Tag: OITNB

Crazy Jane

Crazy Jane

If you watched OITNB, you may have noticed that Flaca played by Jackie Cruz and her best friend, Maritza played Diane Guerrero were not together in its latest season. Gasp! Although we see how Flaca made a new friend in Black Cindy and the budding friendship seemed to have worked well for season 6. Speaking of which I don’t know why she’s called “Black Cindy”. Since like the past 6 seasons, I’ve never seen another Cindy. Oh well…

I’m gonna miss these two!

The reason for Ms. Guerrero’s absence as you may have probably heard already is she’s cast to play “Crazy Jane” in the newly DC Universe steaming service tv show (what a mouthful), “Doom Patrol”.

Originally a character from “Vertigo” comics (DC’s sister comic book company), Crazy Jane is the dominant personality of Kay Challis and is one of her 64 personalities who each have a superpower of their own. Huh…that’s like having the personalities/powers of Batman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Superman, even Wonder Woman all wrapped in one person.. How would a person be able to manage that?

Kay’s other 64 personalities

When Kay was 5 years old, she was molested by her own father while putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Unable to deal with the trauma, “Miranda” was born. Unfortunately Miranda is raped at church thus triggering the first incident. After this incident, the Miranda personality ceased to exist while Kay developed a massive personality fragmentation and the other 64 personality were born.

In addition to the Miranda personality, you “meet” the main personality Jane who has no superpowers. Then there is (just to name a few):

•Black Annis (the one in the picture) who is an “aggressive misandris, equipped with sharp claws, red eyes and blue skin

•Sun Daddy, “a gigantic figure with a sun for a head with the power to throw powerballs”

•The Death Eater. “She believes she must suffer for her sins. Janes brings her out as a defense when tortured.”

All these personalities help the members of “Doom Patrol”.

Diane Guerrero herself has been open with seeking mental health treatment, so it would be interesting for her to play this character. In fact, it would be interesting how as a show it would talk about mental illness and sexual assault. “Talking” about such topics is different in a comic book than in a show. However that being DC Universe has its own streaming service, it could be possible. I mean we’ve already seen what streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have done for shows, movies, & documentaries that otherwise may have never reached tv airwaves and the silver screen.

My question is now…will the portrayal of Crazy Jane hurt or help the mental health community? Will it encourage the stigma or end it? Will the character be able to portray those who lives with mental illness and have survived sexual assault? We all know how Hollywood has portrayed mental illness in the past and as for sexual assault, I hope there isn’t a rape scene. Please God no. It was hard enough once have watched a rape scene in the first season of “13 Reason”, then apparently I heard there are now two rape scenes in the latest season.

The director of “13 Reasons”, Brian Yorkey, did his research on rape cases mentioned he thought the scene was appropriate so people can better depict its graphic nature. So??? Couldn’t he just talk to sexual assault survivors??? What because he did research on sexual assault cases he thinks that it’s okay to show it considering there are young teen watching??? Besides, the show is not the first to discuss rape (see Law and Order: SVU) and therefore if most of the shows and movies have done that in the past, so can “13 Reasons”. Myself included, talking about sexual assault to family and friends was not easy, so what about faux scene on a tv show??? I really hate it when entertainment now days (hell…social media) is done for “shock value”. Is it really worth losing standards over??? By the way, the best places to understand what sexual assault is by looking up anti-sexual assault websites like RAIN or 1 in 6. Rape is a hard thing in itself to understand for and for some show (or network) to just trivialize it is insulting to me.

When I am to afford DC Universe, I will give the show a chance. I mean “Titans” is already facing major backlash (I’ll still watch it)—that and a Black woman is playing Starfire. I really DON’T see the problem in that ESPECIALLY since there are NOT a lot Black heroines in the DC Universe. The only one I can CLEARLY name is Vixen. So people should take a chill pill. Sheesh. The comic book industry is slowly starting (damn shame though) to appeal to a diverse group of viewers and readers. Last year we had the first heroine with a LEAD role and we had this year, a Black Superhero with a LEAD role. Now next year, we have a Latina heroine who lives with mental illness. Hopefully through her character (I like how this story came up on the last day of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month), it will show that ANY person of color is capable of living with mental illness and that even with it, you can still do great things. So DC please, don’t disappoint me.

“Doom Patrol” is slated to show on DC Universe next year.

