Category: Pretty Little Liars

'Pretty Little Liars': Fans left wanting by the identity of A

Pretty Little LiarsAfter two seasons, Monday night's season finale of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars" revealed the identity of A, the show's mysterious villain and cyber-bully.

If you don't want to be spoiled, read no further.

There were actually two big reveals on the episode, titled "unmAsked." First, viewers learned that former misfit turned popular girl Mona Vanderwaal (and supposed fellow A victim) was in fact the person behind the vowel. Well, one of them, anyway.

Because the other big reveal in the episode was that there's more than one person working as A, a "Team A," and the person pulling Mona's strings -- another member of Team A -- visited her in the episode's final moments after she'd been committed to a mental institution for severe personality disorder.

Just because she's in an institution doesn't mean Mona's story is over. In fact, actress Janel Parrish, who plays Mona, announced on Tuesday that she's been upgraded to series regular for "Liars'" third season.

While the fact that A's identity was revealed (or partially revealed) wasn't a surprise -- producers had teased the development well in advance -- the actual details were unexpected. And to judge by the fans' reaction, hotly contested.

It's possible "Liars" fan Twitter Waiting for #March19 (the date of the finale episode) had its expectations set a wee bit too high. The reaction? "The producers of #PLL  are pretty little liars themselves cuz they didnt give us a real answer for who's A."

Another fan, Lisa Hiser tweeted, "I'm sorry #PLL, but was definitely not satisfied with that reveal. Too predictable...and the real "A" wasn't really revealed."

Laura Lithgow of the Dominican Republic saw the season finale as a breakup of sorts. She wrote, "Now that I know who A is..is not the same:( I will miss Pretty Little Liars </3."

British fan Devon-louise Oakley shared a similar sentiment when she wrote, "Knowing who A is has taken the fun out of pretty little liars for me but that was shocking."

ABC Family shouldn't go into crisis mode just yet, however. There were still plenty of fans who reacted with sentiments similar to Jordana Silva: "OMG pretty little liars was amazing."

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Photo: Ashley Benson is one of the stars of "Pretty Little Liars." Credit: Eric McCandless / ABC Family

ABC Family gets top score in GLAAD survey of gays on TV

Shay Mitchell (center) plays a lesbian on ABC Family's 'Pretty Little Liars.' Credit: Adam Rose/ABC Family

ABC Family stands at the head of the class in a new report looking at depictions of gay, lesbians and transgender people on television.

In its fifth annual Network Responsibility Index, the advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) assessed the quality and quantity of gay characters on the broadcast networks plus 10 cable channels from June 2010 to the end of May.

The top score went to the Walt Disney Co.'s cable outlet ABC Family, which is targeted at viewers 14 to 34 and features several series with gay characters, including "Pretty Little Liars" and "Greek." CW earned the best score among any broadcaster, thanks to openly gay characters on shows such as "90210" and "Gossip Girl."

"We're incredibly proud to be acknowledged by GLAAD," ABC Family President Michael Riley said in an interview. "We want to be sure we program in a relatable, authentic way."

GLAAD gave failing grades to cable outlets A&E and TBS. The group pointed out that most of what very little gay inclusiveness A&E could claim stemmed from the fact that Ryan Buell, the host of "Paranormal State," came out as bisexual.  

"Often inclusion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters is a matter of will," said Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs at GLAAD. "It’s really something we’re going to be addressing with both of those networks."

Representatives for A&E and TBS did not respond to emails requesting comment.

Photos: Ricky Martin, 'True Blood,' Tina Fey win big at GLAAD awards

Other networks that have been flunked by GLAAD in the past – including CBS and USA – have risen to "adequate" in the new report. CBS' drama "The Good Wife" includes a bisexual investigator played by Archie Panjabi, who won an Emmy for the role.

GLAAD representatives say that representations of gays and lesbians on TV shows is important because the medium helps shape Americans' perceptions. More than one-third of people who reported viewing gays more favorably over the past five years in a recent GLAAD poll said that "seeing gay or lesbian characters" on TV was a contributing factor.

The group also pointed to the immense buying power of gays and lesbians, estimated at $835 billion in 2011.

