'Pretty Little Liars' and 'Twisted' Show How Screwed Up We Really Are

On Tuesday night, many teenagers nationwide unwind, relax, and slouch on their couches — while watching bone-chilling dramas on ABC Family that involve the murder mysteries of questionable teenage deaths. Initially, only one hour was spent in high anticipation of “A”’s next target, but now the young demographic has another suspect to watch out for – Danny Desai.

After viewing the realistic mature cases presented by the twenty years of Law and Order seasons it is natural that the American people want a different type of murder mystery. The new fad — provided by hit show Pretty Little Liars and new ABC Family original Twisted (starring Avan Jogia) — involves confused high school students with overbearing family problems and one “little” secret: either a dead friend sending threatening text messages or a potential jail sentencing for murdering a classmate in cold blood.

Let's take a look at the logistics of these shows via the classic game — Good Cop, Bad Cop.

BAD COP

Although these shows are tempting to watch, should we compromise some blatantly obvious fallacies to fulfill our pleasure? Danny Desai and the Pretty Little Liars are portrayed as independent and, ironically, rather dim-witted. If they were willing to receive help from a higher body like the Court instead of warily waiting for “A” to strike them, then the show would not have spanned four or more seasons. If Danny Desai was willing to prove himself innocent in court, then the show would be an instant flop.

Yet while these situations are plausible, the circumstantial evidence that if given as viable proof in court would be almost immediately rejected. The show’s potentially dangerous plot line is completely underscored by the numerous false allegations that provide no sort of proof. Both Twisted and Pretty Little Liars guaranteed have this disdainful lack of evidence.They claim that horrible things would happen if they tried to tell someone, so naturally, being the ever overly dramatic and tenacious high teenagers, they decide to take the role of detective — only they have had no education in the field of forensics and investigation.

Let’s look at both stories from a larger spectrum — must there always be a teenage death to jump-start a show? As if television has not already been pegged as the advent of violence, these shows just promote that general stereotype.

GOOD COP

After a tiring day at school or work, it is natural that people want to escape their rushed and wearisome lives and plunge into the blood curdling drama of teenagers who are faced with an ominous death. Yes, I say that with sarcasm but I also appreciate the show. The numerous love triangles, the spooky aura of Toby, the dangerously dark yet beautiful lead cast — these emotions provoke an almost fantasy-like appeal similar to Harry Potter or Twilight.

Twisted, unlike PLL, trends more on the realistic forefront. Danny Desai, a juvenile delinquent, is attacked for murdering yet another person the moment he is released. Although Twisted also takes us on a whirlwind of lies and deceit, the situations are more plausible. Could the shows' realistic presence be the reason for its relatively lower viewership? As per the viewership results on June 12, Pretty Little Liars ranked number one with 2.972 million viewers while Twisted came in twelfth with 1.605 million viewers. Although this may be the case, Twisted was the second ranked show from ABC Family.

The addictive plot lines of these shows are only so because of the heart-wrenching qualities that the actors realistically portray: love, friendship, and trust. It is these qualities that we desire to hold, and so these dramas challenge them. It is this quality that makes these shows worth the weeks wait.


So beware of Tuesday night — or rather “Questionable Teenage Death Night.”