Like every good and responsible grown up, I spent the first half of my Christmas break off work watching all of Pretty Little Liars up to the latest episode. I started watching the show many months ago as Snark Squad started recapping it and I have so many issues with this show, maybe some are irrational but they need a place to be so here it comes. The following may involve spoilers if you’re not up to date with the show and care about that sort of thing, be advised.
The bad first because maybe you won’t hate me when I end on a good note. This show moves terribly slow, especially the first 2 seasons feel like watching the same 10 second video clip over and over and over again. Sometimes things are revealed but it takes forever for everyone to be informed of what just happened because this show hosts more secrets than the CIA. Seriously. Everyone is hiding something and that’s kind of attractive as far as a show goes but it also gets old pretty fast. It’s annoying when you go through character after character thinking that’s who killed Ali only to learn after a couple of episodes that it wasn’t them. There are A sequences that don’t give you anything and when you think you’re finally close to finding out who A is, it’s a bunch of them, then there are red coats as well and Big A. It makes you wonder how high up this thing goes.
This little town in Pennsylvania has now seen more bodies in a short period of time than can be considered normal or believable. The Police is a joke because obviously the main detective is a crook who’s involved in the mystery himself and don’t get me started on the parents. A lot of them are really terrible. Especially the males in this town are oftentimes despicable.
The way this show tried to shove the relationship of one English teacher with his 15 or 16 year old student into my face as some kind of epic love story made me sick. Yes, Aria has some sort of old soul but he was her teacher and these things are not right and shouldn’t be romanticised. I have pretty high standards when it comes to this sort of thing so excuse me when you think otherwise but she is a minor and Ezra should have more maturity than to know that being with one of his students is a great idea because it’s not.
Another thing that really bothers me is how nonchalantly bullying is treated on this show. These teenagers are fearing for their lives and the lives of those they love on a daily basis because of some sick secret they probably didn’t even have anything to do with. Nancy Drewing shit on their own as well as not telling even the good parents about what is going on is promoted as some kind of way to go which doesn’t sit right with me. Even grown up people get bullied when they try to help and can’t be trusted. I worry about the 12 year olds who watch this show religiously especially since we are already living in a world where bullying leads to teens killing themselves because they can’t take it anymore.
The things these minors on the show have to face, how often they are in mortal danger concerns me. It concerns me because as absurd as this whole show is, people might still take it at face value, especially the young and impressionable target group. People have told me I should have more faith in our teens but I don’t, sorry.
So why do I bother watching, you ask? Because despite all its shortcomings this show does have an appeal. I do want to find out who tried killing Ali, whom she is so afraid of. Also, sometimes the show manages to be just some cute teenager drama, when the girls are girls, they date age appropriate guys or girls and you can see why they are friends with each other.
One thing PLL does really well is have queer teenage characters. From the way Emily’s coming out was handled and those of other characters on the show, I never wanted to tear my hair out. I yelled at Mama Fields when she was first unsupportive of Emily but she has come a long way since then and I love her for it. Emily’s relationships are treated like everyone else’s on the show and this is probably the main part why I watch this show. Because even in 2013 or the soon to be 2014, seeing good queer characters on TV is still too rare. Emily is not just some lowly characters, no she is in the main cast.
PLL shows how strong you can be, and that girls can take care of themselves because these four do so very well even though half of Rosewood’s population seems to have it out for them because of some reason or another. Nevertheless they should not have to endure all that’s been going on there.
I have no idea how long this show is supposed to run because you can’t keep these girls in high school forever and the big secret can’t stay hidden forever. Let’s hope the creators know about the expiration date and have figured out a way to make it work.