Thursday, July 28, 2016

OITNB vs Wentworth: Same Show or Just Similar???

WARNING!!! This post may include mild spoilers. No I won't be going into intimate details of either show and each specific characters, nor will I be discussing all of the characters "big scene's", but I will be talking about a few particular similarities that may give away some episodes/seasons. You have been warned.



If you are like many people around the world, you've become an addict to the hit Netflix series, Orange Is The New Black. It's a story about a woman named Piper Chapmen, who - because of her love interest at the time - has been placed into prison for drugs. She's hit with hard times, low times, sex times, and just down right UGLY times. Each character in the series has their own plot and story, that will pull at you heart strings like you've never imagined. SEASON 4 ANYONE??? 

With loads of drama, distinct character scenes, and a few "oh no she DIDN'T" moments, how can you not love OITNB? Granted there are quite a few sex scenes, but trust me people that isn't what they're going for. If you watch all the way through each season, you'll realize that all the stories fall way deeper into thick and twisted forests. I do think each season has gotten more intense - again, see Season 4. 

Now let's talk about Wentworth. Wentworth is an Australian series that is based around an abused woman named Bea Smith, who's husband is LESS than a loving father and spouse. She tried to kill her husband, but quickly regretted the decision and saved him, only to be met with prison and a teenage daughter that rebels hardcore against her. As she goes into prison, she's met with reality that this is no "sweetheart" prison. You have "top dogs", shankings, love, murder, and of course insane criminals. You do get acquainted with specific characters, albeit not as many characters get a "backstory", but trust me heart strings will be played on as well. With the recent Season 4 airing their finale this past Tuesday, I began to realize that the similarities were far more common with OITNB, then I previously thought! 

If you've read my prior post on Netflix shows to start binge-watching, you'd know that I mentioned Wentworth as an alternative to OITNB lovers, while we anxiously wait for new seasons. While at the time I knew certain things were different and some more have come to light for me. 

A few examples would be as follows:

OITNB - Trans woman in prison / Wentworth - Trans woman in prison
OITNB - Cancer patient / Wentworth - Cancer patient 
OITNB - Old enemy return to prison / Wentworth - Old enemy returned to prison 
OITNB - Baby in prison / Wentworth - baby in prison 

I don't want to go into too much detail, but I will say this. Holy macaroni! Yes I do realize that a lot of these issues can be construed as common happenings inside realistic prisons, but I do think it's a little funny to see certain plot lines become intertwined with similarities. Of course there are some that are just entirely too common in prison to not be mentioned in any show - drugs for example. 
Don't get me wrong, I don't think these two shows are twins! Absolutely not! I think that OITNB has a lot of very powerful scenes to make you cry instantly, while still adding comedy to remove a lot of the "darkness" that could easily be construed - an excellent pairing I might add, while Wentworth is a LOT darker and serious. Comedy seems to come very, VERY seldom in this show, but I will say that the pain you'll feel for certain characters is very apparent. With the similarities I've mentioned, it could merely be a coincidental instance that happened to play on both shows. 

The thing to keep you binge watching OITNB - in my opinion - is the basis for their plot lines and stories. Each series is very well mixed, giving us a little insight into each characters backgrounds, lives inside the prisons, and drama that truly does revolve around being locked up. It doesn't push our buttons, make us constantly think "that would NEVER happen!" or "are you kidding me right now?". It makes you laugh, cry, scream, and cheer for certain prisoners. Who would've thought you'd be cheering for criminals? This is probably why they've won a few awards, just saying.


The thing to keep you loving Wentworth - again, in my opinion - is the harsh reality that may - or may not - truly take place in a women's prison. The reality that these women can easily be pulled into a drug world, "ganged" because they are on the wrong side, or killed for loving someone, is very cold, but very intriguing. I know that probably sounds a little...weird, but trust me it's really interesting. Wentworth is based around Bea Smith and keeps almost all the stories circling her. There has been a few times where other prisoners have gotten mild lime-light, but it's only if they are solely directed with Bea in some serious way or another. For example, that trans woman in Wentworth? Bea's bestfriend/body guard. The trans woman in OITNB is solely a separate character, not really dealing with Piper. This is merely to point out that while they are similar, they are quite different. 

Throughout my time watching these shows and seeing the stories dive into crazy antics and sad endings, I've grown to love them both in their own special ways. Regardless of how alike they may - or may not - be, I do think both deserve to be watched. I do think if you like OITNB, you should check out Wentworth, for a "rawer" version. But if you aren't necessarily into the idea of seeing what the harsher side of prison could truly emulate, then perhaps sticking to the "once a year" series would be best for you. Just saying. 

Let me know what you guys think! Do you prefer one over the other or do they both hold a spot on your "Must Watch" list? 

1 comment:

  1. OITNB is amazing however, Wentworth is by far my favourite show on tv at the moment. Yes, it raw and it’s brutal but it’s so well made. It has been imported to over 100 countries and the quality is reflected in the minimal alterations made in translating it to different cultural contexts. The costumes, setting, mis en scene, acting, sound and editing remains similar to the original, a testament to the quality of the production. If your weak hearted or can’t handle violence and some pretty heavy themes then maybe give it a miss but I have to say that Wentworth is freaking top grade Aussie drama.

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