I’m one episode in of Pretty Little Liars, and I cannot help but describe it as a bad accident. You really shouldn’t look, but you’re so intrigued by it, you keep staring. You need to know all the details even though you should just move on. There are so many flaws I can’t help but notice, but it is the mysterious ‘A’ that will keep me watching. I’m afraid this will be my guilty pleasure.
I’ve never been a teenage drama, girlie show fan. But, with the series finale upon us, I thought I’d jump on this band wagon and see what my cousin and sister in-law keep fussing about. Not only from them, but from heaps of others, I kept seeing ‘PLL’ coming up on my newsfeed and felt a little jealous, with a hint of fear of missing out. So guys, I’ve caved in. I jumped on Netflix and started to watch Pretty Little Liars.
The show is based around five BFFs – Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and finally Alison (Sasha Pieterse). Alison goes missing after a night together with the girls at Spencer’s house. After a year, the remaining four BFFs begin to receive texts from someone who signs off as ‘A’. This ‘A’ is constantly threatening them with revealing their deepest and darkest secrets, and also seems to know exactly where they are and who they are with. Each teenage girl has her own storyline, but it all centres around whom this anonymous person is.
In 2016, I did a studio tour of Warner Brothers in LA. We got the chance to see how a street, houses, buildings and even trees are made to look for particular TV shows and movies. We even discovered the holes in the ground on the footpaths were so that light fixtures could be easily exchanged to suit its particular set. Our tour guide warned us, ‘you’ll never watch movies or TV shows the same again.’ Damn it was she right. I know there is such thing as movie magic, but man, it’s so hard to watch something like Pretty Little Liars without remembering how that barn we first meet the girls in, actually looked. Yes, I’ve seen that exact one in person. Foam and plastic to mimic brick, fake leaves individually painted for the right time of year, and wood that isn’t actually wood. It’s also plastic! We even visited Aria’s house. The stairs, they lead to nowhere! And did you know in order to make a street look long, the buildings furthest away are not actual building size and sometimes are just paintings and not genuine buildings? In fact, the size of them keeps getting smaller and smaller, but the camera, when panned out, makes it look bigger and longer. I know, beside the point, but trust me. It’s so hard to watch PLL knowing exactly what Rosewood truly looks like and made out of.
Then comes the really bad acting and some awful direction choices. It’s so badly dramatized; one cannot help but think the necessity of such dramatisation. The pauses are awkwardly too long. The silent moments make me wonder if those scenes took more than several takes, because surely the girls would have been laughing themselves silly.
Now, I am lying. I have seen more than one episode, and Aussie Tammin Sursok who plays a blind girl who goes to the same school as the rest of them, Jenna is unbearable to watch. She should have spent a bit of time with a coach, or people who do suffer from the disability so that she can get a better idea of how to use the guidance stick, how to grab things that she cannot see where in front of her they are, and how to not look directly at the person she is talking to. Anyway, we don’t know why Jenna is blind, but something keeps telling us that the girls are somewhat involved.
Despite all this, the story line, the idea itself, it’s pretty awesome. It’s the mystery of what happened to Alison, why the Jenna story is not to be spoken about, and who ‘A’ is and how they know so many secrets, which has this little blogger hooked. I have been told that I will be tossing and turning over who ‘A’ is, finally making a decision but eventually getting it wrong anyway. But, I am still eager to figure it out before I get to the finale.
PLL is one of these shows you need a friend to watch with so it can be discussed. You’re going to have so many theories, so many questions; you’ll explode if you don’t talk about it to someone. If anybody else is getting on this now after seven seasons, please be my discussion buddy! I can’t wait to be able to talk about this fully to my cousin and sister in-law, and the fear of missing out will slowly deteriorate. Bring it on!