Pretty Little Liars has been a hit since it debuted back in 2010. Just this past August, the series, which is currently on its sixth season, reached its highest ratings ever with the long-anticipated reveal of “A” ,(the episode had 3.087 million viewers). Clearly, FreeForm is doing something right with this show, which has thousands of eyes watching it weekly.But what is it about the series that has so many people tuning in week after week, season after season, year after year?
Yes, the first five seasons center around four teenage girls who are just trying to navigate the trials and tribulations of high school, after-school activities and pressures, dating, and getting into the “right” college. But the huge overlying arc here is that the Liars — Hannah, Aria, Spencer, and Emily — are doing all this normal stuff while simultaneously dealing with the apparent homicide of their friend, hooded stalkers, potential murderers, and even kidnappers.
This is not relatable stuff, people. It’s not exactly the norm for a teenager to barely coast out of a traumatizing, near-death situation and then manage to wander into geometry class and take the SATs the next day. The average teen hasn’t been kidnapped or videotaped without their consent. But for the girls of Rosewood, this is the norm.
1. That time “A” punished Mona by stowing her away in a well for days without food or water.
That’s some cruel and unusual punishment. We knew “A” was beyond twisted at this point, but it’s hard to shake the image of poor little Mona in that hole, starving, crying, and screaming for help.
2. That time the girls blinded — albeit accidentally — their classmate, Jenna, in a fire.
Sure, teenagers make mistakes all the time. It’s a rite of passage and of course, accidents happen. But the whole “Jenna Thing” was a really serious situation and it’s not exactly something the average high schooler has been through. It wasn’t handled the way it realistically would have been handled, with police and an investigation and court and maybe even a lawsuit.
3. That time Spencer saw her boyfriend Toby dead in the woods and was committed to Radley for “going crazy.”
While this was one of the craziest twists the PLL plot had ever seen, it wasn’t exactly something people were shouting, “OMG YAAS!” about. After all, the average teen relationship ends because each party goes away to college, not because the boyfriend is found dead in the woods and the girlfriend becomes so distraught she is committed to a mental institution.
4. That time Aria killed — killed — Shauna. Sure, it was “self-defense,” but the average teenager hasn’t exactly committed a homicide by the age of 17.
Never killed anybody? Nope, me either.
5. When Emily believed that she killed Ali with a shovel two years ago even though she had no memory of it.
Also, never been suspected of murder either. While Emily wasn’t the one who ultimately hit Ali with the shovel that night, the show let us believe that for a few episodes. Your average high school isn’t exactly swarming with murderers, so it’s kind of impossible to put ourselves in Emily’s shoes.
6. When Spencer also thought she had possibly killed Ali with a shovel two years ago and attributed her memory loss of the traumatic event to her at-the-time over-the-counter drug addiction.
Again, most kids don’t know too many murderers. First Emily, now we’re supposed to suspect Spencer? When is the part where these girls have a pizza party and gossip about their first kiss? When is the part where they watch Bring It On until five in the morning and stress about soccer practice?
7. That time Hannah was drugged at a dentist’s appointment, during which A snuck into the office, performed extensive and invasive dental surgery on her, and slipped this disgustingly aggressive note into her tooth.
Seriously. This takes the cake. CAN’T. EVEN.
8. That time Spencer tried on a wedding dress (that alone as a high school junior is not exactly relatable — maybe they should’ve done the prom theme again?) only to discover the dress belt housed an unexpected accessory: finger bones.
Ummmm… have you ever come in contact with human bones supposedly dug up from your deceased friend’s grave? Yeah, didn’t think so.
9. That never-forget moment when Aria was locked inside of a coffin… with a dead person… AKA Garrett.
#TRAUMATIZED. Why was this never brought up again? Why didn’t Aria go to counseling? Why didn’t Aria MOVE the heck out of Rosewood? So many questions for such a strange, traumatizing event.
10. The time the four Liars and Mona (and unbeknownst to them at the time, Sarah Harvey) were imprisoned in an underground, life-size doll house, continually drugged, given unwanted makeovers and stripped of their clothes while they were passed out, and forced to have a gated-in prom like some sick, twisted fantasy.
While the girls were kidnapped, trapped, and forced to play out A’s doll-like wishes, the rest of their high school peers were finishing up their senior year, studying for exams, and going to actual prom. Not A’s idea of prom…