So I've decided to finally use the blog function of my website page. What whaaat. New year, new me, etc. Deciding to do it was easy. Deciding what to write about — for my first post, no less — was slightly harder. Luckily for me (and you, hopefully), my decision coincided with the premiere of the second half of Pretty Little Liars' 6th season. Score!
I used to co-write PLL recaps (among other TV shows) with my former roommate, the Serena to my Blair, Lindsay, over at Zimbio. If you're so inclined, you should totally catch up on our stuff. Here's a handy link! We ceased recapping PLL at the end of Season 5, and it was nice to watch the first half of Season 6 as a fan and a viewer, without having to take notes and pause and rewind and so on and so on. But I think Pretty Little Liars is one of the most layered, complex, and best shows on television right now. And I miss writing about it. So I'll be dipping my toe into the blogging kiddie pool with PLL posts each week — and maybe someday soon I'll get brave enough to dive in and write some other stuff here, too. Full disclosure: I can't dive into water in real life, but this swimming metaphor seemed like it was working, so I kept going.
These posts won't be recaps; I'm trying something a little new and different — more of a real-time stream-of-consciousness reaction to the episode. Timestamps included (in EST) for posterity/to give you a sense of immediacy. My boyfriend AKA new roommate will be watching alongside me because we only have one television and I've agreed to keep the Knicks game in (on?) PIP (that's picture-in-picture). He's...not exactly a PLL fan. So I'll include any commentary gems from him, too.
Anyway, without further ado, I hereby present my uncensored, only slightly rambling, thoughts on the first episode of the second half of PLL's second-to-last season (yeah, that's a mouthful, thanks to ABC Family's — I mean, Freeform's — weird season structure).
7:58 PM Wow, it’s been so long since the finale of 6A. Kinda nice to get a two minute refresher of Spencer quoting Winnie the Pooh and all the liars going off to college. Aw, their goodbye was really sweet. Will things still be as mushy and sweet #5YearsLater?!?!?! I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT.
7:59 PM OOOOOOH SpencerBangs! The preview for 6B shows Spencer and Toby in a sparse-ass room with a metal trash can. Is this a repeat of the barrel? Pleasegodno.
8:01 PM Oh man this Freeform promo thing is really annoying. Stop trying to make fetch happen, ABC Family.
8:02 PM Oh, an actual “previously on.” Helpful.
8:03 PM Aaaaand we’re back at Rosewood High School, with voiceover clips of PLL seasons past. Gems included: “Bitch can see!” and “Carpe hottie.” The PLL writers are geniuses.
8:05 PM Alison at 23(ish?) is the same as Alison at 16. Creepily, overly sentimental about her precious things in weird places, like handwritten notes in court notification files.
8:05 PM Nice baby fake-out, PLL. Not. Like Hanna would bring her baby on the plane. Baggage check all the way!
8:07 PM It’s cold in New York. I want to be at Emily’s tiki bar, STAT. I had to take my slippers off during the watching of this television program because my boyfriend thought it was gross of me to put them on the couch. JEEZ. So now my feet are cold.
8:07 PM NEW OPENING CREDITS, YES. There’s still a dead blonde girl being prepped for burial. Who will it be? My money’s on Charlotte (which would be sad).
8:08 PM I feel like I’ve been away (from this show) for five years, instead of like, six months or however long it’s been. I’m getting all emo at Spencer creepin’ on a bunch of teenage girls who get simultaneous texts on Rosewood’s one street in town. It’s the little things that get me sentimental, y’all.
8:09 PM Aria, throwin’ shade at Emily for taking five years to finish college. Damn, Aria. My brother does the same thing to me, by the way, even though I got a Master’s in my fifth year, like a boss. He still mocks me for technically spending five years at college, to which I say, whatever, bro.
8:10 PM “SHE”S LYING,” says my boyfriend when Emily is so clearly lying to Spencer about her job at the museum(?). Obviously he’s caught on quickly regarding what this show is about: lying liars who lie.
8:13 PM We already had to pause the episode for three minutes so I could explain what the fuck is going on.
8:13 PM RIP Mr. Fields. RIP Radley being a mental institution instead of a swanky hotel.
8:15 PM New boyfriend name-dropping time, blah blah. Don’t really care! Liam, Shmiam.
