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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pretty Little Liars Is Way More Than Just a Pretty Little Teenage Drama

The Pretty Little Liars season premiere is tonight, which makes today the perfect day to deconstruct my love for it in a blog post.

How can anyone not love those pretty little smiling faces?
Don't let the marketing of this show fool you. Almost every official picture I've seen for this show makes it look like your typical teenage drama where the girls are witches with a capital B. It took me way longer than it should have to find a picture of the four main characters in which they actually looked like friends. But, the friendship between these four girls is the backbone of the entire show. It's what keeps them together when A (the mysterious texting entity out to get them) threatens to tear them and their whole lives apart.

I feel like the way the show is marketed is detrimental to how it's perceived in the television spectrum. It's dropped into the "guilty pleasure teen soap opera" basket by viewers who then go watch Mad Men while scorning the people who actually enjoy it. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of scoffs I've gotten from people when I tell them Pretty Little Liars is one of my favorite shows. It's a tad annoying.

Felix is having none of your television elitist crap.
Sure, Pretty Little Liars has the tendency to be a little campy and over the top, but so did Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there are college classes about how brilliant that show was.

The main thing that puts Pretty Little Liars at the top of its class is the impenetrable friendship the four girls share. I've only read the first book of the series the show is based on, and I couldn't bring myself to read the rest of them. In the book series, the girls aren't friends. They're thrown together by A torturing them, and that's the only bond they really share. Boy, am I glad that was changed for the TV show. Their friendship defies the stereotypes of teenage girldom, both in the show and out. The people of Rosewood assume that the girls are attention-seeking liars, while the people of the real world assume they are shallow and stuck-up. These characters break out of those boxes again and again.

This show also has one of the best portrayals of queer women I've ever seen. Queer women as in plural. As in several ladies who love ladies (and also sometimes boys because bisexuality is a thing that exists despite its erasure in the media) with distinct personalities and multi-faceted characterization which makes them essential characters instead of just ploys to get ratings.

In conclusion, Pretty Little Liars is a thing you should watch. You should probably start from the beginning, though. This show is twisty and complicated in the best way ever.

To further convince you, here's some more of their gorgeous faces.

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