Friday, June 14, 2013

PLL: Part II (aka The Bests).

Today in my teenage angst, my friend Adriene's tumblr bio states, "I have no guilty pleasures." I find that I really don't either. I act like I do, but really I don't feel guilty or feel any shame for the (seemingly) stupid things I find pleasurable (read, Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars, etc). As a result, I unabashedly carry forth my previous post The Five Worst Things of Pretty Little Liars and present to you:

The Five Best Things About Pretty Little Liars
These are in descending order of importance.

Aside from the other favorites described, I can't and won't get over this intro. 
I sing along every episode and maybe (only maybe have actions). Hehehehe.

5. The town of Rosewood is shot on the same set as Gilmore Girls
This maybe should have been put under the worsts because it lures you into a false sense of ease and protection while watching the show. But seriously. That's pretty awesome. Also Rosewood tends to hold that same level of "not on this planet" existential feel that Stars Hollow did (though in an entirely different way, so I approve the set's re-usage. 

4. Troian Bellisario. 
I'd like to complain about the fact that she's 28 and playing a 17 year old, but I can't. Because I think she's amazing. Spencer Hastings - Troian's character, but like that really needs explanation - holds the group's book smarts and academic achievements; as in she's shooting for Penn State. Which is great right? I mean in every group of girls/teens, there's the one with the intellect. But Spencer's character goes beyond this. She's loyal to those she loves (which doesn't always place her family first), but doesn't stand for the lying. AND she's super funny. The more ridiculous the show gets, the funnier Spencer becomes. I like to think that this is because she's getting so tightly wound trying to sort out the interwining issues in her head that she's going crazy - which we've already seen to be at least half true. And like sure, Hanna's funny too, but that's kind of her schtick. Spencer's funny comes without aiming for it; and I think that's a mark of good writing. Below are some of my fave Spencer quotes.
  • [About calling the number from “Vivian”’s pocket]: “Well, it’s probably easier than hiring the fat lady with the tube top at the farmers’ market who’s going to tell you your fortune, but if you’re too scared.
  • “If only we could harness Mona’s sense of entitlement, we could light the eastern seaboard.” 
  • via
3. Toby.
OH man alive, Toby. I just freaking love Toby! First, because who decides that a character's name should be Toby, when you have other character's named Spencer, and Aria, and Holden, and Maya. I guess Sara Sheppard. But whatever. But also because he had the most ridiculous mop of a head of hair in the first season and now he's like...well, he's not losing, in the hair department. And also! because he it is so undetermined if he's bad or good that, as viewers, we can't ever fully love or loathe him. This is akin to Damien Lewis' character, Nicholas Brody on Homeland (Yeah I made the comparison). In that regard, I generally go with however Claire Danes is feeling about the issue. But with Toby, no one ever has any semblence of a clue as to his true motives and the lenghts to which he's willing to go! Someone just tell me! HOW SHOULD I FEEL ABOUT TOBY!?!?! Not to mention the doo-rag episode. At the end of Season 3, we got a glimpse into a conversation that Allison had had with Toby when he was in Juvenile Detention (I am certain that the doo-rag was meant to really bring home the severity of his time in juvie). So what's that history about? Either way, I celebrated in the S4 premiere when he appeared on the screen. Even though that appearance was followed almost immediately by a lie. 
I love how much play this ridiclous doorag got. via
2. Emily's sexuality. 
This is legit one of my favorite things about this show. Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell, is gay, which for a teen show is a pretty typical character inclusion. The best part comes in that not only is she gay, but its no big deal. In fact, it was hardly a deal at all. There was the coming out episode, in which, the other girls were like, great! And her Dad was like, I love you! And her mom was like, NO! A few episodes later, everyone had adjusted; and beauty and lies carried on as per the usual - intertwining and damning everyone's lives to destruction and ruin. Easy peasy. Because I feel like we're past the shock value of homosexuality. I'm a firm believer that sexuality is fluid (rather than static). It grows and it changes and maybe you're attracted to an entirely different kind of person than you were yesterday. It's just the way it goes. Thank you, PLL production team, for making this work so well. 
Oh Maya. Playing a teenager forever.
Except, of course for the confusing role you now play on Teen Wolf. Yikes. via
1. The exposition of the nature of emotionally abusive friendships. 
Did anyone read The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood? I remember watching the first season and thinking that Sara Sheppard sure had. The Robber Bride centers on the lives of three women; friends, who despite their vast personal and professional differences are brought together by a shared friendship with an emotionally abusive woman, Zenia. The book outlines each woman's story and explains the nature of her relationship with Zenia and how it has impacted the rest of their lives. After Zenia's (supposed) death, the women seek to understand themselves in the freedom of a life outside of Zenia's influence. 
Translate this story to High Schoolers and I give you, Pretty Little Liars. The thing I love most about this show is that it exposes the way that emotionally abusive relationships form between teenagers - for any number of reasons - and because of their age, lack of life experience, and whatever else, just seem to spin on and on and on. When I talk to the teenagers that I work with every week, I understand that these relationships are everywhere. And that kills me, but I worry that more than that, it's also killing them. The thing I appreciate most about the exposure of these unhealthy relationships is that girls be able to identify the Ali(s), in their own lives and make the necessary changes before its too late. This is a possibly much unidentified and unceasingly helpful aspect for this show's unending teenage viewership. 

Aaannddd there you have it. My relationship with teen oriented media is deep and its real. I'm sorry if you find this tedious and unimportant and would rather I be talking about Game of Thrones, but let's get real guys, I just can't do that. 


Crystal Kimber said...

haha...i know this is almost a month after the original post, but you need to know that I love this! I'm addicted to PLL! AND, just so you know (this is mostly to make you laugh)...the person that got me addicted to PLL is none other than my lovely ex. Yeah, that's right. Military, Late 20's, Straight guy that spends way too much time in the gym. Not really what you think of as the target audiance for PLL, right :)

anxiousteen said...

bahaha i love pll and your blog! i'm new to blogging and it would be lovely if you could check out my blog

79km said...

I was looking for something to watch and read the description of PLL. First thing I thought was, "het, sounds like The Robber Bride". SInce I loved the novel I might give this a go.