Squat and Cough

A few years ago, I narrowly avoided going to jail. Not federal prison—just regular-old, boring, squat-and-cough jail. At the time, I’d lined up a feature for the Synthesis with my then-editor, on what it was like to spend some time in jail. I figured that as long as I was going to go, it might be smart to at least get something done while I was there (besides making toilet wine).

The day before I was scheduled to go turn myself in to our local penal colony, I discovered that I wouldn’t have to go. I felt relief, sure, but also a little twinge of regret. Not for the (alleged) crime committed, but because although it was most likely going to be really awful (and boring), I was looking forward to experiencing something so new. Like anything that’s been depicted to death in entertainment, there’s an air of mystery surrounding the experience of lockup.

Although I’m glad I didn’t actually have to follow through with it, I’m always interested to see the incarceration experience from differing points of view. Perhaps that explains my recent fascination with the Netflix original show Orange Is The New Black. Starring Taylor Schilling (Argo, The Lucky One) and (cue wolf-whistle) Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show), this show chronicles the misadventures of Piper Chapman (Schilling) from day one of her incarceration in federal prison. It’s possible that I only like this show because of my fascination with stories from our Department of Corrections, but I doubt it. It also has excellent character development, some really entertaining background provided on key players, and a pretty amazing attention to details. Still not sold? This show is totally flush with titty shots. Lots of lesbian sex scenes… oh, and Natasha Lyonne! She’s fantastic in her role as the snarky lesbian junkie. Season one is on Netflix Instant.

Also in entertainment news, it’s been brought to my attention that a new Doctor has finally been chosen. I’ve tried several times to watch Doctor Who, and I just can’t get into it. Peter Capaldi is set to be the newest Doctor. A Scottish actor you might remember from his roles in World War Z and Bean, Capaldi has twice won the British Comedy Award for best TV actor. My knowledge of him is pretty slim, and even slimmer is my experience with Doctor Who.

However, I’ve been informed by my Doctor Who specialist that the fans are very divided on whether the casting choice will be met by support or disdain. Some are put out about the wasted opportunity to hire a woman, or someone who isn’t white. However, I did see Neil Gaiman’s announcement that the first serious casting offer was to an African-American man, but he turned down the role. Others (like my source), were bummed because the new Doctor isn’t as sexually appealing as past choices. As my source put it, “I don’t want to play doctor with this new Doctor.” I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

Zooey Mae has been working as a writer monkey for Synthesis Weekly since 2007. Her favorite things include (but are not limited to), Jeffrey Brown, bubble wrap, Craig Thompson, pillow forts, receiving handwritten letters, and whiskey. She spends her free time stockpiling supplies for the impending robot Apocalypse and avoiding eye contact with strangers.