It has to be said—Pretty Little Liars is not appropriate for its target audience. Not because of the murder plot. Not because of the clear disregard for academics. Not because of the, well, you know, lying. No, Pretty Little Liars sets up unrealistic expectations for teenage girls in a completely different way: The men are way too nice.
High school girls have to deal with some real shit. Journey back for a moment to when you dealt with hormonal teenage boys on the regular. It was an awful, trying time that we’re all lucky to escape without permanent damage. But the Liars deal with absolutely none of that. Their men our strong, loyal, and zit-free. They are unquestioning sources of support in the face of dangerous and unlikely situations. They are absurdly attractive. These girls either have the wisdom of Athena, which they are using to completely filter out horrible relationship choices, or the show’s writers are telling high schoolers to expect modern knights in shining armor to roll into chemistry class. This, like many of the things that the gang deals in, is a complete lie. But the victims this time are the viewers.
Watching Caleb charge hand in hand with Hanna into yet another shit storm sparked this realization. Haleb is an adorable couple, that’s undeniable. Hanna’s general cluelessness plays against Caleb’s rough-and-tumble demeanor in a fun, carefree way. But that’s all it should be, fun and carefree. Instead, Caleb is constantly embroiled in some sort of illegal activity in pursuit of his girlfriend’s tormentor. This time, it’s breaking into a storage unit registered to Hanna and almost tampering with a barrel that certainly has someone‘s body inside. When Hanna halfheartedly tries to distance herself from the ballsy bad boy, he pledges to go to jail before letting her go. After spending a half season in creepy Ravenswood (read: season in an unsuccessful spin-off series), he must be a glutton for punishment.
Then there’s Toby. He has successfully ridden the line between good boyfriend and okay-at-best cop for, as Lieutenant Tanner noted, all of “six seconds.” He’s flitted back and forth between his double life as Liar watchdog and public servant, but not for long. It’s clear Toby’s time either as a police officer or as Spencer’s main squeeze is going to need to come to an end. Tanner is finally realizing that the freshman officer’s involvement on Mona’s murder case is highly inappropriate, and she’s already begun to throw out ultimatums. While Toby was out of the storage unit, Tanner peeked into the mysterious barrel and found a tiny drop of blood. After, she laid into Toby, promising that if the remains were Mona’s his “friends” would be the first ones that she tapped for questioning. But even Tanner’s death glare is no match for Spencer’s screeching, which, of course, Toby got an earful of, demanding, as always, that he put his career at risk to help the Liars out of their ever-thickening web. He at least seems to be wising up and keeping his distance from the group, which any Rosewood resident with half a brain would do.
Also, seriously, how has it taken this long to really address that it is completely inappropriate for Toby to work on this case? Can’t they move him to traffic violations or something? Is Rosewood that short of cops? And where are the media in all of this borderline corruption?
NEXT: More Liars in love dilemmas