Deep down on some level, we’re all just animals, complete with basic urges and involuntary responses. There are those of us who make conscious and successful efforts, or who simply by nature are closer to the idealized vision of being human. These people remain warm, open, fair, self-loving, caring individuals regardless of life’s obstacles. There are also those among us who either are incapable of becoming, or are unwilling to become so.
Which category someone falls into is most discernible when they’re part of a group. Every group is composed of people on a quest to get something that they want. What you want, the methods you use to get it, and how you react to the wants and methods of others is a display of how far you are from being an animal – your level of humanity.
In an environment like prison, where one is not normally granted solitude, the group dynamic seems to always be in full swing. Facing rape, abuse, death, or simply a life less comfortable than the one we’re accustomed to, we each use our tools to get what we want and to ensure our survival. In the process things can get ugly, revealing just how primitive some of us are.
Bad Girls is a soap-style series set on the G-Wing of Larkhall Women’s Prison in the UK. It’s Oz without the climatic sound effects; obligatory nude scenes; and without the monologue from the guy in the wheelchair.
The titillating title doesn’t do justice to the acting and storylines, which are so realistic and powerful that I had to pause after being overcome by emotion when several of the scenes really hit home with me. Its vivid colors and from-the-gut dialogue are a welcomed change to the “behind prison walls” genre. Anyone who has ever been arrested, even for a minor traffic violation, will be reminded of that “I don’t belong here” feeling and the desire to be invisible to everyone, which comes along with being in the clinker. A spot of laughs keep us on a roller coaster ride of emotion.
I was caught off guard by this British drama, which really impressed me. Now in its seventh season, airing in the UK since 1999, the ratings juggernaut has been unleashed on the America. There are many lessons to be learned from the series, the most recurring of which tells us that while we may be surrounded by animals, we should take solace in the fact that we’re not caged in with them!
Bad Girls – The Complete First Season (actually just the first 4 of 10): B+
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