Pretty Little Liars: It Happened One Night (ep301)

It’s back, bitches! How fun was that premiere? The answer is very. It felt like a big old treat for fans, with a million references to past seasons and in-jokes — and it set up so much for the next season. Wait, sorry, seAson.

Some highlights & random thoughts…

  • Starting, obvs, with the girls’ hair. Aria’s hair chop … I am not feeling it, have to say. Hanna’s chop on the other hand feels edgier and fun and seems to fit with New Hanna. Did any of y’all notice the blonde patch at the back of Emily’s head in the scene with Toby? (At the new location! Watch out, Apple Rose Grille. There’s a new hangout in town.)
  • Mona: creeeeeepy. I really loved the Hanna/Mona scenes, and how desperate Hanna was to have her friend back and to understand what the hell went wrong. Did you notice the red flower on Mona’s table? Who gave her that, I wonder…? And Alison/Vivian in the red coat? Shivers.
  • So much romancey goodness, all with a nice dose of humor. The Spencer/Toby moment was my fave.
  • These girls lie a lot.
  • Love that the moms are still teaming up and taking care of their girls. And I must say, I think Ella and Byron are making the right decision splitting up!
  • Hanna’s bikini. What.
  • Emily broke my heart in this episode. RIP Maya.
  • Spencer’s fastidious recreation of A’s lair? Amazing. She is a born detective.
  • The final reveal of their car completely littered with photos of them at Alison’s grave? So scary. #bitchcrazy
  • So, who did dig up Ali’s grave? What did they do with the body, and why?

Can’t wait til next week’s sure-to-be awesomeness. And on a side note, thanks to everyone who entered the Rosewood Confidential twitter contest yesterday! The book is out early, and shipping already! Hurrah!

If you happen to read the book, and want to review it on Goodreads or Amazon or your site or tumblr or wherever your heart desires, that would be amazing and we’d love to hear your feedback on it!

Until next Tuesday!


Announcing a Pretty Little Liars Companion Book: Rosewood Confidential

Coming June 2012

I’m pleased as punch to announce Rosewood Confidential: The Unofficial Companion to Pretty Little Liars that Jen Knoch and I are writing under the alias Liv Spencer (see our past co-creations here). For those of you familiar with my episode guides for Gossip Girl and/or The Vampire Diaries, you know what to expect: an episode by episode guide to the first two seasons of the show along with cast bios, details on the making of the show, literary and cultural references, and a comparison to Sara Shepard’s original book series. And the bonus: it’s a full color extravaganza with tons of photos of the ridiculously good-looking cast!

For all the juicy details on the breakout hit TV show that has people talking, tweeting, and tuning in week after week, look no further than Rosewood Confidential, the first companion book to the dark deeds, ugly secrets, and flashy fashion of Pretty Little Liars. Rosewood Confidential features an episode guide to the first two seasons of ABC Family’s hit show, bios of the stars, and the story of how a New York Times bestselling book series by Sara Shepard became a pop culture phenomenon. It’s as thrilling as a text message from a dead girl…

It comes out June 15 but it’s available for preorder now at all the usual places like, and/or you could add it to your Goodreads! (Yes, we added it to our reading-it shelves even though we’re still writing it.) We’ll be doing contest giveaways in the spring and doling out review copies to PLL fan sites so be sure to check back here or drop me an email (crissycalhoun [at] gmail [dot] com) if you’re interested.

Hurrah! I hope you’re as excited as Jen and me (fused into one mind as Liv) — and only two more sleeps til Pretty Little Liars returns! Let’s celebrate by watching that MuchMusic promo again and again… (Byron’s reaction to Fitz kills me.)

A Random Selection of Hanna’s Excellent Lines from Pretty Little Liars

“One fake date does not a relationship make.” (to Caleb, “The Devil You Know”)

“Jenna can’t hear us. She’s blind.” (to girls, “Save the Date”)

“I need to ask you guys something, and be totally honest with me: Is one side of my face fatter than the other?” (to the girls, “Keep Your Friends Close”)

“So I was telling the patient in 212, I am not shaving that—” (to Emily as faux candy stripers)

“You’re the worst delivery guy in the history of pizza.” (to Caleb, “Picture This”)

is it January 2nd yet?

The Boys of Pretty Little Liars: A Guide for the Casual Viewer

When people tell me they can’t tell the difference between Stefan and Damon on The Vampire Diaries because they look the same (or Damon and Elijah), I roll my eyes, vigorously. Dangerously. But I must confess that I am TOTALLY baffled when it comes to Pretty Little Liars. I am THAT person.

