Last year, Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black burst onto the scene and shattered our conventions about television viewing, quickly becoming one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed series of 2013. Taking place in a women’s prison, the character-driven series deftly combines drama and comedy, introducing us to a cast that has intrigued audiences with fascinating backstories and beautifully-written characters.
Orange Is the New Black returns on June 6th with its much anticipated 2nd season, so here are 18 interesting facts about the show to get you ready!
1. The series is based on the 2010 memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman, who served time in a correctional facility for money laundering and drug trafficking.
2. Jodie Foster directed an episode in the first season, “Lesbian Request Denied”, which revealed the backstory of Sophia, a transgender inmate (played by Laverne Cox, who is also transgender).
3. Actor Andrew McCarthy, known for Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo’s Fire, also directed several episodes.
4. Pre-transitional Sophia was played by actress Laverne Cox’s twin brother, M. Lamar.
5. The women that appear in the opening credits are not actresses–they are all incarcerated in real life. In order to get a range of emotion, they were asked to visualize one of three things: a peaceful place, a person that makes them laugh, or something they’d like to forget.
6. The show’s theme song, “You’ve Got Time”, is performed by musician Regina Spektor. It was written by Spektor specifically for the show. You can watch the opening sequence here.
7. Constance Shulman, who plays Yoga Jones, also voiced Patti Mayonnaise on the 90s cartoon Doug.
8. Annie Golden, who plays the mysteriously silent kitchen assistant Norma Romano, was a pop star in the 80s. Her song “Hang Up the Phone” appeared on the Sixteen Candles soundtrack. You can listen to it here.
9. The woman that Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett is based on is a friend of Piper Kerman, who describes her as being “perceptive and sensitive.” That’s quite a difference from the on-screen Pennsatucky that we all love to hate!
10. Taryn Manning, the actress that portrays Pennsatucky, is cousins with NFL stars Eli and Payton Manning.
11. George ‘Pornstache’ Mendez’s ‘stache is actually fake. Sorry.
12. Uzo Aduba, who plays the enthrallingly insane Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren, is a well-known Broadway actress. Suzanne’s Shakespearean monologues are a nod to this.
13. The show makes many references to the cast’s previous roles, such as Kate Mulgrew’s role in Star Trek and Jason Biggs’ role in American Pie.
14. Larry Smith, the real-life version of Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs), really did write that piece for The New York Times. Check it out here.
15. The role of public radio host Maury Kind was first offered to Ira Glass, who declined. Robert Stanton played the role instead.
16. Danielle Brooks, who plays fan-favorite Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson, graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School. This is her first recurring role.
17. Creator and writer Jenji Kohan is also known for her series Weeds, which appears as an easter egg in the background on the series.
18. The series has already been renewed for a 3rd season.
There you have it! 18 juicy gems, which will forever change how you view Orange Is the New Black. Any surprises? Let us know in the comments below.