know, the Netflix original Orange Is the New Black is set in Litchfield Penitentiary, a federal prison for women in upstate New York. This prison is clearly underfunded. It’s falling apart. Its limited resources are being siphoned off by despicable assistant warden Fig. The sewers are backing up into the drains in the bathroom, and they can’t afford to fix it. As Caputo puts it, they can’t even afford two-ply toilet paper.
Unsurprisingly, the books in the prison library all look old and dull. I’m guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of zero dollars allotted for the Litchfield library annual budget? And yet look at what the inmates are reading — books, presumably, not obtained from the musty old prison library. Brand new YA novels, novels whose shiny covers stand out in stark relief against all the drab prison orange and gray. Where did these books come from? Why was Red reading a new hardcover copy of We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt (well before its May 27 publication date, by the way)? And where did Vee get a shiny copy of The Fault in Our Stars to wave around in front of terminal cancer patient Miss Rosa?
Is this product placement, or book promotion, or a little of both? Does somebody in the industry have an “in” with the show’s producers? What’s going on? I’d sit through one of Healy’s “Safe Place” therapy sessions to find out.