What we read while avoiding the George Washington Bridge…
We’re baack. I don’t know how often we’re baack, but who cares about petty details when there’s dead murderers running around Rosewood impregnating characters’ mean-spirited older sisters? And when Danby is recruiting Emily for its nationally renowned swim team???
I tried not to think of my last three months as life without Pretty Little Liars so much as life with The Killing and Parks and Recreation and any number of cheap knockoffs of the greatest show on television. It failed, though, and now that PLL is back, it’s officially prime television season.
With an especially boring slate of Big Monday games—has it ever been worse than this year, for some reason? The Big East and Big XII are good, but man, I can’t remember a good Big Monday game all season*—I had time to watch Pretty Little Liars at its regular hour this week. And even to rewatch some prior episodes during its all-day Presidents’ Day marathon.
*You heard it here first: Neither Syracuse nor Villanova will be playing past the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend.
That’s right: I’m recommitting myself to PLL full-tilt until the season finale in a few weeks. And Monday night’s episode, “The Bad Seed,” has me, well, ambivalent about that commitment.
Let’s explore why:
Does the reduced frequency of my Pretty Little Liars’ reviews reflect perhaps a taming of my zeal for the show or a latent unhappiness with the second half of the first season?
I want to quell such worries now. Sure, the last few episodes — including the last two — have not been as transcendent as I came to expect each week’s offering to be. But I’ve grown to appreciate the subtle genius on a week-to-week basis. It’s kind of like watching Tim Duncan in 2011.
I, for one, was nothing short of stunned to see that last night’s episode wasn’t Valentine’s Day themed. In fact, there wasn’t a single mention of V-Day. I suppose they didn’t know the air dates when filming, but these days, every show seems to put out a Valentine’s Day special. Part of me was happy to see PLL buck that trend, and part of me wanted to see what it would have looked like.
Let’s look back on “Je Suis Un Ami” and “The New Normal”:
In yesterday’s Pretty Little Liars recap Tim called the opening line of The Outfield’s “Your Love” his favorite opening line to any song ever. He even dared me to come up with a list of songs topping it.
Well, in the immortal words of Barney Stinson…
And I have bad news for you, Tim, “Your Love” doesn’t even crack my Top 50.
Of course, the topic raises several tricky questions: What constitutes an opening line? The first complete sentence? The first rhyming couplet? Until the first pause? And what criteria should we use to evaluate “the best” opening line? The catchiest? The most memorable?
I ended up being pretty flexible on both questions. Some of these lyrics were chosen because they are legitimately great lyrics. Others were chosen because of how they’re sung. Others are chosen because they are the most iconic moments of great songs. I’m sure I’m forgetting some great ones (I had only one day, chill out!), but here is an initial draft of the Top 50 opening lines in music history: Continue reading
Since I was too “busy” last week to go over “Careful What U Wish 4,” we’re rolling the last TWO episodes of Pretty Little Liars into one mega-review.
This combination is made more difficult, of course, by the divergence in the episodes’ respective quality. “Careful What U Wish 4” was, for the most part, bland, especially when compared to the summer’s “There’s No Place Like Homecoming”—the other episode focused on a Rosewood High School dance. But most of the missteps from “Careful What U Wish 4” were more than made up for in Monday night’s “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again.”*
*These episode titles are getting unwieldy.
Let’s dive in:
Before we dive into another terrific episode of Pretty Little Liars—the best, I think, of Season One, Part Two—we have to address something upfront.
Hanna Marin is apparently the teenage girl equivalent of Logan Howlett, a.k.a. Wolverine, with her truly miraculous recovery from her broken leg. Last we saw Hanna, she was struggling to navigate her way around her own house in a wheelchair while doped up on pain medication. This week, she’s out and about as if everything—spleen, leg, bruised ribs—are just fine and dandy.
Now, clearly some time has passed: Ian and Melissa are back from their honeymoon, Emily’s dad has left for Fort Hood again. But broken legs aren’t dislocated fingers; they don’t heal within a few days. We’re talking—and I did tons of research on this by asking one other person—a minimum of two to three weeks of casting on the broken leg and doubtless some lingering effects even after the cast comes off. WebMD says 6-8 weeks recovery time overall.* Six to eight weeks can’t possibly have passed since Camp Mona; two weeks seems too long a period of time to have passed (unless that was a fairly long honeymoon AND Noel’s blackmail of Mr. Fitz was really drawn-out and commenced toward the beginning of a traditional high school marking period).
*It also says that symptoms of a broken leg include “severe pain.” Thanks, WebMD!
All this is to say, Ashley Benson should have sucked it up and kept the cast on longer.
“I couldn’t forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….”
Pretty Little Liars had been a bit light on the intertextuality over the last few episodes, but it came back big-time in “Salt Meets Wounds,” or as I will forever know it as, The Gatsby Episode.
PLL, of course, executed its Gatsby theme with subtlety and class. Its thesis statement—Nick Carraway’s concluding analysis of the Buchanans reproduced on Mr. Fitz’s chalkboard and in the epigraph—wasn’t revealed until a quarter of the episode was through, and it was largely obscured by Ezra’s head: