Blaque Friday, Orphan Black Friday and Beyond: Alternatives To Shopping

It’s Black Friday, and the crowds are hitting the malls and big-box stores. But whether you’re not into consumer culture, already bought your Christmas gifts (show-off!), or are more of an online shopper, you don’t have to brave the masses today. If you have the day off and are looking to celebrate a different kind of Black Friday, read on for suggestions.

Blaque Friday

Remember Blaque? Kind of? The main thing I remember about Blaque, the late 90s girl group, is that they were not TLC or Destiny’s Child but probably wanted to be. But get this: Blaque actually stands for something. No kidding. It’s an acronym for Believing, Life, Achieving, Quest, Unity, Everything. What does that mean? Everything. And nothing. Mostly, absolutely nothing. Still, it makes for a good game if you’re lounging around with friends and relatives. Put a bunch of words in a hat. Everybody has to make up an acronym for the word that they pull. Misspelling the word is fine. So, say you pull Milk. Your Blaque-ronym is Mylk: Miracles, Youth, Love, Knowledge. Or MILKE: Mourning Idaho, Loving Kansas Evermore. The person whose Blaque-ronym makes you laugh the hardest is the winner.

It goes without saying, the soundtrack to this game is either tunes by Blaque, or the feature film Bring It On which features the Blaque members as high school cheerleaders.

Shirley Temple Black Friday

Pour yourself a Shirley Temple (that’s ginger ale and grenadine) then add a splash of any kind of liquor. Any kind at all. Bam! Now it’s a Shirley Temple Black. Round out your Shirley Temple Black Friday with a selection of Shirley Temple films. Come on, I can’t be the only former community theater child around these parts! Get your inner ham on as you sing along to On The Good Ship Lollipop or Animal Crackers In My Soup. Have a Shirley Temple impression-off with your friends and family – especially fun if you’ve already knocked back a few Shirley Temple Blacks.  Sick of Thanksgiving leftovers already? Order some international food, because in her adult life Shirley Temple Black served as an ambassador to Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia.

Orphan Black Friday

Haven’t seen Orphan Black yet? Have access to BBC America On Demand? Today’s your lucky day! You can easily watch all 10 episodes in one fit of glorious laziness. While everyone is evading human stampedes and knife battles at Wal-Mart, you’ll be immersed in a world of mystery and intrigue.

Already seen Orphan Black? If you aren’t up for a re-watch, get your butt to a crowded mall. They say that everyone has a twin, or in the Orphan Black world, possibly at least 8 clones. Play a human matching game! Single out someone distinctive – odd walk, crazy hair, wonky features – then keep your eye out for their closest human match. Takes people watching to a whole new level.

Sirius Black Friday

The Harry Potter movies always feel like Christmas to me. That’s probably because ABC Family aired them as part of their 25 Days Of Christmas for so long that I finally acquiesced. Fine, ABC Family, you win. It’s a Christmas movie. Spoiler if you haven’t read/seen all of the Harry Potterses: Sirius Black seems super shady, but is actually in Harry’s corner the whole time. So today, do something nice for that person you absolutely can’t stand, on the chance they aren’t so bad after all. Or just say screw it and have a Hogwarts-themed feast. There are recipes for Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and more online.

Orange Is The New Black Friday

Much like Orphan Black, this is an excellent series that you can watch in one sitting. If you’re off of work and in a food coma, this might be the right time to see what the buzz is about.

Maybe you already have seen it, though. And maybe OITNB gave you greater empathy for the incarcerated (We all make bad choices. It’s just, some of us got different bad choices to make). Well, you can use some of those Black Friday bargains for good, then. There are several organizations that accept new and gently used books for prisoners – for instance, the Prison Book Program. Either grab some discount reads after the crowds have died down, or use your time off to sort through your bookshelves. Literacy, especially critical literacy, is instrumental in helping individuals become fully participating members of society, after all. Okay.  I’ll stash my soapbox, now.

Paint It Black Friday

Rolling Stones tune strictly optional. If you’re decorating for Christmas this week, grab some ceramic ornaments and acrylic paints and have yourself an ornament painting party. It’s fun and you’ll have decorations when it’s done! If you have more than enough Christmas decor, spread the cheer by dropping off some ornaments with someone who could use a little holiday magic. You can have great ornament painting contests, too — best, worst, weirdest, whatever.

