SPOILER ALERT (I ruin everything…)
It caught me off guard, the same way I never thought I’d fall for Blair Waldorf, or Gregory House, or the dad from Everwood (Treat Williams, you old codger). Nah, who am I kidding, those were absolutes, if I’m honest. I like to think my taste is eclectic but it’s about as surprising as an Ashton Kutcher film. And Ezra is no different. From the first scene we meet him, in a bar (why is a teacher propping up a bar the night before school starts, no-one asked, like ever), to present day, when he’s gone all serial-killer-promising on us, I’ve fucking loved this man. And it’s not all about love, but character arc also. And Ezra Fitz has had one of TV’s best turny-twisted character arcs this side of the Millennium Bug. If you’re looking for hardline dissemination of the darker side of Ezra Fitz, look no further than my co-ed Amy R’s supreme post. But if you want (wait, what is that line Carrie says? Something like…) ridiculous, crazy, over-the-top, inconvenient, can’t live-without-each-other love, you’ve come to the right place, chum. Get comfy on your beanbag.
Aria Montgomery meets Ezra Fitz in a bar. They make out in the bathroom. It’s super hot. They’re both single, and aren’t breaking any laws, right? WRONG. They’re breaking every law possible, which they realise, in class the following day, when it turns out Ezra is Aria’s new English teacher. Now this isn’t a super new plot point. This has happened before, I forget all the places where, but a teacher has most definitely greeted their class for the first time, in another TV show or movie, to find the person they snogged last night is sitting at one of the desks. (Pacey Witter and his hot teacher had an extremely similar first day at school awkward re-meet). But no-one’s done it with as much panache, sheer panic, and utter hot-ness. Ian Harding (who’s responsible for Ezra’s smouldering, and sulking, alike) has even surpassed Michael Vartan in Never Been Kissed to win the award for hottest on-screen teacher ever (I mean, we’re still taking votes. Robin Williams in Dead Poets could swing it, if you feel that strongly about it).
They can’t keep away from each other. I mean, they’re both beautiful. In case there’s doubt, here:
And they’re in class together ALL the time, it’s difficult to avoid someone when they’re teaching you the intricacies of Harper Lee (euphemism central). This forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet updated for a generation totally desensitised by non-celebrities making love to empty wine bottles on Big Brother, and Justin Bieber, is established in episode one. And as co-ed Amy R points out, although the characters reiterate that it’d be wrong for them to date, knowing what they know now, it’s always suggested that their LOVE is above board: they found each other first, before books cracked, their attraction unavoidable like Miley Cyrus’ entire body.
Pretty Little Liars has 4 leads, all women, each completely in control of their own destiny, and capable of making difficult choices (Hanna breaks up with a boyfriend when he won’t sleep with her, because waiting’s not what she wants, and Emily comes out, confidently and quickly, and starts dating women immediately (everyone’s hot in Rosewood, why be cautious?)) And this is unusual, to have 4 women so responsible for themselves and the direction of the show, on primetime. Sure, Dawson’s Creek did evolve into Joey’s Creek eventually, but would it have sold on that basis? And Joey was the eternal virgin, whereas the Liars aren’t needlessly celibate. No promise rings here. Even the most devout amongst us would find it pretty hard (heh) to stay chaste in the selection box that is Rosewood.
The men who feature are often older, slightly predatory, and disposable (R.I.P. Ian). And Ezra OWNS this category, because he skirts the line of legality so sweetly, like he’d have a quick chat with any judge if caught dating a student, and the judge could only agree: love is love is love is love. Except, even my brain starts to hurt if I think about the implications too long. There isn’t a person amongst us who didn’t lust after an authority figure at one time or another (mine was this guy James who led our seminars at uni and intensely dissected our essays in the cafeteria after class, knees touching). And when you follow Ezra and Aria’s relationship through to its obvious conclusion, there is only one outcome: JAIL. Ezra, or Mr. Fitz, is the adult in this scenario. The teacher, responsible for this young person’s future, marking their homework, no less. And however mature Aria is, or seems, an outsider would say she’s coerced, not in control of herself, at the mercy of a much older, more educated manipulator.
