Posts Tagged ‘Pretty Little Liars’
I recently read a witty review on the premiere episode of the American spin-off for the series, Skins. In the mostly spot-on review, it was made clear that one of the most charming, and more importantly, authentic characteristics of the high school set show is the use of age-appropriate actors and actresses. The show uses teens to play teens. Seems simple enough. Until the article lists, with no shame, the true ages of many actors and actresses playing teen-aged characters.
I’d be naive to presume adults weren’t hired for teenage roles. 20-somethings frequently play confused 16 year olds (see: every (!?) show on the CW). And sometimes that adult can really create something special with the character, regardless of their real-life familiarity with parachute pants.
But, it does say something, or at least surprises me to learn, when I watch a show on ABC Family about 16 year olds, I’m actually watching someone twice the age of her character. Am I duped by their skills or am I suspending my disbelief because it’s a silly television show? Do I prefer the glitz of someone pretty or the authenticity of someone true to their age?
It’s hard to say, but it’s definitely something to consider…
It’s no secret that I jones hard for Pretty Little Liars. It doesn’t matter that I’ll be turning 24 this year or that PLL is an ABC Family (ugh) hit show. No sir. I defy conventions. Or rather, fall into them? Whatever. I like it and that’s that.
This week’s episode was especially superb. There are genuine reasons I love the show. And then, there are some less than genuine reasons, too. Tonight was all sorts of insincere.
Let me start by highlighting what worked for me that really shouldn’t have. 1) Hanna slapped a blind girl, then dissed her blindness. 2) The conflict with Aria and HER TEACHER remains to be how sad it is they must hide their love and NOT THE FACT THAT SHE BARELY HAS A LICENSE AND HE’S BEEN THROUGH COLLEGE. 3) Ian the likely murderer and deatheater-to-all-of-Spencer’s-happiness had a really stellar Got Milk? moment.
Now the things that worked and should work. 1) Emily’s still gay and getting play #doublewin. 2)Having realized Alison sucks, the girls are refocusing their emotions toward each other/ actual friendship. 3)the kid who needs a haircut left, putting an end, hopefully, to the awkwardly-addressed “foster child” situation.
This show is good because it has its’ moments.
Obviously, it’s silly. In fact, I often find myself uncontrollably snorting through lengthy segments of teen angst. But, it also has moments of importance. It’s a show about girls and their lives. I can count on one hand how many others shows exist on-air today sharing that same agenda.
Furthermore, the characters have a singular focus that addresses a social issue. They’re brought together by the murder plot line, but it oft breaches subplot status in comparison to their personal struggles. Each girl has her one story and it gets time and attention. This is big when the story is about a lesbian or about a girl suffering from an eating disorder or about an overachiever struggling for parental attention. The issues are as real as the sizable age differences between the actresses IRL and their characters.
So tune in you h8rs… Monday Night aka Teen Angst Night (see: PLL, Gossip Girl and Skins).
PS if you watched tonights episode (3/8/11) then you also noticed Spencer playing the role of Le Petit Prince, Hanna auditioning for Hocus Pocus and Emily officially going butch. #wardrobemalfunctions