Um, I don't know how it happened, but I um, watched up the first half of the first season of Pretty Little Liars. SHHHHH!!! Don't tell anyone!!! I beg of you!!!
And um, it's pretty bad. Fucking ri-DIC-ulous. It's about a group of teenage girls who I would have hated in high school. If you've seen Gossip Girl, it's kind of like that, except a little more low-rent. Rich little bitches that I don't and never had had anything in common with. And yet...I kept watching.
Now. Here Be Spoilers. I have seen every episode that has been aired and I'm gonna just talk about it. No Whining!!
The premise of the show is this: these four bitchy girls (Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna) were camping with their friend Alison (the ringleader of their little clique) when Alison disappeared. The girls lose touch with each other but when the new school season starts, they are reunited when they all discover that someone calling his or herself "A" is texting all of them. Is A Alison? When Alison's body is eventually found, it seems likely that A is whomever killed Alison.
A frankly seems to be EVERYWHERE. They get texts from A pretty much anytime any of them does anything significant. I doubt it will go in this direction, but at this point it would almost make the most sense if A is just Alison's ghost. I mean, seriously. No one can be everywhere like A seems to be. Of course in the most recent episode they finally get the clue that maybe it's more than one person. Duh? Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars, The Scooby Gang these girls are NOT.
In fact, it took me about four episodes before I could really tell them apart and actually remember their names. And it's not that they aren't distinctive, they're just so generically pretty. The only one who stands out is Hanna and that's just cuz she's blond and the other girls have darker hair.
Aria and Emily:
Spencer and Hanna:
Aria is sort-of the focus character of the PLL. She's the average one. Emily is the jock (she's a swimmer), Spencer's the brain (her whole family is ultra smart and competitive), and Hanna's the ... um ... one who wants to be popular? She's blond, but I wouldn't call her the dumb one since they're all pretty dumb.
Before I get to the amazing WTF-ery of this show, I should run down a list of the good parts of PLL. Um, are there any? I am still watching, so there must be something... Oh, yeah! Holly Marie Combs!! I've had a crush on her since Picket Fences. (and we're about the same age, I'm not a pedo.) She was also Piper on Charmed, which I watched ALL of and I don't care if you know that. Holly plays Aria's mother, Ella. Ella and her husband, played by Chad Lowe (and NOT Alexis Denisof, who would have been AWESOME), are having marital problems and that's really the only reason we see Ella. Which is too bad.
I guess for the most part the acting is good. That's a not-bad thing. No one stands out as embarrassingly bad or anything. I have a hate on for Chad Lowe, but I'm not sure why. He's so gloomy gus on the show, he just annoys me. Um, and the music is all right. And the show certainly isn't boring. It does have a fair amount of Ick, though.
To the Icky!!
Number One Ick:
Okay. The first icky thing I remember happening on this show involves Hanna and her mother. Hanna gets caught shoplifting and her mother is terrified that someone will find out and it will ruin her good name? Something? I dunno. She seems terrified it will ruin her rep somehow, but there's no real indication that she even has a rep. Anyhoo. In order to keep her name clear, she does what any good mother would do: she sleeps with the cop. And Mr Cop doesn't just do a wham bang, he kinda sticks around. As in, comes over every night to get his Hanna's Mom on. And Hanna comes down to breakfast and sees this:
Um, ewww???? So instead of being just a one-off icky weird thing, he sticks around to bring the EWWW. When Alison's body turns up, he's also the cop who shows up to question the PLL about Alison, so even when Hanna's mom decides she's boned him enough and kicks him out, he still hangs around being icky.
Number Two Ick:
Aria and her family spent the summer in Iceland or somewhere, and when she gets back to town, she ends up in a restaurant for some reason that I can't remember. Anyway, she meets this cute guy named Ezra Fitz. They hit it off and go on a date or they just exchange longing looks...I can't remember. But does it really matter? They have the hots for each other, that's the important thing.
So then the first week of school happens and Aria goes to English class and discovers...Mr. Fitz! He's a fucking high school teacher!! Who looks about 18!! They established somewhere that he's not way older than Aria, but he's still older and her teacher and this should end this whole matter. But then it wouldn't be part of the Ick Factor, now would it??
