January 03, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Image Credit: Andrew Eccles/ABC FamilyI’m not sure why I’m still watching Pretty Little Liars.

Guilty pleasures are one thing. The term describes hypnotizingly awful television that makes a mild feeling of self-disgust manifest into intense, gut-churning guilt. But that’s not what I’d use to describe Pretty Little Liars, which returns tonight on ABC Family at 7:58 p.m. ET. Because I’m not guilty about watching it, just baffled

The show falls in this strange teen programming purgatory. It’s serious, mysterious, sometimes-creepy, and has a sex factor that is subtle yet still interesting enough — it would probably fall smack in the middle on a scandal scale of 7th Heaven to Gossip Girl. It’s been a while since those traits have been tossed into the TV blender to make a teen show, and I’m not entirely sure the combination is natural to watch. It’s certainly different.

That said, I can’t stop watching. 

Also a hurdle: Most of the major mysteries are available for spoiling online. (I’ve never read the books, but have been Wiki-spoiled on the major plot points.) So if the series does indeed follow the book sequence of events, I’m not sure why I’m still tuning in. Knowing the answers should have brought me peace and let me move on, but they haven’t. I continue to watch despite being somewhere in between disinterested and totally hypnotized. I’ll probably watch another half season, telling myself insincerely that it will be the last episode I’ll watch.

Does someone have an explanation here? Have we been brainwashed? Brainwashed by the adorable dresses and full makeup the girls insist on wearing everywhere — even to the SATs? (No one wore pjs!) Brainwashed by Ezra? (Hey, he’s not my teacher.) And brainwashed the adorable awkwardness that is Lucas?

Tell me, PopWatchers, what about PLL will make you tune in for part 2 of this season?

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