But that’s the exact reason I love this show. Not because I’m depraved, but because all 4 of the women, even if they’re young when the show starts, at 15 or 16, are their own people, don’t buckle to peer pressure, and actually relish from rejecting the sway of the crowd. They’re strong women, role models, capable of fending off an older man suitor. Not that they should have to fend anyone off: Amy R is totally right that the skewed affections of an old man make less sense the older we get. I dated someone 11 years older than me, and although I wasn’t a teenager at the time, I could never understand his slight embarrassment at dating someone in their early twenties, so much younger than he was. Now I’m nearing the age he was then, I think I get it: age gaps don’t always matter, I’m the biggest advocate of that, but references get lost. You’re at different places in your lives. (Or he was just embarrassed I’m such a fucking loser!) In Aria and Ezra’s case: he’s entering the world of work and she’s about to apply for college. Their age gap is less. He’s 24 when the show starts, just trained, and she’s 16. 8 years isn’t that much. But the years matter most in context. In the papers, and the courts, this plays out only one way. Love or not, he’s going to prison. And what does 24 want with 16 anyway; to replay his own recently lost youth?
When Ezra quits Rosewood High, he dates Aria openly for a while, and technically, they’re doing nothing wrong. Her parents aren’t too thrilled, but legally, it’s A-OK (wink). So, post-their fiftieth break-up, when Ezra gets offered his old job at Rosewood High back, Aria starts losing sleep over it. The Principle quizzes her, asks if they’re together, and she daydreams his arrest, that someone has pictures of them kissing (or worse, you guys, gasp).
Season 4 is the moment it kicks off, in this respect. Prior to this the adults in the show have told us it’s wrong to date your teacher, but it’s not until Season 4 that it starts to dawn on Aria that she could be in serious shit, and Ezra could be catching foot mould in prison while he rummages for shower soap. Even then, we’re meant to side with Ezria: the cutest love story since Brad and Jen. But with blinkers off. We can’t avoid all the creepy suspect shit Ezra’s been up to anymore.
Okay, so he didn’t father a kid when he was 15, it turns out now after months of agony (I was the one in agony, btw – I hate to see Ezra cry like real tears argh). But he keeps a shit load of bills in his sock drawer (even Heisenberg had better hiding places than that, dude). His eyes have gotten a tenth wider every episode since the first so that now they’re positively popping, which makes for pretty exciting scenes since he spends most of his time spying on Aria through coffee shop windows as she hangs out with her friends (duuuuuuuude). Nothing bad ever happens to this fucker, either. There have been threats, but he’s been sleeping with a student for years and no-one’s ever shopped him. “Why is that?” you ask. “How could this be?”
Because he’s A, bitches. Well, if the mid-season cliffhanger would have us believe anything. But just because he turned up at the lair, wears a hood sometimes, and punched a door, I need more proof before I pop the champagne. It’s a great twist, the most exciting one since, well, probably something that happened in the episode before. This is a twist-heavy show, and I’ve been led to believe Toby is a dangerous psychopath on at least 5 separate occasions now, only to welcome him back into Spencer’s heart and mine (I wanted to say pants but we’re ladies).
My guess is that Ezra is on the trail of whoever the dangerous psychopath is this week. That the current A has some big juicy gossip on him, or that he’s been tracking them from the start, that he knows them, always has, didn’t mean to get involved with Aria for real, only tactically, but couldn’t help himself, and he’s just as embroiled as anyone, now. Maybe the real killer is his mum. That woman is SCARY.
Until they change the game, reveal another suspect, I’m going to revel in the fact that Ezra Fitz just became A, totally owning each baseball cap, military boot and wide-eyed stare. That if Kevin Williamson was writing this, Ezra would get gut-stabbed in the next scene by Neve Campbell. But for now, I’m excited. Secrets are sexy as Bryan. And if anything akin to Buffalo Bill goes down next (nice one Amy R), my heart might swell like a water bomb balloon from Poundland, not as thick as you think, and it will explode and I will die. Let my tombstone read all the words from B-26 by Ezra Fitz. He’s a poet, yo. A fucking poet. He calls poetry readings “intense”. What an effing legend.