On June 8, 2010, I sat on my couch in my living room waiting for a new show to begin on ABC Family. In the early days of Twitter, I became enthralled with the concept of a show reaching out to its audience directly. While I didn’t know the actresses, I already felt that I could connect with them. I loved photos of them having dinner together for the first time, I liked tweets as they prepared for their big TV show to start and I read the books that inspired the show. So, on that Tuesday night I turned my TV on and watched the first episode of Pretty Little Liars.
During that first season, I watched as Pretty Little Liars quickly consumed my life. I bought every episode on iTunes with gift cards I stashed from my birthday, I had a poster hanging in my closet and all the books lining my shelf. The summer of 2010 was filled with working during the day and trying to figure out who “A” was by night. I sat on the edge of my seat when Hanna thought she figured out who “A” was and then was hit by a car. Past me thought that would be the biggest plot twist. Oh, how wrong I was.
By the fall of 2010, I entered my sophomore year of high school, the perfect demographic for Pretty Little Liars. I waited with bated breath for winter when PLL would return. I missed Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hanna, Alison and even Mona. Of course, if Pretty Little Liars has taught me anything, it’s that friendship is the most important thing. Little did I know PLL would lead me to one of my longtime friends.
If I could calculate how many hours my friend, Sarah, and I spent talking on the phone about Pretty Little Liars it would be an astronomical number. We would theorize about who “A” could possibly be. Don’t worry Marlene King, we thought it was Maya for most of season 1 and literally still think we had a hand in killing her. We combed every possible Tumblr tag for theories that made any shred of sense. For the remaining three years of high school, Pretty Little Liars became a way to keep us together.
Even when college rolled around, and Pretty Little Liars was deemed a “guilty pleasure” by our peer group, we would call each other and talk about it. Now, having graduated college and living in different states, our final night together was spent watching Pretty Little Liars. A TV show about five girls being terrorized by the mysterious “A” in Rosewood became a way to keep Sarah and I together and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now, seven seasons later, Pretty Little Liars is coming to an end. The game is almost over. While we have some answers, there are still a lot of questions. The ending for any TV show is emotional, especially for one that has run for close to eight years. You’ve not only watched the cast grow up before your eyes, but you’ve grown up with them. When Pretty Little Liars started I was a freshman in high school. Now, I’m graduated from college. It’s become part of the very fabric of my growing up.
As I sit and think about everything PLL has given me, I also can’t help but feel nostalgic for the characters I’ll be losing. I’ve maintained a seven year friendship with each of the main characters and I don’t know if I’m ready to lose them. What makes Pretty Little Liars so unique as a teen drama is whatever they went through, at the end of the day, they all remained friends. Yes, they fought over “A’s” identity, boys and parents, but deep down they were all friends, no matter what.
Female friendships are rare on television. Often female characters are pitted against each other, especially over a love interest. Pretty Little Liars gave us a series that celebrated female friendships and made them the driving force for their stories. It’s a rare quality and one PLL will continue to exemplify long after the show has ended. Both on screen and off, the main Liars have become role models.
So, while I say goodbye to Pretty Little Liars as a whole, I also have to take the time to say goodbye to the Liars. Without these characters, this show wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has. From Spencer to Mona, these six girls have each brought so much to the series and proper thank you’s are necessary.
Thank you for your unique sense of fashion, your love for writing and your unwavering passion in everything you do. You’re fearless.
Thank you for your persistence in seeking the truth and showing that hard work does pay off. You’re intelligence is your best quality, never underutilize it.
Thank you for your sense of humor, your friendship and heart. You’re never afraid to speak your mind. Your humor and love is something I’ll remember forever.
Thank you for your bravery and not being afraid to be yourself. Your unique qualities make you shine, never lose your spark. You’re ready to change the world.
Thank you for your friendship and for being a fearless leader. You’ve grown more than anyone else and it’s made you a better person. You’re unstoppable.
Thank you for your dedication. You’ve shown us not to judge a book by its cover and that friendship can carry you far. Thank you for always having our back.
Of course, my final thank you is to this incredibly talented cast and crew. So, thank you: Marlene King, Joseph Dougherty, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse, Janel Parrish, Ian Harding, Tyler Blackburn, Keegan Allen, Andrea Parker and everyone else who created Rosewood, PA.
While this farewell letter has been about my personal experience with Pretty Little Liars, this is for anyone that has grown alongside this iconic teen drama. At PaleyFest 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the Pretty Little Liars panel. Seeing how much love and devotion fans of this show have is amazing. From the young women who found the courage to come out thanks to Emily to the countless tattoos immortalizing the series. Pretty Little Liars has taken a community of teenagers, both male, female and everything in between, and turned them into best friends.
So, thank you Pretty Little Liars. You’ve given us everything. From a group of friends that survived more murder sprees than we can count to secondary Mom’s who can somehow escape a basement. You’ve given us Haleb, Emison, Ezria and Spoby. Thank you Pretty Little Liars for 160 episodes of twists, turns and more questions than answers. There’s an entire generation of us that have grown up with you and we’re not ready to say goodbye.
We’ll miss you Pretty Little Liars.
Pretty Little Liars series finale airs Tuesday at 8/7c on Freeform