So they try to be friends and try not to have the hots for each other, but she thinks she loves him and she guilts him into giving it a chance even though NO FUCKING WAY. I'm all for true love, but shit like that can ruin a man's life and his career FOREVER. Just wait a few years already. But no, instead we have this creeping us out:
And no, they haven't done more than kiss. But still. Icky. Bad Aria!! Bad Fitz!!! (But mostly bad Fitz. She'll just look like the victim if anyone reports them.)
Number Three Ick:
Well, actually this isn't an ick. This is just fucking funny. Okay. After the PLL lose touch with each other (after Alison disappears), Hanna becomes friends with Mona. Or maybe they were already friends. Hanna used to be fat and I think Mona used to be ugly, but Hanna slimmed down and maybe Mona got some plastic bits, and then they sort of became more Popular and stuff. So when Hanna's not hanging out with the other PLLs, she hangs with Mona, who is kind of like early Cordelia Chase. Except she's way less funny and has way less potential to ever be anything other than annoying. So maybe she's more like Harmony. Cordy at least had a brain.
Anyway, in one episode, it's Mona's birthday so she has this big party where everyone comes and camps out. Except they weren't Camping. They were...ugh...Glam-ping. Everyone who comes gets made over and stuff. And now, for those unfamiliar with the term blowout, it basically just means using a hair dryer to give yourself BIG hair. That said, here are two things said regarding the Glamping experience:
Mona, showing the PLLs around:
“Here’s the mani-pedi tent, the massage tent, and here’s the Blow Me Bar.”
And later, Mona says:
“Girls, it’s your turn to get blown!”
Yeah. Drink that in. Said with no irony whatsoever. On a different show, that could have been campy fun, but on this show? Just Sadness. But Hilarious!!!
Okay. So remember how I said these girls aren't exactly bright? Yeah. They never really try to hunt down A. I mean, if I'm reading War and Peace and someone texts me saying they see me reading War and Peace, then, ya know, chances are good that if I look around, I'll see someone nearby. And I'm not talking about if I go sit on a park bench, pull out the book, read for three hours and THEN someone sends the text...I mean, obviously, in that case, someone could have seen me two hours ago and then texted me from their house. I'm talking about the PLLs do something and almost immediately they get a text about it. And they might vaguely look around, but they don't actually, like, all move out in different directions and try to find this person. It's ridiculous.
In one episode, they get Chinese takeout and in their bag is a small bag of fortune cookies. And I don't mean the kind you usually get, which are pre-wrapped. I mean, a small bag with four fortune cookies. Not wrapped. And when they crack open their cookies, they all have a typewritten message from A. Now. It seems that it would occur to them that this is odd. Even if the takeout place makes their own fortune cookies and doesn't wrap them, still, someone who works there would have had to put those fortunes in them. Or A knows how to make his/her own fortune cookies and SOMEHOW got them in the bag. WHO PUT THEM IN THE BAG??? And these girls don't think to go back to the restaurant and ask? Do a little digging? Nope. They just focus on the current message and do their angsty bit.
So, okay, one last thing before I wrap up. In the fall finale, Hanna sees something and thinks she knows who A is.
Hanna: “I know who A is!!”
Me: Here’s about where she gets injured and somehow goes into a coma or something before she can tell anyone...
Show, about two minutes later: “Watch out for that CAR, Hanna!!”
To its credit, she woke up and told what she knew in the spring premiere. But of course she misinterpreted what she saw and she doesn't know who A is.
And I haven't even gotten to the lesbians! Kendra from Buffy is making out with Emily!! And Spencer seems to love kissing/banging her older sister's boyfriends!! And the blind chick who's in love with her brother, who I think/hope is her stepbrother!! And yes, that could definitely have been Ick #4, but dammit. This has gone on for long enough!
So. Guilty pleasure? Yeah, sort of. Except this is worse than a guilty pleasure. Like, I watched half a season of Nip/Tuck (somewhere in the middle of the series) and I felt like I needed a shower afterward. PLL isn't QUITE that bad, but it's close. It's basically one Icky moment away from me saying "I'm out!!" And yet, I've watched quite a few Icky moments that should have already made me say that, so it'll have to be pretty spectacularly Icky.
Sigh. I really miss Veronica Mars sometimes. She'd have hunted down that evil fortune cookie maker.