Don’t be surprised if almost everyone you know seems to disappear for a stretch—say, 13 hours or so. After all, today’s the day that the second season of Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s much binge-watched series about the hilarious and harrowing happenings at a Connecticut women’s prison, will premiere.
Part of the charm of the show is its large and varied ensemble—including inmates, their families and a not-entirely-professional prison staff—which ensures things never get boring. One of our favorite characters is Officer John Bennett, a guard who’s more humane than his colleagues, even if he is having a completely inappropriate relationship with a prisoner.
DuJour caught up with actor Matt McGorry, who plays Bennett, to talk about prison, binging on TV and which OITNB character is his own personal favorite.
The first season of the show came from out of nowhere to become a hit. How are things different for you going into a second season that you know people are anticipating?
For the first season, not many people knew what was in the works. The Netflix model was still pretty new—I think we were only the third show to come out, and there wasn’t a ton of anticipation. I went in with no expectations, so the reaction definitely took me by surprise. People keep asking me when season two is coming out, and it has been nice to be able to share that answer.
This is one of those shows people seem to watch in one or two long sessions. Are you yourself a binge watcher?
I like to watch TV slowly, to savor it and draw it out as long as possible. I know some people who have already watched the first season of Orange two or three times. That’s amazing, but I have trouble finding the time to watch even one season of a show. It was funny when the first season came out and a few days later people were telling me that they’d watched the whole thing. I was like, already?
Well, it’s really easy to tell yourself just one more episode…
Yeah, with these half-hour shows sometimes it’s so easy. It’s like, I can either brush my teeth or watch another episode of Girls.
We left your character in a bit of a sticky situation. What does the second season have in store for Officer Bennett?
I can tell you that things don’t get easier for Bennett. As we saw in the first season, the writers like to make him sweat. You’ll see him trying to deal with Daya’s pregnancy and all of the other things that seem to be stressful for him.
Who’s your favorite character on the show?
I really enjoy Pornstache a lot. Maybe I shouldn’t, but that character is so funny. It was sometimes an issue on set trying not to laugh in scenes with Pablo [Schreiber], but there is something despicable and hilarious about his character that sort of gets me every time. And there’s also Crazy Eyes who, on paper, can seem pretty out there, but [actress] Uzo Aduba really grounds the character in reality so you just can’t help but feel for her.
And you’ve got another series in the works, right?
Yes, it’s a pilot on ABC called How To Get Away With Murder. It’s from Shonda Rimes’ production company and Viola Davis is the star. I get to play someone whose name in the script is Douche Face. I think people are going to find me convincingly douchey.
Which of the two characters are you more like in real life?
I would say I am probably more like Bennett. I have never been as douchey as Douche Face, but I have had periods in my life—early in college, maybe—when I was very vulnerable and wouldn’t know how to deal with it. Now I feel like I am in a really happy place and am a lot more comfortable with who I am. I can just be myself and don’t have to put anything else on top of it.
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