Maybe because I often do work while watching so it only gets 55% of my attention (sorry, work! PLL is compelling stuff!) — but I have NO idea who some of the boys are. I finally have a grasp on who the eff Noel Kahn is. I remember his name, you guys! Since I’m enjoying season 2 a lot, and plan on devoted up 75%+ of my attention to it, I decided to get serious about PLL — here’s a dossier on the boys for the casual viewers out there, who are confused by all the white brown-haired boys who are charming but also menacing. Now we’ll always now what Hermy’s real name is!

Ezra Fitz: No explanation necessary. The hot English teacher. In love with Aria. New job means they can mack in the school parking lot. Has conversations with his shirt off to make it difficult for Aria to break up with him. Sometimes has bad hair, but mostly a beacon of TV handsomeness. I am pro this relationship, despite it being a little creepy if you think too hard about it. Like, how old is Mr. Fitz?

Noel Kahn: a.k.a. Bad News. a.k.a. Creepy Creeper. This is the dude who was into Aria but then she rebuffed him and he got all jealous and stalkery — he’s the dude who knows about Aria and Mr. Fitz’s relationship. But then he got suspended for some reason (?) but then he came back and was all, Miss me, bitches?? Recently seen on a date with Mona (who I am loving this season — it’s like she’s finally a real person, instead of just that stock character). I would like to see this character get his comeuppance.

Toby Cavanagh: We all know who Toby is, right PLLers? He is the poor sod who was fooling around with his stepsister Jenna, who everyone in town thinks is a creepy killer when actually he’s TOTALLY not. He and Emily were pals first, but then he and Spencer began hanging out — and there is total sparkage between these two. I am pro this pairing. Toby’s plans to get his GED and get the eff out of Rosewood has hit a bit of an impasse since the citizens of Rosewood are prejudiced against accused teen murderers. I personally think that Spencer and Co should let Toby in on everything that’s going on with A to have another ally. Or wait — does he already know? I don’t know!

Ian Thomas: Agree, — Ian seriously creeps me out too. But maybe he’s dead??? Ian is the creeper who kissed Spencer (seen in a flashback) despite dating her older sister. When he returned in present day times, he was extra creepy. He works at the high school, married Spencer’s sister Melissa (who is also a way more awesome character this season than last), and knocked her up. More importantly, he was fooling around with Alison and was in the video of her final moments — is he Ally’s killer? In the season finale it seemed like he was; at the very least he tried to kill Spencer. But then “A” (or someone) “killed” him. Where did his body go? Is he alive and camping in the outskirts of Rosewood, texting his baby mamma? Who knows!!

Jason DiLaurentis: So for extra confusion, there is a flipping different actor playing this part in season 2. Actually, it’s not that confusing because for the life of me I cannot picture the other guy who was Jason. They could switch the actors up each week, and as long as my four PLL girls were the same, I wouldn’t notice. OK — Jason. Floppy hair. Tight T-shirts. Kinda grumpy. Not into baked goods. He is Alison’s older brother, a stoner in his youth, former associate of (evil) Ian. Came back to Rosewood to bother the cops about his sister’s case, meddled with memorial planning, and then effed off. Is that right? Now he’s back living in the DiLaurentis house (I guess Maya’s entire family moved out after they found out she smoked pot? Or was a lesbian? I don’t remember why Maya was sent away). Jason’s also doing something menacing with the front yard and maybe hiding someone/thing inside the house (since he wants to build a fence). The gloved wonder that may be “A” was creeping around his garden and petting that cute dog in the most threatening I’m-going-to-snap-your-neck way (thank god this show is on ABC Family, and not the CW, or else we would have seen puppycide). Also, last episode, there was mention of “the Jason thing.” What the eff is that? I do not know.

Caleb Rivers: Oh, Caleb. Caleb was homeless and living in the high school. He is good with electronics. Hannah invited him to live in her basement — because Hannah is AWESOME — and then they fell in love. But secretly he was also spying on Han for Jenna. I don’t really remember why. But he was. BETRAYAL. Hannah dumped his ass, and then there was the deal with the missing love letter. But then Caleb was back, all sorry + I love you, and Hannah stood her ground. There’s the door, Caleb! I like you a lot but you gotta prove your mettle, mister. Has a pseudo friendship with Lucas…

Lucas Gottesman: I love Lucas. Alison was a bitch to him, but last season Hannah realized he was awesome. He helped her with eBay stuff, and yearbook stuff, and generally being a cool stand-up guy (stuff). But as you can see from that there picture: he is in LOVE with her. That caused some late season problemos, because Hannah was all in love with Caleb and “A” made her dance with Lucas at that dance-a-thon and the poor guy felt manipulated. Heartbreak. Will he be around this season? Who knows!