References/Resources:

Crazy Jane (Wikipedia)

DC Universe’s Doom Patrol casts OITNB alum as Crazy Jane

Diane Guerrero OITNB Talks Mental Health Book

13 Reasons Why Creator Defends Controversial Rape Scene: “Talking About It Is So Much Better Than Silence”

OITNB, Mental Illness, and the Prison System

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Man summer has come and gone, but the weather will definitely stay for a little bit longer. But do you know what has also come and gone? Orange Is The New Black.  I love that show! I watched all five seasons in one month and I  loved the characters and the stories, but what I really, really liked about the story was the depiction of the inhumane circumstances that the prisoners were put under. It really made me think…that just because they are prisoners or as we label them, “bad guys”, does that mean they deserve inadequate treatment even in prison? People have often been fighting against the inhumane treatment of prisoners undergoing the death penalty, but what about the inhumane treatment of the prisoners still living? Are they not considered people too? Aren’t they still considered Americans despite the fact they are serving time?

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In every few episodes, we see the backstories of each of the main characters. Some of them did horrible things or did bad things for the pleasure of doing them but most were people who were trying to survive in their everyday lives or placed in jail for petty things  or because they were suffering from an addiction or an mental illness.

Nicky, Crazy Eyes, and Lolly caught my attention, but especially Lolly. Now, we see with Nicky  that she was struggling with drug addiction and Crazy Eyes and Lolly was definitely had some form of mental illness.We see with Nicky, the struggle to deal with her addiction with Red and her fellow inmates.  Although there is no actual rehab facility for Nicky to attend, but Red and the rest of her fellow inmates are trying to help her over come it.  I mean there was the A.A. in the prison but it didn’t really help. However (spoiler ahead for those who have not watched the series) with Crazy Eyes and Lolly there is no sort of rehabilitation for them. It took awhile for the inmates to accept their illnesses.

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A perfect picture capturing Taystee being Crazy Eye’s caretaker

There’s just straight up psych and according to Crazy Eyes, the psychiatric center at Litchfield Penitentiary is cruel and she said that she was better off in prison. When I heard first Crazy Eyes say that, I wondered to myself, “How cruel is Litchfield’s Psych Ward?” Well as the show progressed, I began to know why.

In season one, Tiffany ” Pennsatucky” Doggett was sent the psych ward because she assaulted a juvenile inmate in a wheelchair. As Dogget gets taken into Litchfield Psych, we see the abhorrent conditions that the inmates face.  We see her get strapped by a group up psych nurses and she is already injected with sedatives. And in a much later scene she is placed pretty much in a cage, where she was evaluated once again. Thankfully, Doggett was eventually  taken out of psych. However through Lolly, we get to see more of the pysch’s conditions after she is found out murdering Aydin, a former  co-worker of Alex and employee to a kingpin, who unknowingly to Lichfield was disguised as a correction officer. Though before we come across the scene, the audience begins to know a little back story behind Lolly. She was a reporter who was into conspiracies, unfortunately due to her interest in conspiracies and her mental illness (unknown at the time) she was fired from her job.

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Young Lolly played by Christina Brucato

A friend of Lolly’s tried to put her in a group home, but that didn’t work out for her and we eventually find her being homeless. One day as she was walking through her neighborhood with her cart  selling coffee,  she bumped into the police. They  ended up citing her for illegally distributing coffee without a license. However due to this confrontation, it made her anxiety to rise as well as the symptoms of schizophrenia; leading her to believe the police were up to no good and threw a cup at them. The next thing you know, Lolly was pinned under the police officers.

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So, now we return the whole fiasco of Lolly murdering Ayden. Lolly killed him to protect  herself and especially Alex, who Ayden’s main target. Eventually drama ensues since Ayden was buried in Red’s garden and the inmates who worked at the garden were questioned (including Red). Episodes later, it was found that was Lolly was the killer and was taken to psych. As Healy escorts Lolly to the psych ward and later as she was escorted by the COs of the ward, we hear and see the unsightly treatments the inmates experience. Horrified by this, Lolly screams for Healy to get her out but all he could do is see her off as she was further escorted into the ward.

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As mentioned earlier, this show really got me thinking of the maltreatment that may perhaps be going on in our jails. I would hate to think that my tax dollars would lead to nowhere, except to the pockets of those who hold similar positions to Natalie Figueroa (Fig) and Joe Caputo and their own interests as we find even in the OITNB series. Like when it was found the funds that were suppose to be going to the Litchfield Prison were being led elsewhere and even outside of Litchfield.

And it’s totally horrifying to think that jail is becoming a new place to house mentally ill inmates, especially when staff may receive little to no training and probably are not administrating the correct or any treatment at all. Hell, it’s hard already for those living with mental illness outside of prisons to get treatment. But in the prisons? There needs to major reform in mental health care inside and outside of prisons, so that all Americans can live to their optimal mental health.