Sure, sure. I know what a lot of you are thinking: “Me watch ‘Pretty Little Liars?’ That’s un-possible because it’s a show for silly tween girls who shop at Forever 21, pray to the altar of One Direction and probably haven’t even gotten their period yet.” First off, we all shop at Forever 21. (Don’t lie — I recognize that floral mini skirt from the window display!) Second, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t RSVP if Harry Styles invited you on a private trip to Makeout City. Thirdly, well … I have no way of knowing the answer to that last one and, frankly, it’s none of my business, so let’s keep it moving.
However, what I DO know is that “PLL” is better, smarter and more thrilling than you think. For those unfamiliar, the ABC Family series is based on a collection of YA novels by author Sara Shepard, which was initially released in 2006. The main plot revolves around a group of teen girls — Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) — whose friendship is torn apart after their clique’s fearless (and super-bitchy) leader, Alison DiLaurentis, goes missing and later turns up dead. However, when a mysterious entity named “A” starts harassing the remaining four by threatening to expose all their secrets, the girls reunite and vow to find out what really happened to their friend—before they suffer a similar fate. (Spoilers ahead!)
Tonight marks the Season 5 premiere and it’s one not to be missed, especially because last season left off with such a mind-blowing cliffhanger that my nails have been nibbled down to the nub while waiting in anticipation. (Translation: The last season finales of “Scandal” and “Homeland” pale in comparison to the Season 4 finale of “Pretty Little Liars.” Seriously. It was THAT fucked up.) So, if you’re already done watching the new season of “Orange Is The New Black” and are looking for your next binge, might I suggest “Pretty Little Liars?” It’s about to be your new summer obsession.
However, in case you need further convincing, here are even more reasons why the series is so much more than a guilty pleasure; it’s a full-on, heart-stopping thriller that’s about to stomp your yard… while wearing five-inch heels.
1. The girls’ fashion and accessorizing skills are A+. For that, we can thank costume designer Mandi Line, a former celebrity stylist who transitioned from music videos to TV when she started pulling all the clothes for “Greek” in 2007. Thanks to her eye for style, “PLL” has been nominated for “Best Dressed Cast” and has even inspired its own clothing line. To keep track of what’s worn on each episode, check out wornontv.com.
2. Hot male eye candy. Come for the dramz and stay for the boyz. Personally, I’m partial to Ian Harding, who plays teacher—and Aria’s forbidden love interest—Ezra Fitz. However, there are plenty of other delicious dudes to choose from. Trust.
3. Jaw-dropping plot twists. I could tell you, but then “A” would have to kill you. What I will say is that showrunner I. Marlene King is a mistress in cinematic slight of hand.
4. High-school bitchery. Teen girls are terrible, aren’t they? I hated getting involved in petty high-school politics when I was in high school, but now that I can watch them unfold from the comfort of my living room, I’m so into it.
5. You can’t trust anyone. Like I said before, King and her writing staff do an unbelievable job of having each character earn your trust and then, right when you turn around, they stab you in the back with a stiletto. It’s truly masterful.
6. Did we mention the dudes? Seeing that I’ve already called dibs on Harding, might I suggest Tyler Blackburn or Keegan Allen? They’re both waaaaaaaaay easy on the eyes and must suffer from some kind of shirt allergy because they’re always topless.
7. They film on the same lot as “Gilmore Girls.” On the one hand, it’s sad to see Stars Hollow morph into Rosewood, but there are a couple familiar landmarks still in place (i.e. Luke’s Diner has become the Apple Rose Grille, which looks more like a gastro pub than a good ole American eatery.) Unfortunately, there’s no more gazebo in the town square, which is super sad, but it’s nice to see Miss Patti’s dance studio make the occasional background appearance. If you’re ever in Burbank, California, and you decide to take the WB VIP Studio Tour, you can see the whole town for yourself.
8. The way they handled Emily’s coming out. Both critics and fans have praised the show for the way it handled Emily’s coming out. Last year, AfterEllen.com posted a piece with the headline: “Is ‘Pretty Little Liars’ the best lesbian show ever?” According to the accompanying article, “Rather than indulging in a PSA about all the ways a coming out can go wrong, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ demonstrated that sometimes things can go right. At a time when stories of gay teen suicides due to bullying were at an all-time high, Emily Fields infused a young queer culture with hope.” Amen to that!
9. It’s a reunion of ’90s sitcom stars. In the world of “PLL,” the parents are young and cool, which is why they’ve tapped people like Chad Lowe (“Life Goes On”), Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed”), Nia Peeples (“Top Of The Pops”) and Laura Leighton (“Melrose Place”) to fill those requisite parental shoes.
10. The heels. Oh, the heels. I can’t remember ANY girl in my high school wearing heels, let alone pumps, to class, but maybe things have changed in the last [mumbles] years. Either way, the girls have some fancy footwear and I’m not mad at it.
11. All four lead female characters refuse to be victims of circumstance. This is an important lesson for girls of all ages, so whether you learn it from reading “The Feminine Mystique” or watching “Pretty Little Liars,” it’s hard not to celebrate whatever the source is of such a crucial message. As Victoria Beckham used to say back in 1996, “Girl Power!” Now go and spice up your life by watching “PLL” already. Geez.