One area of concern for GLAAD: the continuing lack of transgender characters on television. With a few exceptions – such as model Isis King on CW's "America's Next Top Model" – transgender people are seldom seen in programming.

Graddick said that transgender depictions on TV are lagging 20 years behind those of gays and lesbians.

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Twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Shay Mitchell (center) plays a lesbian on ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars." Credit: Adam Rose/ABC Family.

'Pretty Little Liars' finale recap: A car crash, a death and another round of lies

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Well, I guess we can finally cross Ian off our list of A suspects. Or can we? The season finale of "Pretty Little Liars" managed to produce just as many questions as it solved. At this point, the storyboards for this show must look like a "Family Circus" trip crossed with the "Gossip Girl" hook-up chart. It could mean that we're headed for a completely genius second season, in which the Tolstoy-level complexity will all play out in interesting ways. Or it could mean that "Pretty Little Liars" is painting itself into a corner. 

It was a doozy of a conclusion, but I can't help but feel a tad disappointed. After all that buildup, we didn't learn that much. Ezra is moving on to work at Hollis, which at least means that he and Aria can finally break out of the loop of boring close calls they've been caught in this season. He'll be working with his ex-fiancee, which had Aria all in a huff, but I can't imagine that we've seen the end of them together. I was crossing my fingers for a Maya-Emily reunion this episode, but things were fairly tame on her front -- just, you know, her family moving to Texas and her involvement in an entrapment scheme. 

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap: Welcome to the fun house

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As we careen towards the finale of ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ I can’t decide whether the writers of the show are the world’s best poker players or the world’s worst. On the one hand, every episode of this season implicated a different suspect in Alison’s death: first it was Toby, then Jenna, then Ian, then Jenna again, then…maybe Mona? 


But on the other, this week’s episode was so bad at pacing. No sooner did we learn of another development in the case than the clue was cracked. We learned about the existence of a secret key Jenna wanted from Alison and then, lo and behold, Emily found it. Aria suspected Ezra of leading a double (or triple?) life and then it was all neatly explained away. Can’t a girl have a little bit more suspense? It’s as if "Liars" was rushing to spoil its own surprise party. 


Of course, the show still has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do—or not—in next week’s finale. Spencer’s plotline was by far the scariest and best developed of the night. After some more vague threats from the cops and a stern warning from her mother not to see Toby, what does Spencer do? She sets out to see Toby, of course. It so happens that the Founder’s festival is in town, and, just like dances, carnivals never turn out well for our little liars. Ian and Melissa slip up on their story about Hilton Head, which ruins their secret abortion alibi, and the next time we see Ian, it’s when he’s holding a crowbar above Spencer’s head. As it turns out, he’s not about to bring it smashing down on her skull—rather, he pried it loose from a fun house wall where Spencer managed to be stuck, after getting lost in the fun house looking for Toby. (That must rank among the most claustrophobia-inducing scenes ever shown on television, by the way.) What happened next neatly paralleled the arc of the Homecoming dance episode—while Emily fled from Toby after near-disaster, Spencer ran right into his arms. Hopefully it means she’ll avoid a broken skull. 

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: 'The little girl who cried Ian'

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We’re just two episodes away from the "Pretty Little Liars" finale, but, as we found out this week, not much closer to the truth of who’s been torturing the Rosewood High gang. After last week’s whiplash-inducing pace, it was inevitable -- and, frankly, a bit of a relief -- to have things slow down. Nonetheless, this week’s installment felt like filler: more clues, more misdirection, more feinting and logical loop-the-loops. Will we ever figure out what happened to Alison?

One thing’s for sure: Spencer’s in trouble. After leaving her last week in the hands of the police, we started this week with the police combing her house for clues to her connection to Alison’s murder. Spencer’s mom, a dead ringer for Mariska Hargitay, does her best to lawyer the cops away, but to no avail. They find that Spencer’s name bracelet had fibers matching the bloodied sweater Alison was wearing the night of her death. Was Spencer being framed, or is there some simpler explanation?

