I’m going to be honest and admit that I am obsessed with “Pretty Little Liars.” Yes, it is unrealistic, crazy and sometimes completely convoluted and baffling but that’s why it’s so good.
If you have somehow avoided this show until now, let me clue you in with a quick summary: A beautiful and popular teenage girl goes missing from the (fictional) small town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania; her four friends receive texts from “A” threatening to spill all their secrets; a lot of death, drama and jumping to conclusions ensues.
The Season Six premiere airs tomorrow (!!!), so let’s discuss some of the most unbelievable things about this show! (This post contains minor spoilers for the first season, but it shouldn’t ruin anything for you if you have yet to binge through it on Netflix. Seasons one through four are currently available, and five will be added on June 10.)
1. Alison DiLaurentis
Let’s start by talking about who the show is really about: Alison DiLaurentis, Rosewood’s Queen Bee, who goes missing in the first scene of the pilot. Her body is (supposedly) found a year later, and that’s where the show really begins. Don’t be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she’s so much more than that.
So many questions surround Alison. Is she alive or not? Is she good or bad? Is she gay or straight or just, like, repeatedly bicurious? How does her hair always look so beautiful?
Alison is the most enigmatic character of “Pretty Little Liars,” and Sasha Pieterse is a super talented actress (as well as being the youngest cast member—she was twelve when she auditioned for the part!). I hope Pieterse stays on our screens for a long time.
Rather like Lord Voldemort, Alison keeps a cryptic diary, hides trinkets in secret places, and makes use of a fake, anagram-inspired name or two. She’s a gifted liar who loves to play games, which is why no one is ever 100% confident that she’s really dead. Her presence, then her absence, is the glue that holds Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna together, and in some ways she knows each of them better than they know themselves.
You thought your high school bully was a bitch? “A” is the worst. THE. WORST. “A” is best known for sending anonymous texts, lurking around in a black hoodie and pretty much ruining everything for the Liars. AND THE ENEMY IS ALWAYS CHANGING. Partly because the girls become so paranoid that they suspect every single person who is bitchy/kind/casual towards them, and therefore so do we.
We’re recently being told that why “A” is lashing out is more important than who “A” is. I’m still burned from the “Gossip Girl” finale, so my worst nightmare would be, “Oh, those threats were love letters.” Don’t do it, PLL.
There are other bullies in Rosewood too, like Jenna. Except, you see those glasses? Yeah, someone blinded her. This is not your usual teen show.
3. Terrible Authority Figures
You may be asking, “But how can so much cyber bullying continue for so many seasons?” Well, the adults of Rosewood pretty much suck. The PLL’s parents regularly disappear to Austria, Afghanistan, Syracuse or maybe just to the local brew for a lazy afternoon, teachers get into relationships with their students, and the cops never solve their cases—they like to spend time harassing teenage girls instead.
What do you get when you add Parent + Cop? Sexytimes, that’s what.
4. Supportive High School Boyfriends/Girlfriends
In high school, most girls worry that their BFs might like another girl, suck at calling them back, or want to break up before going to a different college. The PLLs are fine in this arena.
Their bed buddies never pressure them for sex, are cool with whatever the future holds, and turn up after any “A”-related problem looking appropriately hot and concerned. OK, sometimes one or two them will try to join the “A”-team or hold their lover’s head underwater, but still, they have it pretty good.
Yes, I am #teamspoby.
5. Although, Toby Cavanaugh Did Once Look Like This
In the words of LL Cool J, “If You Don’t Judge My Do-Rag, I Won’t Judge Your Red Flag.”
6. Realistic Gay Relationships
I remember when I was watching the PLL pilot for the first time, and it’s pretty clear that Emily is struggling with her sexuality. Even though gay and bisexual characters have been included in teen TV shows for awhile now—Walt in “The Carrie Diaries,” Calvin Owens in “Greek,” Eric Van Der Woodsen in “Gossip Girl,” Anna in “One Tree Hill,” Marissa Cooper in “The O.C.”—I still thought, Oh boy, here it goes.
Because so often, gay characters and relationships are really mishandled by TV shows. They are relegated to a sidekick/subplot, the coming-out story is pretty cringe-worthy, and it’s rare that you get a true boy-on-boy or girl-on-girl makeout sesh unless it’s thrown in for shock factor.
But, PLL and Shay Mitchell (the actress who plays Emily) have been given much deserved praise for Emily’s characterization and development. When we first meet Emily, she is terrified of how the world will change if she comes out, but she soon grows into a confident, classy young woman who is totally proud to be who she is.
Emily’s relationships are explored with as much attention as the other girls’, but Emily is not totally defined by her sexuality; she goes through love, heartache, swim meets, school stress, family drama and “A”-threats just like other Rosewood teens.