Officer Garrett: One of the many shady cops in Rosewood. He and Jenna are an item, and he pretends to befriend the PLLs. Who knows what this guy’s deal is, but he saw Aria leaving Fitz’s apartment, right? Trouble.


The First Season Love Interests, Now Forgotten: There was (1) Sean Ackard, Hannah’s BF who didn’t want to sleep with her, (2) Alex Santiago, briefly Spencer’s love interest, he worked at the club and liked to dance in the kitchen, (3) Ben Coogan, that dick of a BF that Emily had, who physically assaulted her — good riddance, Ben!, and (4) let’s not forget Darren the Cop, who Hannah’s mom slept with so her daughter wouldn’t get charged with shoplifting (?).

The Dads: (1) Peter Hastings, barely around, but he’s kind of a crap dad too; competitive, boring, leaves most of the parenting to Spencer’s mom, who’s totally Mariska Hargitay’s doppelganger, (2) Wayne Fields, Emily’s military pop who’s never around except when she’s coming out; he wants to bring the fam out to Texas where he’s stationed (bad idea, Dad!), (3) Byron Montgomery, Aria’s dad, cheated on her mom, trying to make things work, used to be married to Hilary Swank, (4) Tom Marin, deadbeat dad who left Hannah and her mom and only returns when Han’s in trouble; he’s back in Rosewood! (There’s also Mike, Aria’s little bro.)

Hope I didn’t leave anybody out… I’m sure by next episode there will be 15 more dudes to add to this list. But until Tuesday, I’m so in on Rosewood’s secrets, you can call me “A.” (Bitches.)

I am pretty good at having a cold

Two disclaimers to begin: one, I am blogging from my iPhone and typing on this marvel of modern technology is not my number one life skill; two, I have a cold so my powers of making sense, spelling accurately, etc, are weak. Read on with red pencils in hand.

I blog from my phone during work hours because I gave up and came home to loll about in my bed with a mug of broth. I am not so sick as to be totally brain dead and unable to read, so besides the general discomfort, the coughing, and the nagging stress of not doing what I planned to be doing today I am kind of good at being sick. I like staying in my bed. Napping. Tea drinking. Soup. Reading (currently The Sweetness at he Bottom of the Pie, which is just so charming). Tv marathons. So wish me a swift recovery but don’t waste even the briefest glimmer of pity on me should I ever have a cold cough etc.


Tonight Pretty Little Liars returns to our tv sets and I am Nasser. Oh iPhone, I said jazzed not Nasser. What does that mean? PLL is not without its flaws by any stretch of anyone’s imagination but it is entertaining and it looks good and I have great affection for three of the four liars. Also the Aria/Fitz romance is my fave student/teacher tv romance … Of all time? Maybe.

Also, bust out your Buffy DVDs! Tomorrow marks the beginning of Nikki stafford’s Buffy rewatch. She’s invited an impressive group of writers, and me, to blog each week on a group of episodes. My posts are months away but the festivities kick off tomorrow with Nikki’s thoughts on the first three eps. ( I wonder if that will hyperlink itself) (that sounds smutty)

That’s all the news hats fit to print for now! I am working on the cover design for Love You to Death season 2 (and by that I mean the designer is working on it and I am screeching make my name bigger!! Hahaha jk); hopefully will debut it to you TVD enthusiasts in a few weeks.

Oh also: eyecon! That deserves its own post. Good times she will write, to paraphrase phil from modern family and totally kill his joke.

Nap time


What I Love about Pretty Little Liars

(The show, not small people who chronically fib but are also lovely to look at. though i am sure they have their loveable traits too.)

