'Back to Life': How do Miri's struggles of navigating life outside jail in a small town compare with other prison shows?
The show's lead Miri has to adapt to life outside of walls with barbed wires; it's not easy. She has to navigate her family, an ex, an estranged best friend and a community that hates her. She also has to find and hold on to a job while having no marketable skills
What is life outside of prison like? If you use ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ as a reference, then it goes one of two ways: Either you end up like Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) and end up killing yourself because you’re too “institutionalized” to fit back into society. Or you can end up like Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman), living the rest of your life cheerily by the sun and the sea at Zihuatanejo.
If you ask Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) from ‘Prison Break’, then it's a journey from one prison to another, always on an adventure you’ve been forced into -- living in constant paranoia and always watching your back. If you ask Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson (Danielle Brooks) from ‘Orange Is the New Black’, it’s a life without any security: You have nowhere to stay, no job to support you and it’s really no life worth living.
If you ask Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) from ‘Weeds’, what’s life like after a prison stretch, she would tell you that it is only difficult if you want to lead a life of no wrongdoing. If she were to follow the rules, she’d have to adhere to the strict rules of a halfway home, while looking for terrible jobs, wearing hand-me-down clothes from the 80s.
And if you ask Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) what life outside of the Litchfield facility in ‘Orange Is the New Black’ was like, you’d mostly find the answer you have been looking for. Piper struggles hard with life on the outside, especially keeping up with her expenses, the jobs she’s allowed to work now that she has a record.
She also has to cope with the fact that she and her wife Alex’s (Laura Prepone) relationship would become strained now that they both aren't in prison. In Daisy Haggard’s British dramedy ‘Back to Life’, we see bits and pieces of the last two.
The show's lead Miri has to adapt to life outside of walls with barbed wires; it's not easy. She has to navigate her family, an ex, an estranged best friend and a community that hates her. She also has to find and hold on to a job while having no marketable skills.
She also has to deal with the stigma of being a criminal in a small town with a long memory. She is the victim of vandalism and assault. But she has to find a way to move forward.
So, in many ways, Miri's situation compares a lot to Piper's. The exception being that Piper, who lives in a big city, does not have to deal with the constant stares and the whispers -- no one really knows who she is. If only that were the case with Miri; her life would have been a bunch easier.
‘Back to Life’ airs every Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.