PLL has a thing for British people (and I mean, who could blame them?). Our first English lad is posh but cute Wren, who is engaged to Spencer’s older sister Melissa. I’m not sure what sort of visa Wren is on to always be gallivanting around the U.S. like he does, but we’ll overlook that for a moment.
Let’s skip ahead a few seasons to discuss Colin, Wren and Melissa’s flatmate in London.
OK, first of all, Colin is my dad’s name, so I guess I should give PLL points for choosing a legit British name (albeit one that’s not really popular for this generation). But (PLL’s) Colin is TOO MUCH. Some British slang is one thing if it sounds natural—Colin’s lines were so obviously written by an Anglophiliac American that I was ripping my hair out listening to such lines as:
“Apartments are flats. Trucks are lorries. Sweaters are jumpers.”
“I imagine after your flight you’re a bit PECKISH. How do you feel about stale biscuits?”
“At the risk of sounding like a nosey git…”
“Or you can tell me to bugger off.”
And this is all contained in just ONE scene.
But, Wren and Melissa still needing a flatmate to split rent in London despite both making a decent salary? So real.
8. That Time Perd Hapley Reported On A Murder Trial
Yes, friends, I do know which show I’m talking about.
I’m not going to lie to you: The end of season five sort of drags. I was getting plenty frustrated with the show, but then there was this episode where Perd Hapley from “Parks and Recreation” (real name Jay Jackson) stars as a reporter. The Lord giveth!
OK, ABC Family. Since y’all are Perdverts I guess I can forgive you for those filler scenes with Egg and the married one.
9. School Is Just Foreshadowy English Lessons
Rosewood High only seems to offer English lessons, in which the curriculum is studying books that coincidentally relate to that episode’s plot.
Character is being nice in public but acting shady in private? “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Crazy girl about to get involved with a writer? “Tender Is The Night” and “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.” Someone is wrongfully accused of a crime and ostracized from the community? “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Sneaking into a mental institution with your frenemy tonight? “The Bell Jar.” Etc.
10. This Show Can Make Anything Sinister
This includes ice creAm pArlors and chickpeAs. Do yourself a favor and watch the epic (and unintentionally hilarious) dubstep/EzrA/chickpeA scene.
And don’t even get me started on dolls and dollhouses. Never going near that shit again after watching this show.
11. Tippi the Bird
So, there is this talking bird who once belonged to Alison’s grandma in Georgia, who repeats a lot of Alison-isms, and has clues to what happened to her the summer before she went missing. Of course.
At first I thought they were mispronouncing “Tybee” as in “Tybee Island” of Georgia, but it’s actually a reference to Tippi Hedren in “The Birds.” Apparently PLL reeeeally likes Hitchcock references, but I wouldn’t know because PLL is the most scary I can cope with.
Anyway, the Internet goes wild every time Tippi reappears in an episode.
12. Time (And Seasons) Don’t Make Sense in Rosewood
It’s an ongoing joke between fans (and the showrunners!) that time in Rosewood makes absolutely no sense. The girls finished junior year within two seasons, but they have been seniors FOREVER. In Season Five, Spencer Hastings finally turns 18 and has her first legal pint (in London). The actress who plays Spencer, my personal girlcrush Troian Bellisario, is actually 29.
That’s one of the reasons why Season Six is going to feature a time jump.
Also, the seasons are completely unbelievable due to the girls’ clothing. Y’all, I live in South Carolina, and even I wear a coat during the winter. I’m not buying that Pennsylvania Decembers are all that toasty.
13. Radley Sanitarium
Radley Sanitarium, oh-so-cleverly referencing “To Kill A Mockingbird,” is like a creepy Dickensian orphanage with hints of “Orange Is The New Black,” only with more questionable portrayals of black women. There are World War II nurse uniforms, an abandoned children’s ward, and, I kid you not, secret messages hidden in the piano sheet music and/or patients’ artwork.
“It all leads back to Radley.”
14. No One Is Ever Really Dead
These girls go to approximately 57 funerals during the course of the series (always looking fabulous, if somewhat inappropriate for the occasion), and yet quite a few of the deaths turn out to be… not the real deal.
Did you see a body? It only counts if you saw a body.
And even then, it could have been switched.
15. We Are Still Watching Despite Years Of Wondering Who “A” Is
Occasionally I ponder how many hours I have spent watching this show, trying to figure out who “A” is, and sleuthing through Reddit threads and fan sites to read theories.
PLL started back in 2010, and yet here we all are five years later, still dying to know the identity of “A.” THAT is the sign of an unbelievably great show.
“Pretty Little Liars” is back TOMORROW for season six! You can see it on ABC Family on Tuesday, June 2 at 8 p.m EST, or purchase episodes on Amazon Instant Video.
Are you a PLL fan? Tweet us @LitDarling!
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