|I didn't realize when I chose this photo, but doesn't|
the background look like a slice of pizza?
"You Also Have a Pizza" is a particularly well-constructed Valentine's Day episode framed by the little interview shots of our characters saying what love means to them, highlighted by the touching connection of several couples (mostly non-romantic), and centered around Poussey, who is all out of love and desperately alone right now.
Poussey has become one of my favorite characters, and now I like her even more. The flashbacks were about her passionate love affair with a young red-haired German woman whose name is never given, although the actress's IMdb page says it was Franziska. Poussey's father was in the Army and stationed in Bavaria, and he lost his post because Franziska's powerful homophobe of a father found her in bed with Poussey. What a remarkably painful scene, with a beautiful performance by Samira Wiley.
Unfortunately, that was paralleled by the even more painful breakup of Poussey and Taystee, who has succumbed Vee's machinations and has even given up her beloved library job for custodial. In one of the flashback scenes, Poussey told Franziska that love meant not staring at each other, but looking off in the same direction. That used to be Poussey and Taystee, but not any more. The saddest scene in the episode was when Poussey thought that Taystee was going to kiss her, and instead Taystee gave her a cigarette, a symbol of the very thing that has torn them apart.
Both times, instead of showing how incredibly hurt she was, Poussey lashed out at the one she loved and kept her pain inside. Like Red, Poussey already sees Vee as she really is, and threatened to kill Vee if she hurt Taystee. I'm not sure that Poussey is capable of violence, though. Would she have used the gun that her father took away from her? Probably not. Although I have no idea how Poussey ended up in prison.
Poussey's sad story was beautifully complemented by a number of (mostly) non-romantic couples helping each other through a painful day:
-- While I loved Suzanne doing Sherlock Holmes with a mop, one of the best scenes in the episode was Suzanne telling Morello sincerely that Christopher didn't deserve her. (Although their long hug made me a little nervous, with Suzanne smelling Morello's hair. I'd hate to see Suzanne in a state of unrequited love again.)
-- Daya and Bennett played the "normal game", talking about the Valentine's Day date they would have had, and then they had some impromptu sexy time in Caputo's office during the party. She even gave him a drawing of the two of them as a normal couple on a couch together, with a dog and a pizza. It's really too bad that the Spanish are now blackmailing Bennett 24/7 for smuggled contraband, and that the lovely valentine Daya got in the mail was from Pornstache.
-- Nicky and Big Boo got tired of their Bang-off and called it off. And then they had a transparently metaphorical cookie-eating contest.
-- Flaca and Maritza sat in the kitchen alone and talked about how their youth was passing them by. Aching for a simple touch, they did a little passionate smooching, but decided it wasn't for them.
-- Healy and Pennsatucky, both feeling rejected, split a cookie and a hug. They'd almost be cute together if they weren't so freaking hateful. Although Healy's valiant attempt to make a romantic phone call to his wife, and in Russian yet, was sweet.
In the singles department, Red's "pipeline" is now an actual pipeline and she got to be Santa again, buying back love and influence -- except with Gina and Norma, the ones whose love she wanted back the most. Caputo asked the now single Susan to a performance by Side Boob, and completely oblivious to his romantic interest, she brought along Luschek, Bell and O'Neill. And Jimmy kept wandering around trying to find her Jack and/or a box of chocolates, and ended up wandering out the door. How did she manage to find Caputo?
For Piper, whom I often have to remind myself is the main character of this series, love is like coming home, and she no longer has one. As she sounded out Larry about staying with him during her possible furlough, he again showed his true colors by trying to get Piper to do his research on a prison expose. When she wouldn't, he went on a diatribe complaining about the presence of Piper's possessions in his apartment, and topped it off later by finally making a poorly timed pass at Polly.
