That Regressive & Transphobic PLL Finale Makes Me Super Sad

Amy M is angry about THAT Pretty Little Liars Mid-Season Finale

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I love PLL. Like LOVE love it. Especially Ezra, even if his character is a plethora of wrong. Like everyone else in the entire universe, I’ve wanted to know who ‘A’ is since the start, and every half reveal or clue or shock has kept me interested. (When Ezra was ‘A’ I actually thought the show had pulled off the best horror movie plot twist of all. Cue disappointment when he was inevitably revealed as not ‘A’. Super super sad face.) But season 6 has been total BS from start to mid-season finish, and the accompanying press the showrunner has done hasn’t strengthened its case in any way, only served to prove how irrelevant PLL has fast become, totally ignorant of the TV landscape it supposedly inhabits, and out of touch with the fans it once seemed to adore.

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The show made a big mistake in saving the time jump for mid-season. Why not jump forward five years at the start of season 6, with ‘A’ still uncaught, and the mystery of Charles a background blip we still don’t have answers to? I get that fans were impatient. But we’re always impatient. Hell, I still want Joey and Dawson to get it on all these years later, even though I know they’re a terrible match. But I’m desperate for it to happen. (Again and again, preferably). The audience wanting more is a good thing, right? Instead, PLL blew its load with an impromptu, underdeveloped, mid-season reveal which not only makes no sense, but is borderline offensive.

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I. Marlene King innit. She’s a life ruiner. She ruins people’s lives.

I. Marlene King said in a recent interview that CeCe has always been ‘A’, that the team decided three and a half years ago that she would be, and her character was always transgender. In the super awkward interview, King goes on to say, “You know, I didn’t even know that were was even an awareness of transgender actors at that time. This being three and a half years ago, before Orange Is the New Black, and before people were even talking about it as openly as they are now.” Which begs two things:

  1. When this brilliant plot twist epiphany hit you, and you decided to explore a trans storyline (which don’t get me wrong, is a great thing to see in the mainstream, when done right) why didn’t it cross your mind to seek out a trans actor to portray the role? If you seriously knew that CeCe would turn out to be Charles way back when, shouldn’t it have been a serious consideration who would best fit the part? And I call bullshit on the whole “this was three years ago, before Orange is the New Black” line, because OITNB was defs in development at that time, and for all its faults, that show managed to cast a fucking trans actor in a fucking trans role, so that is not a reason.
  2. If you did indeed decide on this super amaze reveal over three years ago, fine, but things evolve. Political climates change. Fan bases develop. And impatience is no excuse to rush to a reveal you’re not ready for. This whole treading water half-season smacked of clumsy coercion. It wasn’t about anything and it wasn’t going anywhere. CeCe’s reveal wasn’t given the weight it deserved to make us care, and was ravioli thick with inconsistencies. She dated her brother ffs. Like you truly one hundred percent knew she was ‘A’ an age ago! Like actual fuck.
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YEAH, SRSLY?!?!?!

The fact that King has to explain the character’s motives is also problematic. She’s inadvertently become a trans apologist without realising, and isn’t that the worst, when you don’t realise how many people you’re offending at once? Not to mention the cliché alert that should’ve sounded in any writer’s head upon writing ANOTHER evil trans character (I don’t care what King claims, ‘A’ isn’t only complicated, but full on creepo Krueger). I believe King when she says the PLL writers weren’t jumping on the trans-bandwagon (and fuck that phrase forever). If they were, they’d have had the decency to consider the trans experience in more detail rather than using it as a completely surprising plot-twist. And sure, I get that the treatment of CeCe/Charles by her family and other characters is shocking and perhaps a reflection of the trans experience: sent away, existence denied, shamed and guilted. But it’s not good enough, and makes the show seem dated, unoriginal, insensitive and desperate. Without fleshing this character out in more than 20 minutes, it’s resorting to standard horror movie fare, offensive on so many levels, and totally derogatory. Is this really the best they could come up with?

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There may well have been clues all along that CeCe was ‘A’. There were also clues that Aria, Spencer and Ezra were prime candidates. Hell, it could’ve been anyone. And wouldn’t it be great if ‘A’ was a main character, an ever-present entity, a stealth stalker? Instead every flash-back in the finale was a ham-fisted, made-to-fit piece of evidence which worked about as well as a marriage to Kris Humphries. This ‘Game over, bitches’ fell flat. Which is fucking disappointing. Shame on you PLL writers. I invested about a zillion hours in you and you turned out to the transphobic cunts. Damn.

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2 thoughts on “That Regressive & Transphobic PLL Finale Makes Me Super Sad

  1. Pingback: Society, Smart-Phones and Social Media: The New Monsters of Teen Horror | A Feminist Trash TV & Pop Culture Blog

  2. Pingback: 2015 Was Amaze And Shit: Clarissa’s Year In Review! | A Feminist Trash TV & Pop Culture Blog

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