You guys know me well enough to know there are two ways I assign worth to stories. Thing One: Is its entertainment value inversely proportional to its infuriation value? Thing Two: Does it add form to the chaos of life, helping us make sense of our own stories? In both these Things Pretty Little Liars excels. Thing One is self-explanatory; you only need to spend 30 seconds with a preview to know it’s true. But consider Thing Two.
My buddy saysay emailed one morning this week to tell me she was spending the day with her nose pressed to her office window, waiting to see some cars crash in the snowy intersection below. In the late afternoon she giddily emailed a photo: “It finally happened! The car only hit a sign but still… exciting stuff!” The ambulance came, and then the fire truck, and suddenly saysay was wondering if maybe this “accident” wasn’t so accidental.
Luckily, we’d both watched Pretty Little Liars the night before; thus we were able to make sense of the tragedy.
Is that not precisely what Francis Bacon had in mind when he said, “As regards plot I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots. And as I think plot desirable and almost necessary, I have this extra grudge against life.”
If only Sir Francis had known “A.”
Hanna is home from the hospital, wrasslin’ a sticker she’s been using to cover up A’s salutation on her cast. Spencer’s voice — hiiiiiii, Spencer’s voice — says they can get her another sticker, and she’s not apologizing for choosing one that says “Humpty Dumpty was pushed.” Not only does it add another literary reference to the ever-growing pile, the only other choice at the sticker shop was, “Jesus is coming; look busy.”
(Spencer does this thing when she’s making a joke: She smooshes up her lips and kind of talks out of the side of her mouth, and it drives me almost as mad as her voice. I keep checking IMDB like every five seconds to make sure Troian Bellisario is really 26, so I don’t turn into some kind of Gilbert Blythe over here.)