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap: Boys in the basement, wolves in the backyard

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Things were moving fast this week on "Pretty Little Liars." Police visits! Hookups! Stakeouts! Lost virginities! A secret abortion! The most intense game of Scrabble known to man! There was enough scandal packed into Rosewood High's foursome to fuel a nuclear submarine for a month. With the season finale a mere three installments away, it’s looking like the show is gaining more momentum every week. So, in order from least to most shocking, here were the developments:


1. Ezra and Jenna struck up a weird bond over a short story that Jenna’s submitting to a competition; the story is about — you guessed it! — being viciously blinded. Aria, as her wig-out at the school dance proved, is what you could call the jealous type, so she doesn’t take well to the news. After trying to distract Ezra with a home-cooked meal and a see-through dress, she tearfully confessed her friends’ role in Jenna’s “accident.” And, of course, Ezra forgives her. It’s all pretty anticlimactic, but at least Ezra must be putting the pieces together about exactly what a pickle his girlfriend is in. 

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Year of the rat

Badseed

It might be premature, but I’m going to go ahead and put it out there: This might have been the best episode of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ since the show’s return. Ever since the dance-a-thon, things—let’s face it—had gotten a little too mellow. (And as Woody Allen reminds us, once they’re mellow, then they ripen and rot.) More drama with Hanna and her mom? Stretching it. Another Aria and Ezra fight? Boring. But  murdering animals and planting evidence? Now you’ve got my attention. 


First, there’s the matter of the deliciously unsubtle choice for the Rosewood High play: "The Bad Seed." This naturally leads to a classroom discussion of the nature of evil and Spencer suddenly acquiring a taste for plaited pigtails. Hanna and Spencer join the cast, Fitz directs, and Aria shoehorns her way into a stage manager position only to get into another argument with Ezra over their relationship. Honestly, guys? You’re making that whole teacher-student relationship lose some of its lusty gleam. I have to say that my favorite part of the whole play was the return of Mona, who not only coins a name for the fearsome foursome (“Hanna and her clan-a”) but also pretty much nails the whole episode with one line: “Who’s evil and who’s just being naughty?” 

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap: ‘The real teens of Rosewood High’

122577_1467_pre Well, it’s about time. Not only did this week’s episode provide some much-needed relief from the saccharine kissy-kissy atmosphere of Valentine’s Day, it also revved up the action seriously on the A front. After the last two lackluster episodes, the appearance of Mrs. Potter’s nephew (or is he?) and Paige’s surprising confession added some intrigue back into this secret-infested town. Plus, am I imagining things, or did this week get seriously high-brow with the literary references?

 

The matter of Ashley’s little unauthorized loan seemed to be settled after Mrs. Potter’s untimely death, but this week a long lost grandnephew, James Leland—he of the thin lips and aggressively blond hair—arrived at the bank to take stock of his inheritance. Hanna and her mother are understandably freaked out about the possibility of being caught until Caleb (or “the Artful Dodger” as Spencer—who must have been brushing up on her Dickens—calls him) suggests that Leland might not be the man he claims to be. Turns out that the real James Leland died well before this dashing imposter came on the scene, and Ashley and Leland have an uneasy stand-off over the remains of the safe deposit box. The last scene of the show has A leaving flowers on Mrs. Potter’s grave, (inscribed, unfortunately, with the Shakespearean quote “To sleep, perchance to dream,” from a speech that isn’t exactly full of happy thoughts) so I’m guessing we haven’t heard the last of this particular financial dispute. But that isn’t even A’s most interesting activity.

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Sharks and stray dogs

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One thing ‘Pretty Little Liars’ has mastered at this point is the gentle, frustrating art of the red herring. There are so many false leads, suspicious-looking characters and acts of petty high school social violence that figuring out who’s actually connected to ‘A’ and who simply has questionable moral standards is close to impossible. Paige, for example, had the makings of someone far more sinister last week when she forced Emily’s head under water. On this week’s episode, Emily seemed to have defused her through some simple swimming pep talks. (But try as they may, it’s difficult to make high school swimming look glamorous and high risk.) Should we buy it, or is Paige just waiting for another opportunity to lash out? 

And then there’s the return of Toby Cavanaugh, he of the watery Disney prince looks and unstable disposition. Spencer, taken aback by just how easily someone set her up at the bead shop, begins to suspect Toby might have been put in a similar position and takes the opportunity to help him with some French tutoring. As they chat on the porch about how Toby’s sweater made its way from Alison’s body back to Toby’s house, Jenna begins making a ruckus inside the house. When Spencer returns to tutor Toby again, he turns her away, leaving her with a French copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" and a note: “I found this in Jenna’s room.” Another clue or just a dead end? Out with it, Toby! From the looks of this week’s ending — A’s gloved hands arranging a series of weapons straight out of Clue while a French instructional record skips on the phrase “I am a friend” — this might be the real thing. 