I actually liked Piper rejecting Larry, throwing out Alex's valentine card, and turning into Nancy Drew instead of succumbing to depression. She might even be able to do some good, too. And when Healy noticed that Piper was getting nosey, she covered beautifully by inventing a prison newsletter, which might also do some good. "Pending your approval, of course, Mister Editor-in-Chief." Way to brownnose, Piper. Pretty much perfect.
-- So Vee's master plan is smuggling tobacco in cleanser containers. I absolutely loved Suzanne's worried expression when she realized there was no cleanser.
-- Larry's response to Piper's perfectly legitimate complaint that he had to stop being her reflection was that at least people can walk on the moon, the sun burns you up. Which is a stupid metaphor.
-- Big Boo wanted in on Vee's operation.
-- Taystee can do the split. Actually, Danielle Brooks can do the split.
-- Silent Norma showed with gestures what love meant to her.
-- After mentioning that no one liked or trusted Healy within his earshot, Soso went on to Sophia about Ferris Bueller being an imaginary projection of Cameron, sort of like Fight Club. I'd never heard that one before.
-- Leanne wanted a democracy, but as soon as she had the opportunity, she started ordering Angie around.
-- Nicky finally made a pass at Piper, who turned her down.
-- Along with the interviews, I loved how this episode was also framed by the decorated heart-shaped cookies. And the penis-shaped cookies. Susan jamming hers in her mouth so that Bennett wouldn't see it was pretty funny.
Gloria: "This Valentine's thing was invented to make people feel like shit if they're not part of some perfect couple."
Susan: "It must be hard, being locked up on Valentine's Day."
Well duh, Susan.
Piper: "Valentine's Day! Florence Henderson's birthday. We should be having our annual naked Brady-thon celebration and I should be doing some kind of strip tease to 'Sunshine Day', and maybe something, maybe something with Wesson Oil…?"
I thought that was funny, although I never watched The Brady Bunch and didn't get the references. After The Brady Bunch, Florence Henderson did a series of Wesson Oil commercials. And the Bradys did the song 'Sunshine Day'.
Piper: "When you get out of here, who do you imagine yourself going home to?"
Nicky: "Fiona Apple in the Criminal video. Stupid question."
Susan: "It's so interesting, all these lives. It's like reading Dickens."
Of course OitNB is Dickensian. I'd never thought of it before.
Poussey: (reading from Alice in Wonderland) "How do you know I'm mad, said Alice. You must be, said the cat, or you wouldn't have come here."
Taystee: "Shit. You right. Lewis Carroll must have gone to prison."
Vee: "Taystee will never love you. She will never love you. Not the way you want."
Healy: "The girls used to like me."
Piper: "They will again."
Flaca: "It's like getting into a bath but the water is like warm chocolate pudding. And the Smiths are playing 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out'. There's warm lighting all over and there are like five dudes massaging you."
Maritza: "And you have a pizza."
Flaca: "She's right. And you also have a pizza."
Bennett: "You know what's funny? I'm in a women's prison but I don't understand women at all."
Healy: "I'll tell you something about women. Bennett, with women you make them think you're meeting them halfway, but really what you're doing is you're just meeting them ten or fifteen percent of the way. Women are really bad at math. Don't forget that."
And yet, Healy went more than 50% of the way trying to please his wife.
Nicky: (re: Soso) "Next time just sit on her face. It shuts her right up."
Sister Ingalls: "I'll keep that in mind."
Pennsatucky: "Are you calling me Hillary Clinton?"
Leanne: "If the pantsuit fits."
Pennsatucky: "'Cause if I'm Hillary Clinton, then y'all must be some sister-wife, tweaker, Slurpee-drinking, fourth-grade reading level, daddy-on-Cops trailer trash nothing."
I have to say it. Go, Pennsatucky. That was an Olympic-level insult.
Vee: "Fun party. A party with no men, booze, real food or drugs."
Red: "Good thing we're too old for any trouble."
Piper: "It's like coming home after a long trip. That's what love is like. It's like coming home. Thanks for asking."
Four out of four heart-shaped cookies,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.