Wiggida Wiggida Wiggida Wack Friday

It’s as true today as it was in the early 90s: Kris Kross will make you jump, jump. But what really makes me jump, jump is this Kris Kross remix. The day after Thanksgiving is all about recombining your leftovers into something that feels new and interesting. It’s also a good day to do the same thing with music. Put on some mashups of your old-school favs and get your dance on — I still like the Girl Talk mixes for this. We can all use a little exercise now anyway.

Baby Got Back Friday

Sometimes it seems like everyone has the opening rap and chorus of this song memorized, but they have no love for the rest of it. Well, today is your day! Sit down with the lyrics and iconic music video until you have this down. Sure, other people are out buying gifts today. I’d argue that having this song in your repertoire is a gift to the world.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Orange Is The New Black

Raise your hand if you were apprehensive about the idea of Netflix creating original programming. I thought it was a smart idea for Arrested Development to make its big comeback online after the networks gave it the heave ho, but when I heard the people behind Netflix were going to continue their venture into alternative programming, I didn’t really think it was going anywhere.

Boy was I wrong.

I watched House of Cards, thought it was brilliant, and then it gave me hope that Orange is the New Black would be just as good. After hearing from a bunch of people and seeing the fandom grow on Tumblr, I decided to give it a try. And in all honesty, I loved it more than Kevin Spacey looking straight into my soul in House of Cards.

Created by the woman behind Weeds, Jenji Kohan, I knew that if OITNB had any of the same drama/weird comedy her previous show did, it would at least be pretty decent. And for you Weeds fans, I expected it to be as good as at least the first 2 seasons in Agrestic.

Quick plot summary: Based on a true story, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is a yuppie, Connecticut-raised, New York City resident who is engaged to her fiance, Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs). In the pilot, she is sentenced to a women’s correctional facility after being convicted of carrying drug money for drug smuggler Alex Vause (Laura Pepon) – who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend. Piper is introduced to an eccentric group of fellow inmates, and learns the ropes of living in jail.

I think what makes this show special is that although Piper is the main character and the story revolves around her, the magic of the show is the outstanding ensemble of actors that come together to create a group of people you care about – even though they are all criminals. Besides Piper, I believe, you get to know each person before it is revealed what they did in order to spend time in prison. We get to know these characters on a human level, not a criminal one.

Here are just a few of the standout recurring characters from OITNB,

Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson

played by Danielle Brooks

Taystee is probably the liveliest, most energetic inmate in the prison. In fact, she’s so upbeat that she’s the main reason why at times, you forget you’re watching a show that takes place behind bars.  Taystee also is an excellent employee in the prison library (as seen above), which makes me love her even more.

Poussey Washington

Played by Samira Wiley

  Poussey is Taystee’s best friend, and their friendship is one to be jealous of. In a place where the ladies often look to each other for ahem.. sexual relief… Taystee and Poussey’s friendship is endearing, natural, and at its heart – a story two lifelong sisters.

Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett

played by taryn manning

This bitch cray. There’s no other way to describe it. She’s like The Situation or Sarah Palin – you know what they’re saying and doing is wrong, but you can’t help but watch it all go down in flames. Pennsatucky is a former drug addict who turns herself into a self-proclaimed evangelist for God. Except everything she does is not Christian at all.

Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren

played by uzo aduba

Oh Crazy Eyes. She has the most fitting nickname, because all you have to do is look at her. She quickly becomes obsessed with Piper, but things go awry once she tells her she’s engaged – to a man – and does not want to hook up. Let’s just say, don’t get Crazy Eyes mad when she’s had a lot to drink.

Sophia Burset

played by laverne cox

Sophia is a transgender woman who is the hairdresser for many of the inmates. As if living as a transgender isn’t hard enough out in the real world, it’s even more difficult in prison. But Sophia has this exceptional confidence that she always carries that would make any woman – or man – jealous.

Nicky Nichols

played by Natasha Lyonne

I feel like Natasha Lyonne was made for the role. Nicky Nichols is a former drug addict who provides snarky commentary and A+ advice to her fellow inmates.

BONUS: John Bennett

Played by Matt McGorry, Bennett is a correctional officer who is in a secret relationship with inmate Daya. I did not include a picture because I graduated college with him and it’s weird to see his face everywhere. I got freaked out and had to stop searching. But he’s included so I can compare my success in life with his (not as impressive as his).

BONUS x2: The cast members are people you actually want to hang out with IRL. Case in point: TWERKING.

BONUSx3: Even though we’re nearing the end of the summer TV season, there’s still plenty of time to fit in another series before fall TV kicks up again. So after you watch OITNB and are left wondering what to watch, we suggest using this awesome TV show generator to find your next fave series!

Click image to open interactive version (via CableTV.com).