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Double deus ex machina

Emily

After last week’s dance-a-thon brought out the worst in the Rosewood High gang (not to mention the evil machinations of A), it was perhaps inevitable that this week’s episode would be a bit less eventful. But this week, it seemed like “Liars” was seriously off its game. Sure, Emily had some more tough luck with a vengeful swim team member, and Hanna had to deal with more of A’s meddling, but this week’s “Liars” fell into a trap that it usually is skillful at avoiding: Too many parental intrigues, too little of A, not to mention an all too neat ending to Hanna’s crisis of conscience. Plus, a less than subtle comparison of A’s bullying tactics to Hitler and an awkwardly placed plug for the new Bieber movie. 

Most of the episode revolved around a series of close calls that didn’t feel very suspenseful at all. Aria, using her most sneaky “pinning a secret note on my shirt” tactics, invites Ezra to an art opening in Philadelphia for a proper date. A plants Hanna’s new mission via a creepy Mother’s Day card — sabotage Aria and Ezra’s relationship by giving another art opening ticket to Aria’s mom, and some of that lasagna box money will get back to Hanna’s mother. Oh, and also — Mrs. Potter, the woman Hanna’s mom “borrowed” from? Yeah, she made an unexpected appointment with the bank this week. 

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: 'The rich girls steal, the pretty girls lie'

PLL School dances don’t end well for the ladies on "Pretty Little Liars," especially, it seems, for Emily. The homecoming soiree landed her in the hospital with a cracked skull, a mess of tangled teenage emotions and a date who might have murdered her best friend. This week, the dance-a-thon left her more or less physically sound, but boy, did she make a mess of it. Throw in A's little games with Hanna, Aria’s jealous streak and Ian’s shady threats, and you’ve got a high school fundraiser that played out like the teenage social equivalent of "Saw." And, oh yeah -- did I mention two new characters were thrown into the mix?

Those "Liars" fans (like me) who are constantly on the hunt for "Veronica Mars" references got a big leg up this week with new cast member No. 1, Alona Tal, who played Meg Manning on "V. Mars" and gets swept in this week as Aria’s hyper-literate babysitter, Simone. Aria’s mom, enterprising matchmaker that she is, sets up Ezra and Simone for a coffee date, sending Aria into a jealousy spiral that culminates in her all but attacking them at the dance. Spencer steps in to salvage the situation, barely, and Ezra reassures Aria in the parking lot, but I don’t know -- I think this may be an interesting wrinkle in the lovebirds’ otherwise drab affair. 

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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: A isn't for Amateur

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Well, so much for that theory. Just when it felt like the walls were finally closing in on A—who might perhaps maybe have been Noel Kahn, or at least in cahoots with him—this week’s episode threw everyone for a loop once again. Apparently A had a change of heart from her usual anti-posse meddling and decided to meddle on behalf of the crew, though not before some of her nastiest work to date. And we got a glimpse of Spencer’s best Veronica Mars imitation, not to mention another clue at who might have actually killed Alison. 


But first thing’s first: After the lasagna box cash got stolen from Hanna’s Mom’s “unauthorized bank loan” last week, A left a trail of crumbs for Hanna to reclaim part of the money. A pretty literal trail of crumbs, in fact: back to Lucky Leon’s cupcakes where Hanna picked up six enormous cupcakes, each adorned with a pig’s face. And what does A want? Why, for Hanna to relive her horrible struggle with an eating disorder, of course. She has to eat all of them while jocks at an adjacent table chuckle and “oink” at her, after which A taunts “You know how to get rid of it.”  Plus, we learn in a flashback that Hanna had a gentle nudge into bulimia thanks to her very own frenemy: Alison. Low blow, A. But at least it earns Hanna some Benjamins back, out of the paper towel dispenser, no less. Is there any surface that A won’t write weird messages on? One assumes that it’s only a matter of time before skywriting is involved. 

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