Yeah, I said it. And I’ll say it again –
Pretty Little Liars is proof that society and the media will worship mediocre white people in pop culture, and will protect said white people’s feelings from getting hurt. The mediocre white person in question? None other than Marlene King, of course.
Over the years Ms. King has been under fire for running a show that has repeatedly disappointed its fan base, and for being dismissive towards fans’ legitimate concerns. You’d think an established professional middle-aged woman would know how to handle constructive criticism or use that to improve her work, but nope. In typical white knighting style, some media outlets went so far as to bend over backwards to defend Ms. King and company (defend from what, I’m not sure).
Front and center we have the normally politically correct Teen Vogue which dished out a poorly thought-out article entitled “How The Pretty Little Liars Finale Backlash Brings Out The Ugly Side Of Fandom”. The article contains comments from fans expressing how they feel like they wasted 7 years of their life following the show, only to be let down by the sloppy finale. It then includes a link to the PLL subreddit, which the article claims to be “unequivocally mean” towards Ms. King.
However, if you click that link it’ll lead to a (pretty impassioned but still civilized) post stating how the poster personally believes the ending was awful. Nobody told Ms. King to kill herself. Nobody threatened any of the cast members or crew.
I’ve been a subscriber to this subreddit for a long time, and let me tell you without the support system from this welcoming and hilarious forum, I would’ve given up on the show ages ago. Besides, normally any offensive or overboard personal attacks usually get called out by the community.
Of course there are trolls (which exist in every fandom) and memes (which, seriously, are not that bad). However, contrary to what the media is trying to paint, majority of the criticism raised by fans were intelligently articulated and directed towards the show.
Isn’t it telling that the overall consensus of the fandom is the finale sucked? Based from my own experiences with PLL, I literally had my expectations for the finale as low as they could possibly go, yet I was still overwhelmingly disappointed. Us fans invested so much of our personal space and energy into the show, and yet it feels like the show simply took advantage of us as numbers in a ratings game.
It kind of sounds as though Teen Vogue cherry picked the comments to help create sympathy for Ms. King. Moreover, their article stated:
“That accessibility seems to have caused some fans to wrongly assume that they have a sense of control in the outcome of the plot.”
Teen Vogue, and others desperately defending the finale, seem to not know or care that the great Marlene King shamelessly used a fan theory for the A reveal. The fandom is also in agreement there is a significant possibility Ms. King and the writers used fan theories for other story-lines in the show such as Pastor Ted being Cece’s dad, CeCe being Big A, CeCe being transgender, Jessica having a twin who kills her and who is also Spencer’s biological mom, and Ezra writing a book about Alison.
Beerizzy90 is able to articulate how I feel about Teen Vogue and the PLL fiasco:
“I’m pretty sure season 7 was the season of fan theories considering that pretty much every reveal was the theory on Reddit for a long time before it actually happened, like Ted being Charlotte’s dad.
Clearly the person who wrote this didn’t watch the show. Fans aren’t pissed that they didn’t get their way, they’re pissed because we were promised answers then got none. We were told things would get fixed and they never were. When the show started it was a mystery that had logic and clues, over the years logic went out the window and theorists became the enemy.
If Marlene didn’t want to deal with all the backlash maybe she should have tried harder to give us a finale that at least attempted to fix things. Mary could have been used to fix multiple things yet she wasn’t. Marlene CHOSE not to answer things. She CHOSE to ignore everything before season 7.
