I rewatched the first series of Pretty Little Liars and what the hell was going on?
Every single adult on this show should have been in prison
I dedicated a solid seven years of my life to Pretty Little Liars. I’d rush home from school to see the newest episode, and I laughed, cried and got scared right along with Emily, Aria, Spencer and Hanna. I had an entire note on my phone dedicated to trying to figure out who A was, and I’d spend GCSE science lessons entirely ignoring the teacher and instead discussing the latest plot twists with my mates. In short: I was obsessed.
Then came June 2017, and the worst, most anticlimactic ending to a show the world had ever seen (this prize was overtaken by Game of Thrones a couple of years later). I swore I’d never watch PLL again, because it had been ruined. But now it’s been four years and a pandemic, I’ve watched everything there possibly is on Netflix, and all seasons of Pretty Little Liars have recently been put on to BBC iPlayer. So I decided to give PLL another shot, and rewatched the first series to see if it was truly as good as our teenage selves thought it was, or if the show had aged like lumpy milk.
I hate to break it to you, but the show is full of some of the absolute dumbest moments I have ever witnessed. Turns out, the girls’ fashion all belongs in the firey pits of hell, and every single adult on the show belongs in prison. And yes, that includes Mr Fitz.
Here’s everything I learnt whilst rewatching the first series of Pretty Little Liars:
First up, I forgot how annoying Aria’s ‘shh’ is
You’d think they’d re-film it until it was perfect, seeing as, you know, this was for the opening credits and therefore going to be part of the show for the next several years. But nope, one half-arsed take with an off-centre “shh”, and they just said yep, job’s a good ‘un.
All of their parents are highkey HORRIBLE and here’s why:
Emily’s mum is homophobic
Like, blatantly, straight-to-Emily’s-face homophobic. How was this okay??
The storylines around Emily’s sexuality felt like groundbreaking representation, but I’d completely forgotten about this part of it. I can’t even imagine how many people internalised the homophobia and thought their parents would react the same way when they came out.
Spencer’s family slut-shame her
I mean, Melissa and Spencer’s parents are all pretty horrible to her all of the time, but possibly one of the worst things they do in Pretty Little Liars season one is fully slut-shaming her after Wren kisses her, a 16-year-old. They all get angry with her, instead of at Melissa’s creepy boyfriend who is a grown ADULT leeching on an actual child.
Aria’s dad forces her to keep his affair a secret from her mum
So Aria catches her dad having an affair, and he guilt-trips her into keeping the whole thing a secret from her mum. For an inexplicable reason, this also somehow means he has to move the entire family to Iceland for a year? Yeah, I don’t know either.
Anyway, even when they move back home he still forces Aria to not tell her mum about the whole thing, as if that’s the job of his child and not his fault for fucking up in the first place.
Hanna’s mum is an actual criminal
She shags a policeman to stop Hanna getting in trouble when she steals sunglasses worth hundreds of dollars, which I don’t know if it’s illegal but definitely unethical.
But then Hanna’s mum commits an ACTUAL CRIME by stealing a load of money ($50,000!!!!!) from an old lady in an “unauthorised loan”. And then she dies so somehow there’s absolutely no accountability and Hanna’s mum just gets away with it?
She also hides thousands of dollars in an empty lasagne box, which is just quite silly really
I’m not saying I expect Hanna’s mum to be some sort of criminal mastermind, but come on. If you’re going to steal $50,000 from an old lady with no remorse, at least look after it properly.
Okay but why did we ever romanticise Mr Fitz???
Jesus Christ. Okay, buckle up: You knew this was coming. We all thought Aria and Mr Fitz’s relationship was, like, the most romantic thing ever, right? But what the hell were we thinking?
Watching the show now as an adult, it’s absolutely vile. Even when he fully knows Aria is his student, he still decides to crack on and date her. We all thought Ezra was the perfect boyfriend, but he’s actually just exploiting an actual child who he has a position of power over.
Then he gets on a weirdly moral high horse as if he isn’t literally breaking the law
Noel tries blackmailing him into getting a better essay grade, which yeah admittedly is not good. But Mr Fitz gets weirdly high and mighty about this and gets on some moral high ground, refusing to change it. As if giving a student a slightly better grade is entirely reprehensible and out of the question, but sleeping with A CHILD who also happens to be your student is a-ok? Cool cool cool.
Mr Fitz is also literally ready to quit his job over all this. Just so he can be in a relationship with a 16-year-old. Totally normal, nothing wrong to see here here.
The Liars actually blinded Jenna
Jenna is genuinely blind because of an explosion Alison and the girls made in her garage, which she was in at the time. Like, they fully caused actual damage to her body and didn’t get in trouble for it. What is it with characters on this show and getting away with pretty much any crime imaginable?
Every single outfit can only be described as tragic
And I’m sorry to say it because we definitely all thought the Liars were absolute fashion icons. The worst offenders are probably Aria and Spencer, but honestly the entire wardrobe department of this show should be put on trial for war crimes.
Exhibit A – I don’t know what’s going on here but my eyes hurt:
Exhibit B – Spy the lace cuffs on this jumper:
Exhibit C – I have no words to describe this shirt, let alone when paired with the blazer and tie:
Jason is a different person
Remember Jason, Ali’s fit brother with kinda-greasy blonde hair, wannabe-surfer vibe? Nope, THIS is him in the first PLL series.
Did they just replace the actor later down the line and never mention it again? I think so.
Paige literally tries to drown Emily
Paige is homophobic to Emily and gets in trouble for it, so in return Paige just straight-up tries to DROWN Emily by shoving her head under the water and holding it there. And no one ever really says anything? Like this is a completely cool thing to happen? Okay???
But then it’s suddenly all forgiven because she’s gay too? UMM
So a few episodes after Paige attempts to drown Emily, she randomly just kisses her. Then they go to a bar and sing some god-awful karaoke to So What? by P!nk, and Emily just forgives the homophobia and the drowning?
The “homophobic bully is secretly gay” trope is NOT the one, guys. It’s such a toxic message to send to PLL’s viewers – if you fancy someone don’t worry here’s how you’ll win them over! Just call them a slur and then try to kill them! Yay!
A hits Hanna with a car and there’s no investigation
We all know A’s potentially dangerous, but then they just become straight-up murderous when they think Hanna’s sussed who they are. Do the police care at all that Hanna was ploughed down by a random car in a hit-and-run? Ha, as if.
The plot point of Caleb working for Jenna is deranged
It turns out Jenna was paying Caleb to spy on Hanna, and that’s kind of why he got in a relationship with her in the first place. He says he realised it was wrong and stopped, but Caleb hun? Why did you think it was okay in the first place?
They never close the curtains
Okay so obviously it’s not their fault they’re being stalked and harassed by A, but I’m just saying. If you knew someone (who’s potentially a murderer and has definitely hit you with an actual car) knows where you live and is following your every move, wouldn’t you at least close the curtains so they can’t watch you every second of the day?
Like, it’ll even be pitch dark outside and the Liars all just sitting there with the curtains open, without a care in the world. What are they doing?
You can watch all seasons of Pretty Little Liars now on BBC iPlayer.