Posted Mar 28, 2012 @ 7:45 PM
New user! First post! Only so I could find people to talk about the amazingness that is this show, because I cannot for the life of me convince ANY of my friends that this show is worth watching. Of course, if it had a more "adult" title, like, I don't know, um, Revenge?, people might be more okay with it. As it stands, I am out in the cold here. Other titles-- "Tween Peaks"? "A-Game"?
HMC is beautiful, but I didn't catch people fat-shaming her, just saying that she's too, er, curvy to be the Black Swan. But didn't we learn our lesson with MonA? Don't try and figure this out based on body type. There's no point. I also refuse to believe that Ella is evil, because she reminds me of my super-awesome mom, and I think I was just about as lame as Aria when I was that age (and I too dressed like a crazy person).
Thoughts/theories: Jackie's the Swan, Lucas knocked Emily over in the greenhouse, someone evil that we don't yet know pulled the A stunts while MonA was riding horseys. I desperately want to know who killed Ali, but I'm worried that MK doesn't care as much as I do. I do, however, hope she's dead and not just faking. I cannot fathom why anyone would kill Maya, because who cares? But the character is much more interesting dead than alive, so... hurray? I sort of hope is the same killer. It would be AMAZING if they pulled in some Twin Peaks-style metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, but I think I'm the only one who would enjoy that.
What's that you say? You've never seen Twin Peaks? Well, it would be a lovely way for you to pass the time until June. One of my fantasies that will never happen is that I will write an entire thesis on Twin Peaks/PLL, and then someone will hand me a Ph.D. and a paycheck. Sigh.
TP is PLL's grand-daddy in all the best ways. Missing, sexually precocious psycho-princess? Check. Cryptic notes and jewelry as clues? Check. Murdered girl appearing in extended surrealist dream sequences? Check. Dark-haired cousin played by the same actress as dead girl? Got that too. The creepy little kid/grandmother scene in the doll hospital? Lifted almost directly from TP, though the scenes resolve differently. Weird lonely resort guy is played an agoraphobic botanist, secret diaries abound, the owls are not what they seem (remember that USB drive? How can that NOT be a reference?). Father figures are almost universally evil and eternally engaged in shady business. Everyone sleeps with everyone all the time. Oh yeah, and Twin Peaks also only has one restaurant.
And maybe the showrunners don't mean to engage these issues directly, but I think Jacob does a good job of picking them apart. Someone else said above that the original storytellers didn't mean to engage with archetypes, but did. That's the nature of narrative: it picks up universal truths unwittingly, because what other stories are there to tell?
Another fantasy is that I have coffee with Jacob and we discuss exactly what story these shows- PLL, Twin Peaks and even The Killing- tell, and why we feel the need to tell it over and over again. If you get them down to brass tacks, it's all about young girls at the cusp of budding sexuality using it to their advantage, getting in over their head and eventually getting killed. In The Killing and Twin Peaks, it's pretty much assumed that the killer is a man who had a sexual interest in the murdered girl. It's sort of why PLL is, weirdly, smarter than the Killing, a show with a title I can bear to say in public, aired under the auspices of a "serious" television network. But in PLL, gender dynamics are up in the air- was Ali murdered because she was overly sexual and/or pregnant (oh, the possibilities of page 5!)? Or was she murdered because she was a raging sociopath who destroyed everything she touched? Is her story psycho-sexual drama, or just drama?
And that's why it's great to have Mona as the girls' harasser- we know that the girls are being harassed, are made to be less powerful based on reasons that are not purely gendered. It's not a man exerting power over them (I think A+ is probably female), it's Mona. All of whom live among adults of both genders who want to shove them into the Ophelia box, until Spencer is almost killed. And this is why Spencer manages to both be the craziest and most in-touch of all the characters on the show: her entire family is somehow involved with Ali's disappearance, from the extortion to Ian to the PI, and yet they spent the entire first season gas-lighting her until she believed she was crazy. But, as it turns out, she was freaking right- which only made her crazier. Given her environment, madness is a natural and well-reasoned response. It might also be the only reason she's alive. Spencer is Audrey Horne on crack, I can't wait until she goes undercover at her dad's secret Canadian casino, or whatever nonsense S03 has in store.
Sorry for the novel, but I've been stewing about this episode while TWoP approved me. The broader themes have been bugging me for even longer, I am a dog with a bone when it comes to interpretation. Yeah, I was an English major. How could you tell?