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Let me start by admitting that I was captured by Pretty Little Liars immediately, but I only happened to start watching a month after the fifth season ended through the recommendation of a friend – thanks Becky! It is a very entertaining young adult series and thanks to Netflix, I could fill my days with the ebb and flow of this mystery tale. For the record, I have a lot to say about PLL, so this is the start of a mini-series of posts based on the TV show (starting with seasons 1-4).
There will be spoilers in all of these articles and, as it is a mystery, you may want to think twice before reading. However, I am going to assume that most of you are more up-to-date with basic pop culture than myself and know where Pretty Little Liars now stands – which means carry on reading and enjoy!
To give you a brief summary, based on the ABC Family version and from my perspective, this tale is about four young teens who are dealing with the death of their best friend and the girl who brought them all together, Allison DiLaurentis. After growing distant when their friend’s body was found, they all began to receive texts from an unknown sender who signs their little quips with ‘– A.’ Suspicious. Living in a wealthy town, there is no shortage of secrets to take advantage of, or suspects on who this A could actually be. With this overwhelming realization, the girls regroup and begin to understand that they can only trust each other. The girls even decide to keep their family and boyfriends in the dark of the troublesome blackmailing that occurs with the little sound of a text.
These girls have become the perfect friends – and I don’t mean in an unhealthy way. They stick together and stand up for themselves during confrontations. If there is an argument between two, the rest will remain neutral while the issues are sorted and everyone is able to move forward. If they need to call someone out, there is no hesitation in their approach – which is funny compared to all the secrets floating around. These traits are a stark contrast from what is represented back when Allison was the leader of their clique. In that time, the girls were silent to the harsh comments that came from Allison and took the abuse in discomfort. With the ‘new order’ in their social circle they are now on equal ground and are free to respect, love and protect each other.
In terms of storytelling, this group of girls should be idolized for their friendship. They are unafraid to be themselves and are fair to others that they interact with – unless there is some heightened paranoia with the whole psycho-stalker-thing, which is fair. These girls are able to face unfortunate events because they know they will not have to stand alone. Even if the decisions they make are unwise, they have each others backs through it all. Before Allison’s death, the clique was like a pyramid with Allison at the top, each girl pulled from a different social group to look up to Allison: Hannah – the overweight nerd, Spencer – the hyper-intelligent overachiever, Emily – the lesbian athlete, and Aria – the hipster with a taste for mature activities. In other words, each cliche you could want has been provided, which allows for a diverse viewership and consistently moving plot lines. Now, without Allison, the four are on equal footing- a square rather than a pyramid.
Perhaps these characters are less than shocking, but their character markers allow for easy access in dealing with realistic themes themes that can support a teen girl going through similar situations. It is all the normal high school drama- made more exceptional with the enticing murder mystery plot. It keeps a lovely level of suspense and fear. They grow from their awkward teen years into young adults with a deeper understanding of what it means to be alive. They grow into pretty girls – inside and out.
More on Pretty Little Liars next time!