8:15 PM “I can’t tell if this girl is 14 and trying to look 28 or she’s just 28 or what’s going on,” says my boyfriend about Aria. Yes, this is why they had to flash forward five years — the actresses are too old to play teenagers. Except Lucy Hale, apparently.
8:17 PM My brain turned off during Spencer’s explanation of her lobbying-job-that-isn’t-lobbying. Damn and I thought I cared about politics. I’m watching the SoTU after PLL, I swear.
8:19 PM During commercials: “Wow, ABC Family really got…” - Boyfriend “Yeah, it got real dark. That’s why it’s called Freeform now.” - Me
8:21 PM After the new boyfriend/relationships recap, we get the old boyfriend visits. GAG to Ezra being all dark again (I bet his cupboards are FULL of chickpeas) and Toby’s dumb face. Show me some Caleb!
8:23 PM Man, this Charlotte stuff is so complex…I get Ali’s side. But I also get the liars’ side. These are the layers I’m looking for, PLL. It all comes down to how much you believe in rehabilitation versus imprisonment (or, in Charlotte’s case, not quite imprisonment but kind of imprisonment). Which is a sticky subject. I’m happy to see PLL exploring it a bit.
8:25 PM “You’re asking us to lie.” On. The. Nose.
8:28 PM COMMERCIAL FOR THE DOLL I HAVE TO CHANGE THE CHANNEL NOW THANKS. Fun fact: I have seen the trailer for The Doll in the theaters twice and both times I’ve had to close my eyes and cover my ears. I get why they’re showing it during Pretty Little Liars, the patron saint show of creepy dolls, but I’m not happy about it. I’d rather see more Aria-based product placement for Insidious 2.
8:29 PM Quick stop at a Veronica Hastings political rally. Fun times. I feel like the show is trying real hard to synergize with true life and the 2016 election.
8:31 PM Casual Em and Toby beers on the porch. Sah cute. Don’t forget he was her friend before he was Spencer’s!
8:33 PM Everyone is wearing way too much makeup. It reminds me of that Tai quote from Clueless. “College girls wear less make-up. That’s why guys like them more.” Um, not in PLL’s world.
8:34 PM Bravo Aria for no longer being a pretty little liar. Based on that train story, she needs to try some Dr. Sullivan therapy, for reals, but I’m proud of her for telling the truth.
8:38 PM A commercial for The Fosters, which returns on 1/25, yesss. I spy lots of Brandon and Callie drama — ew. But I also spy Mariana, AJ, and JudeAndConnor, all of which I heartily support. I also just remembered that the return of The Fosters will bring us face-to-face with Changeling Jesus once more. Can’t wait to see how they handle THAT one.
8:40 PM The liars have finally learned the magic of turning their phones off. Five years later, five years older, five years wiser. Though you just know this is going to bite them in the ass somehow.
8:43 PM Drunk Spencer ruminating on the liars lying and the judge letting Charlotte out and the impact of lies is deep and sad. Five years later, and she really thought that their lies wouldn’t have any consequence at all — even in this case, when the consequence was the intended one. Then things turn sweet, when the liars toast to Charlotte and happily ever afters.
8:43 PM “Is this the kind of show that just drops a bomb at the end of every episode?” “Yup.” “Sweet!”
8:48 PM “This channel should be called ABC Degenerates…everything is so SCANDALOUS!”
8:50 PM Ohhhhh look who was right about the dead blonde girl from the opening credits! RIP Charlotte. It would’ve been nice if you’d gotten to enjoy your freedom and that happily ever after the liars toasted to.
8:55 PM CALEB!!! Uh, are he and Spencer hooking up on the sly? “He whispers too much,” says my sacrilegious boyfriend about Caleb.
8:59 PM Shower Harvey is here! Is she the new Blind Jenna? Nope, not blind. Just acting (or, "acting") weird, as usual.
9:01 PM Someone else with a predilection for oldies tunes is watching the liars post-funeral! Is there a new A in town?
9:01 PM Similarities between this episode and the Pretty Little Liars pilot that I just picked up on: blonde girl dies, the liars wake up drunk after a reunion party, a cop confronts the girls re: a homicide after a funeral, a funeral, a funeral with inappropriate black dresses (Hanna, really???). Let me know if you spotted any others.
Verdict: I like the new PLL, once it started looking more like the old PLL — when all the “recap of what’s happened in the five-year time jump and reconnecting with our old boyfriends” parts were over. Can't wait to see where this season goes and which "host nation" Hanna's wedding will take place in.