Dear PLL fandom,
I had no idea what I was getting myself into seven years ago on June 8, 2010 when the Pilot episode of Pretty Little Liars aired. I hadn’t read the books and I definitely hadn’t watched anything religiously on ABC Family. There was Greek, but that was on and off and no other original show on the network was able to captivate me.
At the time, my favorite show Smallville announced its final season, Gossip Girl was in between the 3rd and 4th season and another favorite, Glee, was finishing its first season. But let’s face it, I was turning 21 and still much into those teenage, coming of age shows. Plus, Ashley Benson was my favorite (and still is). And as a huge fan, I had to support my girl!
So then the day came, the Pilot began and I was hooked. It started with 4 young girls starting a new school year one year after the leader of their pack went missing. The episode introduced us to the characters we’ve loved for seven seasons.
We were first introduced to Aria Montgomery, the artsy girl who went through a little goth phase, returning to Rosewood after one year in Iceland with her family. During that year, she held on to one huge secret: her dad’s affair with his student. Things also get complicated when she hooked up with her future English teacher, Ezra Fitz. The eye contact the two share during the revelation was one of the most iconic scenes of the series.
Next came Emily Fields, the sweet girl on the swim team, with the popular jock boyfriend. I’d like to think she was part of a conservative family, with her mom part of the neighborhood welcoming committee and her father in the army. Life gets a little complicated when she is constantly reminded of [her love for] Alison, while a new girl moves into Alison’s old house. Sexuality is questioned and in a small town like Rosewood, that’s unheard of.
Spencer Hastings then graced us with her presence. She was almost the epitome of overachiever. With the Hastings name, you’ve got to be especially with Melissa Hastings as an older sister. Spencer was the girl involved with everything, intelligent and outspoken. She was striving for good grades to get into an ivy league college and follow in the footsteps of her lawyer parents. But then she strayed away from the perfection, when Melissa’s boyfriends decided that she may be the better Hastings daughter.
And then there was Hanna Marin, formally known as “Hefty Hanna”, who transformed over one summer to become one of the most popular girls in school. She lived in the shadow of Alison DiLaurentis. Getting body shamed by her “close” friend, her confidence and self esteem was low. Her father leaving her and her mom didn’t help, either. So Hanna’s motto was practically, “new year, new me” and with her new popular girl title along with a trusty sidekick, Mona Vanderwaal, she was able to step out of Alison’s shadow. But the whole problem was maintaining her top spot and getting the attention she longed for. Hanna Marin will always be my favorite character.
What did those 4 girls have in common? Alison DiLaurentis, the girl who knew all of their secrets. However, she was the girl they knew nothing about. She was the glue to the group up until she disappeared, but that suddenly changed when “Alison’s body” was found and an anonymous stalker decides to start playing mind games with the girls. Alison’s “death” brings the girls back together and just like that the Pilot set the whole premise of the show.
For seven years, Pretty Little Liars ruled social media. They’re practically known to be the most social television show on air, with so much social media engagement from fans. It’s safe to say that it was the pioneer of trending topics when it came to TV shows and live tweeting along around the world. It allowed fans and those involved with the show to communicate with each other. Every Tuesday since it has aired, fans have been able to get PLL trending with hashtags like #PLL, #WhoIsA, #betrAyal, #WorldWarA, #Poor[Insert character name], etc. And of course the main hashtag for this season, #PLLEndGame, which tailored not only to the game, but obviously to the PLL relationships. #Ezria, #Spoby, #Haleb, & #Emison. I was only a year into Twitter by the time the show aired, and it definitely had me talking and more active on the web. The downside was all the spoilers. But I didn’t have an issue – I absolutely loved/love spoilers.
I think people have learned over the years, that if you don’t want to be spoiled, you better stay off social media until you watch the episodes. It’s so much more fun to live tweet. That’s why I ended up having a separate twitter just for that fact.
Since the Pilot, I’ve stuck through it and my obsession for television grew stronger as I dedicated a new Tumblr to my love for entertainment: PrettyLittleGossipGleek. The name was fitting for me as it was three shows on air that I absolutely loved that made me feel more like me. I started to make gifs and fanart of my favorite moments, something I enjoyed doing and something that kept my mind off of reality. One time TvGuide used one of my gifs, #ganstAtoby, and to this day, I’m very proud of it. HAHA
Pretty Little Liars always had me at the edge of my seat with all the cliffhangers and kept my mind going, thinking of all the possible outcomes to the question,”Who is A?” I think that anything that gives you several mind f**ks is worth watching.