She literally did it to herself then admitted to avoiding social media for a bit because of fan reaction, like she knew it was bad. Fans are now expressing their feelings about it. Saying we want 7 years of our life back is not the same as “kill yourself,” it’s not even hateful, it’s literally saying that she wasted 7 years of our life because she’s bad at her job. If she can’t handle the criticism she either needs thicker skin, to get off Twitter, or find a new career because when she gives fans shit they’re going to give her shit back…
This season was a love letter to the fans because the fans wrote it. She took fan theories and turned them into a reality. We called Charlotte’s father, Jessica’s twin, Mary being Spencer’s mom, Mary killing Jessica, Mona being the killer, and I’m sure a bunch more. We called it so she gave it to us. Then she took her and Troian’s favorite fan theory, the Spencer twin theory that they both admitted to reading, and made it a reality. She figured that by giving us an ending we got right we’d be happy…
I am honestly so disappointed with that finale. Not only did we get a twin we knew nothing about and only saw in season 7, but we also got two of the most basic and overused bits ever when it comes to twins. First the scene where Alex imitates Spencer on the other side of the glass and later when they did the whole “I’m Spencer, no I am” crap [with the gun pointed at them]…
We deserved better. The show deserved better.”
Pretty Little Liars not only wasted the fans’ time, trust, and loyalty, it also continued to dismay us by its unapologetic transphobia, toxic views on mental health and romance, undeniably lazy writing, and unsound focus on romantic ships.
Maybe you liked the finale, maybe not. You can’t deny the show has lots of faults though. Fixable faults that the show runners actively decided to not fix regardless of the many opportunities to do so.
No matter how you spin it:
• It is fucked up that the only trans character on the show is revealed as a psycho villain. Additionally, the reveal, motivations, and storyline of the character was insensitively mishandled.
• It is fucked up that the show suggests mentally ill people will always turn out to be the bad guys, and that the plot is obsessed with twins being evil.
• It is fucked up that there are nearly no black people or other people of color on this show, and that the few POC characters are depicted poorly or killed off.
• It is fucked up that Emily and Alison only get together because of Alison being raped, and that Emily basically strong-armed Alison to keep the baby.
• It is fucked up that it really seems as though the character of Alison was unfairly treated as the season went on.
• It is fucked up that Ezra, a pedophile, stalked underage girls and ended up marrying his victim Aria.
• It is fucked up that the show glosses over pedophilia, incest, addiction, and rape, and uses such disturbing and complex topics as shallow plot devices.
• It is fucked up that, despite numerous calls for change, this show continues to glorify and romanticize toxic relationships, especially taking into account its target audience are young girls.
And you know what? Ms. King and company have shown zero remorse towards the fans, zero openness to fix the very problematic parts of the show, zero apologies for mistakes made, zero accountability for anything. Because according to Ms. King and so many other mediocre white people in show-business – if you don’t like my work, you’re the problem, not me.
Ms. King and the writers have an obligation to give fans a good mystery show that also presents characters and story-lines in a respectful way. Unfortunately, this seemed too much to ask. Now on Twitter Ms. King continues to block and chastise anyone who dares dislike her show, as she has done for the past 6 years. Meanwhile Teen Vogue and others championing for Ms. King accuse the fans of being “ungrateful” for not fawning over the finale.
These ungrateful fans supported Ms. King, the cast, and the show in spite of numerous times they lied to and purposely misled them. These ungrateful fans trusted the show enough to believe it would listen to their concerns, criticism, and suggestions, although it continued to ignore them and let them down. These ungrateful fans spent time trying to fix the plotholes and help the show make sense (like this, this, this, this, this, this, or this), even when they were repeatedly villanized in order to coddle Ms. King’s bruised ego.
Marlene King and company basically ripped-off ideas from these so-called ungrateful fans, didn’t bother to make any solid effort in terms of the story-telling’s logic or execution, cooked up a self-serving finale, wasted a ton of chances to do right by the fans, AND THEN turned things around to make the fans look like the asshole whilst the white woman remains the faultless, blameless victim.
Because who gives a crap that the fans feel betrayed and unsatisfied? The fact the show ran for 7 seasons must be proof of it being successful, right? The fact the fandom stood by it despite us being bamboozled by production numerous times must be proof the show is brilliant, yeah?
This circus just shows that mediocre white people in power positions will always get the last laugh. I trust Ms. King is laughing all the way to the bank.