The end is in sight for fans of Freeform’s hit show Pretty Little Liars. Tonight, the series is resuming with the second half of its seventh and final season. The series, based on the eponymous book series by author Sara Shepard, debuted seven years ago, back when its network home was still called ABC Family. In a turn of events that almost never happens with book-to-TV series, the show performed so well that Shepard wrote more books. But even after Shepard put her pen down in 2013, the show has kept on pushing, sometimes to the dismay of fans like me.
One Refinery29 writer recently suggested that Girls spawned the art of hate-watching a show. I am here to demystify that once and for all. From the very first episode, when I questioned why they didn’t just go to the police and let ruble from “the Jenna thing” fall where it may, Pretty Little Liars has been my most fulfilling source of frustration. When PLL goes on spring breaks and winter hiatuses, I am relieved that I don’t have to dedicate an hour out of my week to rolling my eyes and saying, “That was stupid” every three minutes. Seven seasons in, I’ve lost the will to keep up with the crazy A theories. I think arguing over Spaleb vs. Spoby (the answer is so obviously Spoby) is stupid. I don’t care that Aria is engaged. I just want the person who has been terrorizing them for all of high school to stop.
Pretty Little Liars' showrunners know how important it is for viewers to feel like a dog with a bone in order to keep our interest. They torment us, however, by leaving us in a constant state of doubt about whether or not it’s the right bone. We've seen some A plots through to the very end, only to have executive producer I. Marlene King say, “Just kidding! A is actually someone else.” It’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.
Pretty Little Liars isn’t a horrible show. But somewhere between Red Coat and the Ravenswood spin-off, it turned into the psycho stalker television version of a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Sure we’re getting something from the effort — in this case, it’s weekly doses of suspense and thrills that don’t amount to anything — but most of it is just fluff at this point. It’s time for Pretty Little Liars to put us out of our misery once and for all. It’s an act of mercy that we all deserve.