Pretty Little Liars: Reality biting who?

by d

We have chemistry. Get it?

Subterfuge reviewsABC Family‘s Pretty Little Liars, in all its designed-for-marketability guilty-pleasure-ness. Season 1, episode 6, “Reality Bites Me.”

For some reason my TiVo didn’t catch last week’s PLL, so I just watched it online. Two things stuck out.

1) Spencer’s dad’s country club still operates like it might have in the 1950s.

I spent a lot of nights watching Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie on Nick at Night, and a common theme was the Boss Is Coming To Dinner plot. Well, that same ‘Woman, perform in front of clients so I can get a promotion!’ attitude is still going strong.

Spencer is a really good tennis player. So it’s not a surprise when her father invites her to the club to play a prospective client and his daughter. She spends a few extra hours on the court hammering the ball into the concrete. The day of the match, he tells her to tone it down, these people aren’t exactly Venus and Serena Williams.

“You want me to throw the match?”

“If they win, I win.”

This is revelatory to Spencer, who was raised to always win at everything. Being told to lose, on purpose, is a shock. She later lashes back at him by revealing that the historical essay that just won a national competition, the one he’s so proud of her for, is stolen. And really, he ought to be ok with that–anything to win, right? We’ll see what he does with that.

2) Hanna’s boyfriend is probably gay.

See, he’s really nice. He likes to study alongside her without making out. He wears polo shirts (sorry, cliche-haters, but this was quite a shirt). And when she tried to have sex, he said no. Hmm.

Now that his car’s in the shop, he’s getting a ride from a blonde cheerleader. Hanna is, of course, jealous. He’s just all good-natured and such, though–see, this girl is from a club he joined, RLW: Real Love Waits.

“What is that, some kind of holy-roller virgin club?” Yes, Hanna. Yes, it is.

He would rather go to a RLW meeting than have sex, or even make out heavily, with his beautiful girlfriend. I could, of course, be wrong–this channel also runs The 700 Club in the wee hours of the morning. But I’m really thinking he’s gay.

3) Hanna would be ok with that, though Emily still has her doubts.

Hanna got a message from A with scans of the Emily/Maya kiss photos. Hanna has yet to say anything, but she did try her best to discretely get through to Emily that whoever she loves is ok. (This is standard for ABCF characters, no one’s come out as a homophobe yet.)

And that includes Emily. I don’t think she’s anti-gay, I think she’s just afraid of peer pressure. Toby, the slightly creepy boy, has a definite crush on her, and they’re becoming friends. But when she unexpectedly runs into the other girls, she walks right past him and pretends he isn’t there. Girl needs to grow a spine. To her credit, she tried to make amends, but no one was around to see them.

3 Comments to “Pretty Little Liars: Reality biting who?”

  1. I notice that Spencer is probably one of the more nuanced characters.

    I mean, Aria is a little hipster and annoys the crap out of me on occasion. And Emily is also a well-rounded character, but her insecurities irritate me sometimes. (I understand people like Hanna but I don’t sympathize with them.) But Spencer is a little different and a truer character. She might prove to be irritating later, but I hope she doesn’t.

    • I have to agree, Spencer’s got the most depth and integrity. She’s the first to take a hard look at herself and resolve to change. Emily is ripe for that kind of introspection. Hanna’s got the most compelling backstory, but she clearly doesn’t want to live her life any deeper than the surface. And yeah, Aria’s a bit hipster. She’s also very adult, which is bizarre while also making sense.

      I think I watch these teen dramas because when they do silly things I’m less upset about it–teens are meant to do stupid things. Watching adults act like asses makes me despair. But there’s some hope that these kids will learn and grow.

  2. This show might shape up to be better than True Life when it comes to specific things. But, we’ll have to see. Either way, some of it seems at least just as ridiculous. Like the way Spencer’s dad acts about this particular situation. ABF is only just enough of a “progressive” show that it can at least keep the liberal audience (most of the time), but it really tends to cater to conservative viewers more often than not and generally when it really counts. We’ll see, though. Hopefully, they’ll break their pattern with this one.

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