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Netflix’s hit prison series ‘Orange Is the New Black’ takes a funny turn

Netflix has decided that its hit series Orange Is the New Black, the critically adored dramedy that debuted last summer, officially falls in the comedy category — for the purpose of award season, anyway. Previously, the show about life in a women’s prison had been submitted to the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as a drama.

That’s no longer the case: “Orange Is the New Black is moving to the comedy category for all awards consideration moving forward,” a network representative confirmed.

Why is that? When we asked, the rep pointed us to a statement Netflix released to the Hollywood Reporter: “Creator Jenji Kohan’s vision has been uncompromising, and while the show tackles real issues, it does so through its use of humour,” it read.

Orange uniquely blends comedy and drama in its hour-long episodes and simply defies standard categorisation.”

Well, by “defying standard categorisation,” they could mean that the show does really well when it’s considered a comedy series, and not so much as a drama. When submitted as a comedy, Orange landed multiple nominations at the Writers Guild of America Awards and won several Satellite Awards, including best comedy series. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Orange got left in the dust when submitted as a drama, picking up one lone nomination (Taylor Schilling for lead actress) at the Golden Globes, and was snubbed at the SAG Awards.

So, Netflix reversed course before the Emmys. Smart move. It was puzzling why the show had ever been in the drama category. As a dark comedy following the interwoven stories of various women in lock-up, it usually lands more on the “funny” side, with quite a few one-liners in between tragic back stories.