I watch a lot of television, and very rarely do I dream about them. Pretty Little Liars was an exception. I dreamt about running away from “A”, so obviously the show managed to sneak it’s way into my sub conscience.
But enough about me..
To the endgame couples —
Ezria: For a long time you were my favorite #PLL couple. The chemistry was unreal. I’ll never forget the first time Aria and Ezra met and the look of shock a few days later in Mr. Fitz’ English class. You were a forbidden love, like Romeo and Juliet, sneaking behind everyone’s back. It was starting to get toxic because you were holding each other back. And then the love story took a turn when Ezra was revealed to be stalking the girls for inspiration for a novel. True feelings were tested and you both entered intoseveral other relationship, but in the end you found your way back to each other. To all the haters, stop. It started off as a relationship based on lies, but the truth is that they make each other happy.
Spoby: Your relationship didn’t start from the beginning and I think that’s what drew me in to you. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t love Alex for Spencer in the first season. I loved them and their somewhat forbidden love, but Alex left and the relationship with Toby came out of nowhere. As I rewatched the first season, it’s clear that Spencer had strong negative feelings towards Toby. Toby was that creepy bad boy that hardly said a word, so it’s understandable. He was a suspect in the murder of Alison DiLaurentis for goodness sake. That didn’t go well with a lot of people, but Spencer, you sympathized with him and gave him a chance. Sure, you took a French tutoring job just to find answers about Alison, but I’m sure you didn’t expect to fall in love with Toby. I’m sure you didn’t expect to even like or understand him. A part of me thanks Emily for somewhat bringing you two together. When your relationship was threatened by “A”, you kind of gave up easily. You both tried to protect each other, doing things that broke the trust you built. Eventually you grew up and realized maybe you weren’t meant to be in each other’s future as a significant other. Your break up was by far the worst. It broke my heart the most, especially with the possibility that you weren’t endgame. But fate has a funny way of working and in the end, you two still shared a love for each other. That’s all that matters. In my head you make it. You were #RelationshipGoals.
Emison: You made it from beginning to end, but not without the ups and downs and occasional mind games. Emily was always so sure of her feelings for Alison. The latter not so much. Honestly, I was never really a fan of any of Emily’s girlfriends (well maybe Samara because I love Claire Holt). I always thought that Alison would one day return Emily’s feelings. But I admit, it was an unhealthy relationship. When they were young, Alison always led Emily on. She gave her hope that wasn’t really there. I mean, Alison always had Emily wrapped around her finger and Emily constantly forgave the girl. But that’s the thing about Emily, she sees the best in people and gives them [constant] chances even if they do her wrong. Although the pregnancy was pretty messed up, I’m happy that it brought the two of you together along with two cute Emison babies. Along with some instigating from Paige, it helped Alison realize her feelings for her best friend. That proposal was the cutest thing because come on…I think we all thought Emily would’ve been the one to propose. AND how cute was it that Pam gave Alison her blessing? I guess you could say you’re soulmates.
Haleb: I remember when you two first met. You were practically bickering like an old married couple and to this day you still do. Only difference is that you’re actually married now! You know what they say, opposites attract. Your relationship basically started on a lie though, with Caleb acting as Jenna’s spy. But just like Spoby, falling in love probably wasn’t part of the plan. When Caleb ran away to Ravenswood, I wasn’t sure if he’d be back (I liked Ravenswood and thought maybe it would go on longer). You were on and off and like the others, you grew up. Life got in the way. Your different lifestyles got in the way. For a short time I liked Spaleb. It was a random relationship and it caused a strain on other relationships. But the thing about Caleb is that he’s loyal and will do everything in his power to protect the people he loves and I love him for that. I love him for loving and protecting Hanna. It took me a while, but watching season 7, I finally appreciated the relationship that is Haleb. Also, I always think about how both of them were on Days of Our Lives, at different times.
To my favorite guy, Ezra Fitz: You will always be my favorite English teacher. You were straight out of college, nerdy and adorable AF. You played the girls for a little and I was Aria when the truth was revealed. But I forgave you. How can I not? I feel like you’re the one guy who had the most secrets. Maybe it’s the mystery that is Ezra Fitzgerald that captivated me because even though the series has ended, I still feel like you’re hiding something. On a side note, I miss your brother Wesley.
