Last night’s Pretty Little Liars was filled with so many secrets that it came as a total surprise when Ezra decided to stand before Aria’s parents and confess that he was in love with their daughter. Their teenage daughter.
Immediately, I was uncomfortable. Aria walked up to her 20-something beau and held his hand before launching into a speech about how this is “so real” and she’s still “wrapping [her] head around it.” Ezra explained that this happened long before she was “[his] student.” And Ezra and Aria are shocked and appalled when her parents become outraged and ask Ezra to leave their home.
They weren’t the only ones upset either.
When I saw “Ezra and Aria” trending on Twitter, I found thousands upon thousands of girls tweeting about how “unfair” it is that no one understands their “true love.” That they would have an affair with a teacher too if he were as cute and kind as Ezra. And that’s disturbing to me.
I understand that this relationship happens in the books. And that it says something about Aria as a character. It’s also dramatic and makes for good TV. But where do we draw the line between TV drama and actively making teen girls “ship” a relationship that’s wrong?
So many times in last night’s episode Aria tried to justify their affair (which may not be illegal in the state of PA) by saying that she knows it’s real. And over and over again — to his friend, to Jackie and now to Aria’s parents — Fitz has tried to justify it by saying she wasn’t a student when it began and pointing out how mature she is. And it just sounds like a creepy pedophile attempting to justify their wrongs by insisting that because a teenager has traveled the world and went through a pink hair phase, this teenager is emotionally mature enough to be involved with them.
Look, I don’t want to get involved in the “how young is too young” argument and legal terms from state to state. The truth is I wouldn’t even mind this happening on the show if the writers of Pretty Little Liars weren’t egging on the crazed Ezria shipping of PLL fans around the world. Why are they making it cool for a teen girl to sleep with her teacher?
This isn’t the first — and I doubt it will be the last– time writers have had us pulling for bad relationships. Just look how many people “ship” Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl. [There are so many Chuck and Blair: The Perfect Pair blogs on the web!] In reality, Chuck Bass would be considered an abusive lover. And since it’s been proven that teen girls take away all kinds of messages from TV shows, shouldn’t writers show a little more responsibility? Don’t they owe that to their young viewers?
I’m not saying every episode has to be as dramatic and fable-ridden as a Degrassi marathon. But could we get a little more realism? Some hint that since the relationship has to be kept a secret (for fear of repercussions) that maybe it’s wrong? Maybe a hint that Ezra isn’t a dreamboat, but a pervert?
Probably not. I know that people who read this will be like “don’t take it so seriously!” and “there’s nothing wrong with them as a couple.” And maybe I am taking it too seriously. Maybe I’m missing how dreamy Ezra and Chuck are. Or maybe people just don’t like to admit when something they really like is really wrong.