Does everybody lie? I think so. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t promote deception. But, I think that we all have the need sometimes to fudge things … just to make life a little easier (or sometimes because we absolutely have no choice). We’re human. It’s all good as long as no one get’s hurt.
Well, that’s part of the premise of I. Marlene King’s Pretty Little Liars.
Pretty Little Liars is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it was quite unintentional. I took a trip to Los Angeles recently, and on the last day I sort of stumbled upon the Warner Bros. studio tour which is home to the outdoor set of Rosewood, the fictional town in Pretty Little Liars. Of course, Warner’s has much, much more to offer as well as you can see here, but the Rosewood set was pretty darn special.
Pretty LIttle Liars had just wrapped it’s 7th and final season, so the studio was showcasing many of the things used in the series including props, costumes, and of course, the outdoor “Anytown USA” set where probably half of all of the scenes are filmed.
I must confess, I had never seen the show. Sure, I had heard about it along the way, but I always thought that it was bound to be a “teenage” show, and one that I wouldn’t enjoy, so I sort of “discarded” it in my mind. The image I had was a lot of drama, girls wandering around in spike heels, and a lot of fluff! Boy, was I wrong, check out the trailer!
When I returned from the trip, I decided to watch a couple of episodes on Netflix, you know, just to see the facades and fictional buildings (including the infamous barn) that I had seen in person at Warners. A bit geeky, I know, but that’s me. Well, by episode two my husband and I were hooked!
I. Marlene King has created a masterpiece here. I don’t think I have ever watched a series where there is a cliffhanger at the end of each and every episode. So much so, that I have had many early mornings where my head has been clouded from lack of sleep the night before because of mine and my husband’s need for “just one more” [episode]. I’ve even fallen asleep through episodes and had to rewatch them later, because I just couldn’t turn it off!
The characters are so well-developed that every episode is like visiting friends. I always find that both fun and sad when watching a serial show, because when the series is over the friendships end!
Here’s 5 things Pretty Little Liars can teach us (spoiler alert!):
Everybody Lies: The four main characters in this series, Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer, are teens who have good intentions and good morals, and who excel at school. They have also really done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, something happens which causes their lives to go on a course where deception is the order of the day – just to survive. I think we have all lied at one point or another, and while I do not endorse the practice if it can be avoided, the best of people can find themselves in situations where a lie is necessary to ease the burden of a situation, and that’s ok, like I said above, as long as no one gets hurt.
Your Worst Enemy Can Become Your Friend: Throughout the series, the girls are traumatized by 3 separate situations/people (linearly, not at the same time) and eventually, the identities of these people come to light. The first, is Mona, a friend from high school. In the beginning, Hanna thinks that Mona is a friend, but by the end of Season 2, we know that Mona has largely been the Liars’ worst enemy. However, going forward, Mona uses her knack for the diabolical in the girls’ favour and proves her loyalty to them by helping them out of tight spots. She even almost loses her life. Haven’t we all had it happen where we meet someone and initially don’t like them or have a situation with them that is very negative, and eventually they become a friend? I know I have.
How To Be a Great Friend: Through all the twists and turns of the storyline, Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer stick together and are loyal to each other, in a way that is truly heartwarming. They are there for each other through thick and thin (mostly thick), and it is evident that this is what has gotten them through their situation. Even when one of the boyfriends gets recycled, they are attentive to the ex-partner’s feelings. And, if one of them experiences a “gain” in their life that they know has been denied another, they are quick to acknowledge that fact, and not only not rub their friend’s nose in it, but in fact check in to see if they are ok. Is this unrealistic in real life? Maybe, but the role-modeling of this behaviour in the series is certainly a step in the right direction.
People Have A Great Capacity For Change: At the beginning of the show, Alison is portrayed as very self-centred and, in fact, a bully. This results in a lot of ensuing experiences she didn’t expect, and the growth in her personality as this happens is undeniable. By the end of the show, she realizes that all of her earlier behaviours were wrong, and she earns her place to again be a friend of the other four girls. This is not a consistent process however, and there are many twists and turns where the girls question Alison’s loyalty and morality, but in the end they too are able to recognize the change in her. Humans have a great capacity to recognize their foibles and change their behaviour if necessary, as long as they want to, and the caring and warmth of the other girls gives Alison the strength and confidence to do so.
Things Aren’t Always As They Seem: At the beginning of the show, the girls question Melissa’s loyalty. This is especially true for Spencer, who is her sister. Like many sisters, Melissa and Spencer do not get along, and because of many ill-timed occurrences, videos, secrets with their father, and the fact that Melissa marries the very man the girls suspect is responsible for Alison’s disappearance, Melissa is largely suspected of being part of the problem and not part of the solution. However, it is revealed in the end that all Melissa is guilty of is protecting Spencer from being framed for murder. Who knew? I think we are all guilty of making assumptions without knowing all the facts.
And on the lighter side …
- Never underestimate the importance of storing shovels in groups of two … or four in the trunk of your car or anywhere for that matter, in case you and your friends need to dig a hole or something else … or maybe bury … something.
- Takeout food is the best, and in fact, probably the best way to start a scene is with someone walking in with it!
- Don’t go into an enclosed space, with only one way in and the same one way out, and leave the door open behind you. I can’t even count how many times the girls did this even though I told them not to! And, voila, the door was closed and locked behind them causing yet more trauma and despair!
- Coffee solves everything. Well, it actually does, but this is never more evident than at “The Brew” in Rosewood, PA.
- If you really need to solve a puzzle, talk to a bird … or get the bird to talk to you … either way.
- Forcing someone to eat cupcakes can … and should … be a blackmail item.
and last, but not least …
- Always make sure you have a couture little black dress and matching black heels in your closet in case you have to attend multiple funerals prior to your 25th birthday!
Hmmm, I wonder what Hanna and Caleb are doing today. Maybe we can call Spencer and see if she wants to get takeout! I know, I know, I know … corny right?