To my favorite villain, Mona Vanderwaal: I love you, I really do. I could never really hate you. Even though you were the first “A” to start the game, I still couldn’t dislike you. You’re intelligent. You think outside the box. You’re prepared and detail oriented. Jealousy seeped through your blood and you wanted to be accepted. You just wanted to be loved. You went too far, but somehow you still managed to wiggle your way back inside, even though the others hardly trusted you. I trusted you many times because I didn’t know what else to think about you. I trusted you because I know you wanted to protect your “friends”. Ultimately, someone stole the game from you and you were determined to win. Your passion and drive is probably what I admire the most. In the end, I couldn’t decipher whose side you were on, but you won and got your happy ending. You’re no longer Loser Mona. You were never a loser though, just misunderstood.
To my favorite character, Hanna Marin: I see myself in you the most. Your back story hit me hardest. To this day, I still have low self esteem when it comes to my body image. But I’d like to think I’m good at faking it. You came from a broken family and you faked it til you made it. You wanted this sense of love and acceptance and it took a while for you to feel that. But you learned to love yourself and you learned to say what you feel. There were so many layers to you and I’m glad we were able to see them unravel over the seasons. You may not have been book smart, but you were street smart. You made me laugh many times. But you were also the source of my tears as I watched PLL. I never liked to see you being tortured or hurt. It broke my heart every time because you didn’t deserve any of it. The thing I admire most about you is your loyalty to your friends, no matter how many times you got hurt. Also, I wish I had your passion for fashion and all your OOTDs. 🙂
To my favorite actress, Ashley Benson: BENZOooO. You’ve been my favorite forever. I mean, you were practically the reason why I started watching PLL. From being Abby Deveraux on DOOL to Carson on Bring It On: In It to Win It, I followed you on to your biggest project yet. We’re the same age, so in a weird sense I feel like we grew up together and a part of me wishes I was part of your #SQUAD. I was able to meet you once and it remains one of my favorite moments ever in my almost 28 years of existence. You were the sweetest person ever and i’m not just saying this because I love you. I absolutely adore your sense of humor, your style, your personality and the way you love and support your family/friends, Olive, and Walter. I absolutely adore YOU. Thank you for being my inspiration to do the things I love. Thank you for playing a character I absolutely love and connect with. Thank you for doing that epic dance scene in Season 5. And thank you for just being you and allowing us fans into your world. I love you!
To A.D, you’re awful. What kind of person wants to get rid of their twin sister so they can live in their shoes? All the awards to Troian Bellisario for bringing not just one great character, but two. Sure, Spencer and Alex looked alike, but they were so different and you were able to portray that to us viewers. The only similar thing I see between the two, is the yearning to be part of a family.
To the WHOLE cast, it’s been quite the 7 years, hasn’t it? You all practically grew up in the show, especially Sasha. To think she was only 13 when she shot the Pilot! Even I feel like i’ve grown up with you all. And then in Season 5 you started playing characters closer to your age and it felt even more relatable. Not that I have a stalker in my life, but just the fact that you were all in your twenties trying to figure out life. I lived vicariously through each and every one of you, through the drama and relationships. Thank you for bringing these characters to life and not giving up on your fans. Not only did people fall in love with your characters, but with you as actors. Even though things were so dramatic on cam, off camera you brought us some great BTS laughter and fun. It’s so great to see actors and actresses who have been on the show continue to do awesome projects. There’s a reason this show stuck around for so long and you all are why.
To the directors, writers, producers, and crew behind it all: First off, thank you Sara Shepard. Without you there would be no Pretty Little Liars. Your mind and creativity came up with this whole universe. You had these characters and constant mystery that captivated your audience. And I thank you for that. I hope one day I’ll get to reading all the books! Marlene King, thank you for bringing the books to screen. I’m pretty sure that this was one of the most popular book to tv adaptation. Thank you for taking that risk and bringing the whole team together to create the magic that is PLL. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store. And to the rest of the team behind PLL, thank you for the dedication and hard work you put behind the scenes to make sure the viewers got the best experience. From the set, the costume design, the score, the props…you all made PLL the iconic show that it is. Also, shout out to Lisa and Romy for putting up with Ashley and Shay all the time. 😛
It’s been two weeks since the show ended and I meant to post this a few days after, but I just never got to finish it until now. I think a part of me still doesn’t think Pretty Little Liars has ended. I mean, there’s so much that could happen after that finale. Alex and Mary Drake could escape Mona- I’m sure Detective Tanner is wondering where Mary Drake disappeared to and she’s a closer remember? I mean, I’m pretty excited to see the PLL reunion in the future. It’s an iconic show and will be for many years to come. PLL’s impact in popular culture should not be underestimated.
I can’t wait to see and support each of the cast members in their next projects, but I’m sure nothing will ever replace the love I have for Pretty Little Liars.
To whole PLL fandom, thank you for your passion.
What show should I recap now?
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