Pretty Little Liars -- How Caving To Twitter Fans Ruined This Show Long Before It Ended
I stopped watching the show after Cece/Charles was revealed to be A. There were so many times I almost quit, but hung in there wanting to see how things ended for these girls, but when they did the time jump and the A thing was starting up again, enough was enough. Even when A is supposed to end, it never really ends.
The whole thing with Cece being transgender just seemed like a salacious attempt by Marlene King to profit off the media frenzy about Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn, since I doubt she even had a clue how to wrap-up the latest A story. It was, unfortunately, just the sort of thing this woman would pull, based on her previous altering of storylines to cater to fans on Twitter, so they wouldn't quit watching and the ratings wouldn't drop. She seemed to be willing to sacrifice the story for whatever she thought would get better ratings. And in her mind making Cece transgender probably made it seem like cut from the headlines.
The first two seasons of this show were great, but even then there were problems. Like the timeline of how Toby could be out of reform school when he should have been serving time for the Jenna Thing and then there was Toby's sweater. So even when the show was on top of it's game, it still had problems. But it was the season three finale when the show really started to go off the tracks.
So let's take a trip back to how differently the show might have ended if...
They'd Kept Toby as A -- It made sense Toby being A. What hadn't made sense was Toby supposedly grateful to Ali for lying and having him be blamed for blinding Jenna and being sent to reform school. But some Spoby shippers got on Twitter and whined to Marlene King about how unhappy their favorite couple was ruined and how they JUST KNEW he wasn't really A and was doing this all to protect Spencer and King changed it to exactly that. Of course, it didn't make sense. Why was Toby trying to run down Lucas with his truck? What about the body in the woods with Toby's tattoo on it? If he was really trying to protect Spencer why wouldn't he find a way to let her know he wasn't dead. He didn't even seek her out, she found him. Spencer believed Toby tried to scald her alive in a shower but after a little sex all was forgiven and forgotten. It was a very low moment for the Spencer Hastings character.
After that the great Spoby pairing was ruined, but King had this toxic duo end up together in the end. Mustn't upset the shippers.
King is like Donald Trump. Both need to stay off Twitter. If what some Twitter followers whine about something cause you to change a story that works for one that doesn't, you need to stay off of Twitter and put the show first.
If they hadn't killed off Garrett and Wilden and had killed off Mona, Toby and Ezra -- Garrett and Wilden added a lot to the show with their creepy shadiness that was never recaptured with the new characters they brought on. In Garrett's case in particular there was a lot of unanswered questions about his part in this mess. Like why did he go along with Ali and make Jenna think Ali had been killed? It hinted at some collusion between the two. Like so many other questions, this was never answered.
Mona almost died twice. The first time was when she was revealed as A and fell off a cliff while trying to kill Spencer. She ended up in Radley and seemed to reveal she wasn't the real A, but was only the girls A. I still don't believe she was Ali's A like so many others do. The second time the character seemed to have come full circle and was murdered while trying to help the girls and that would have been a great way to end this character. Only Twitter Mona fans whined they wanted Mona to be alive, and King accommodated them with a ridiculous story that Mona set the whole thing up and faked her death.
As for Ezra and Toby, making them Fake A's ruined their relationships and killing them off would have been the kindest thing, but that would upset the Twitter shippers, so these two pairings ended up together, even though those pairing became toxic. In Ezra and Aria's case, it already had an ick factor with him being her teacher, but when it came out he'd stalked her and got involved with her to write a book about Ali it just made the gross meter go tilt. The whole Ezra is A story was a giant waste of time. If King didn't have the balls to keep Toby as A when it made sense, then keeping Ezra as A when it didn't make sense was a no-brainer. Especially when Ezra and Aria were King's favorite pet rock.
Not Moving on From A -- A got old after the first revelation that Mona was A. By then viewers had taken the four main girls to heart and they could have created a new mystery and fans would have kept watching. But A became the new Michael Myers. Every time you thought A was dead or the mystery was solved a new A would rise-up in a new guise. Speaking for myself, personally, I stopped even caring who A was by the time I abandoned this ship.
They Limited the Amount of Red Herrings -- the red herring is a great trick when applied sparingly but everything on the show turned out to be a red herring that the show should have been called "Red Herrings". By the first ten or twenty times someone the liars suspected turned into a red herring, you pretty much didn't take the bait anymore and just waited for the latest suspect of the week to turn into a red herring, as well.
Turning Ali into Polly Pureheart -- I always thought Ali wasn't really dead, but when they brought her back I didn't think they'd turn her into Little Mary Sunshine. Ali was great as this evil malicious monster, but when they turned her into a vestal virgin she became boring and uninteresting. They basically ruined this character to give another set of shippers their happy ending to put the toxic Ali/Emily together as a couple.
When I heard the series finale was airing I was tempted to watch it, but I resisted temptation. Early on I saw this becoming another LOST and that's why I opted to just read the recap and how glad I am that I did that. While it ended not so badly as LOST did, it sounded like a convoluted mess that I'm glad I didn't subject myself to.
The sad thing is it didn't have to be like that. But when you sacrifice story to make your Twitter followers happy it damages the story of the show. My advice to future shows like LOST and Pretty Little Liars is while continuing to build the main mystery, solve the little side mysteries on the way and don't just let them hang there unresolved. Then viewers won't be saying but you never explained what the NAT Club was? Or how Toby's sweater got in his house when Ali was last seen wearing it? Or why Toby was trying to run down Lucas? Or why Garrett went along with Ali and made Jenna think Ali was dead? And that's just off the top of my head.
Rest in peace, Liars. You were a great show for several seasons. You just stayed on a few season too many.