  1. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Who’s A? Is it Jenna? Is Alison still alive? Is she a ghost sending menacing texts from the Other Side? I do not know! It also always feels like a surprise in when one of the girls’ secrets is revealed. Aria’s mom getting that letter about her husband’s infidelity a few eps back — did not see that coming up around the corner. If you’re read the book series: is it similarly plotted? Like, do you know what’s going to happen before it does? I wonder if it’s as loose an adaptation as The Vampire Diaries or Gossip Girl.
  2. Hanna’s hideous kitty-cat dental office outfit. LOVE it. The first time it made its onscreen appearance, I just could not believe how exactly perfect it was. So glad that she has to wear it every time she goes to work. Hilarious.
  3. Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings. (I just had to Wikipedia her name. Crazy name. Very cool.) I knew going into the show that I adored Lucy Hale, our dear Privileged alum, but I did not expect to find the uptight, competitive, rich smart girl character as sympathetic a character as Ms. Bellisario makes her. I think she’s great — and Troian has such a distinctive look. She looked like an old-fashioned movie star in last week’s Homecoming episode. She’s how I picture Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby.
  4. The New Geeky Photo Guy. Despite the fact that last week’s episode was jam-packed and ended with a giant cliffhanger — would they kill off Emily?? — the stand out for me was the new guy that Hanna meets at Celibacy Club. The guy who shows up to the dance to take photos for the yearbook wearing his grandpa’s bow tie. The guy who agrees to drive Hanna to the dental office because his only other evening plan was to watch the new episode of Hoarders with his mom. (LOVED that line.) Please, please PLL writers, keep the nerdy love interest for Hanna around. He can be the Seth to her Summer (…right, @ErinCC?)
  5.  It Won’t Be That Easy, Bitches! Generally speaking, the word “bitch” bothers the heck out of me. Somehow, this show makes it SO entertaining and perfect.
  6. How good the show looks. Think about how complicated that school dance set was in the Homecoming episode. I love when series take the time and make the effort to create a cool, fully realized, amazing-to-look-at world for us — it’s a big part of what makes Gossip Girl work so well. The director of “There’s No Place Like Homecoming,” Norman Buckley, (who also directs for Gossip Girl) posted on his blog about some of his inspirations for Pretty Little Liars. As you can glean from that post, while some people may view these shows as simple little confections of teen tv, there’s a lot of artistic vision that goes into making a show like this work.

New episode tomorrow night, bitches!

Pretty Little Liars: The Jenna Thing

It’s official: I’m a fan of Pretty Little Liars. Just watched the second episode (online at MuchMusic — really HQ video and only one ad during the whole thing) and I wish I didn’t have to wait three days for the next ep.

A few of my favorite things about “The Jenna Thing”:

  • In the grand tradition of The Vampire Diaries, we didn’t have to wait FOREVER to find out what the Jenna Thing is or for Spencer to get caught with her sister’s fiance.
  • The scene of Aria walking in the rain and Mr. Fitz pulling up was such an homage to The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”: young teacher with the warm and dry car picking up the soaked student. I know I shouldn’t be cheering on the teacher-student action but I love those two together.
  • Love the flashbacks to when Alison was around. So season 1 Veronica Mars.
  • Lucy Hale is hands-down my favorite so far but the rest of the girls are compelling too. Really like Ashley Benson as Hanna, too.
  • Cliffhanger! So is Jenna behind all the “A” texts? How does she know all their secrets? Is she actually blind?

On Tuesday, we meet Aria’s dad’s former (…hopefully former…) mistress and she’s played by Amanda Schull aka Jody Sawyer in Center Stage. Win!

Anyone else watching, and loving, Pretty Little Liars?

Got a Secret, Can You Keep It: Pretty Little Liars

The LA Times review of Pretty Little Liars called it “Gossip Girl goes Twin Peaks Lite” and after watching the pilot last night, I would have to agree with that headline. I really like both of those shows and — no surprise — liked the PLL pilot too.

I haven’t read the book series it’s based on so I had no idea beyond the basics going in — four teenage girls with a missing friend, presumed dead; secrets, lies, spookiness. I certainly didn’t expect the content to be as mature as it was. I’ll avoid spoilers in case you haven’t watched it yet but these girls’ secrets definitely qualify as gossip bombs.

I loved Lucy Hale on Privileged and she’s just as watchable on this show (though her character is totally different). I was also happy to see Laura Leighton on TV but not on a show called “Melrose Place”; she’s the blonde one’s mom. (Haven’t yet got the names down. Lucy is Aria. That much I know.) The Vampire Diaries‘ Emily Bennett / BtVS‘s Kendra as Maya was another happily familiar face.

Maybe it was the same experience for other avid Vampire Diaries fans, but I found the music cues to be sooooo Mystic Fallsian. Not a big surprise because it’s the same music supervisor, Chris Mollere, working on both shows. And in case you couldn’t place where you’d heard that title song on TV before: the Pierces’ “Secret” was in the season 1 cotillion episode of Gossip Girl (with the band performing in the ep). The lyrics work absolutely perfectly for Pretty Little Liars. It’s as if it were written for the show.

Did you watch? I think I’ll be sticking with it . . . despite my vow to spend less time watching tv and more time in the summery outdoors.

Canadians, watch it here on Much. Americans, watch it here on ABC Family.