I live about a block away from the studio where they film Orange is the New Black in Astoria, NY. When they’re shooting you can see a lot of the cast and crew walking around the street outside. It’s pretty cool. It’s also fun to imagine someone waking up from a 5 year coma coming upon this. “Oh my God, apparently there was a jailbreak at a women’s prison! And…now they’re all just milling around! One of them’s having a smoke, the other is on her cell phone! Why isn’t anyone else reporting them to the authorities? You sir, holding the boom mic, have you no decency?!?”
Many times they’ll set up the catering table on one of the streets outside the studio. It’s the same one I happen to walk by almost every morning. Twice in the past few weeks I’ve walked by when it was out early for breakfast. Because of a closed sidewalk on the other side of the street due to construction, to get by I basically have no choice but to walk through the catering tent.
Let me tell you: I want to steal a muffin so bad.
Now, I’m not a thief. I don’t usually steal stuff. The vast majority of muffins I’ve eaten in my life have either been paid for by me or given to me. And I’m sure the cast and crew of Orange is the New Black are all fine people who work hard, and I would never want to take something they earned. But last time I passed the tent, I walked through it twice – once on my way there, once on my way back. On my way there, it was packed full of people (some of whom looked at me a little weird. “Why is this guy in workout clothes coming through here? I don’t remember anyone in the script being credited as “Dude in Old Ass Seattle Sonics T-Shirt Heading to the Gym.”) On the return trip, it was pretty much empty save one or two stragglers. After everyone had eaten, there was still PLENTY of food left over. So I’m fairly confident me taking one muffin wouldn’t leave anyone else starving. It’s not like I’m ripping a plate of bacon and eggs out of Natasha Lyonne’s hands.
But at this point it’s more about the challenge of it than the actual theft. I’ve walked through enough times where I think I could get away with it. Here’s my plan:
Dress Like a Member of the Crew
All I need is a card with my picture on it and a lanyard to serve as my fake badge, and boom: I’m all set.
Or, Dress Like a Member of the Cast
If the badge thing doesn’t work, I’m only a wig and a tan jumpsuit away from being an inmate. Just need to make sure I shave that day.
Act Like I Belong
This is the most critical aspect of the entire operation. Once I’m in the tent, at no point will I look around nervously. I’ll just pick up a plate and survey my options. I won’t make direct eye contact with anyone, but I won’t look away either. Maybe a mumble a few “heys” under my breath. Throw in a vague refernence to that day’s shoot. “I think this scene’s going to be our best one yet! Huh…are those muffins? I could go for a muffin.”
Take Exactly One (1) Muffin
Like I said before: this isn’t about the actual consumption of food, it’s about the thrill of the act itself. I’m not trying to be greedy here, helping myself to a ridiculous amount. Laura Prepon will not starve on my watch.
Run Like Hell
Once the muffin is in my possession, I take off sprinting. Because who’s going to question me? If someone is crazy enough to pick up a muffin then run away, do you really want to run after them and risk catching them? The unpredictability of the muffin sprint means they’ll probably throw up their hands and chalk this one up as another NYC streetwalking muffin pilfering. Probably happens every day in the Big Apple.
And that’s it. What are my possible outcomes here? I’ve considered those too:
Worst case scenario: I get caught. I’m forced to return the muffin. In an embarrassing display, I’m handcuffed and forced to bashfully spit the bits I’ve already eaten into an angry cop’s hands. I’m prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and in an ironic twist am sentenced to a decade-long prison sentence in upstate New York.
Middle case scenario: I get away. No one notices that I took it. The people who do notice barely care. I’m so disappointed by this I kind of look back and say, “Hey! You guys know I stole this right?” to which they shrug. I am now the proud owner of a weird, not that interesting story to tell my unimpressed friends at parties.
Best case scenario: The show’s producers notice my incredible acting ability (“You blended RIGHT IN with the crew! We thought you were a key grip the whole time!”) and offer me a role on the show as Litchfield’s first male inmate, a wisecracking muffin thief. My signature catchphrase becomes, “Got muffin?” while I wink at the camera, even though they tell me to stop looking at the camera because it’s not that type of show.
In short, is it worth the risk of prison (or, the reward of a plum acting gig) just to eat a free muffin that doesn’t belong to me I could easily buy for $3 down the street? If you know me at all, you know the answer to that is: absolutely.
You know what’s even better than illegal muffins? Subscribing to my email list. This month I’m sending out tips on how to get a danish off the set of House of Cards without Kevin Spacey noticing.