“Pretty Little Liars” crash course (and spoilers)

Caution! Cuidado! Attenzione! Pretty Little Liars spoilers below.

If you are only just now getting into Pretty Little Liars or are only watching for the lesbian parts — which, shame on you, as this show is a gift! — there are some things you need to know.

First, PLL introductions.

Hanna Marin. Hanna is like if Regina George got reformed but also stayed hot, and when her mom is not bonking the Rosewood Police Department to cover for Hanna’s petty theft, she is knocking over banks and carrying fistfuls of cash down the middle of the crowded street. Hanna had a boyfriend named Ken Doll who was equipped with all the Ken Doll Parts (which is to say: no parts), and so she got herself a crush on Lucas the Yearbook Serf. Hanna is what you might call “straight but not narrow.” We like Hanna.

Aria Montgomery is kind of hobbit-height, but she’s got BFG-sized eyes in my favorite color brown, and if she looked into your eyes with her eyes and said, “I want the last cookie” or “I am your student but you can maintain your high moral standards while snogging my face off” you’d give her what she wants. Just ask Mr. Fitz, the modern doppelganger of Mr. Gilbert Blythe. Aria’s dad had an affair with Jody Swayer from Center Stage, but then Aria was like, “I’m the best godd–m dancer in the American Ballet Academy; who the hell are you? Nobody!” And so that ended that little shenanigan.

Spencer Hastings makes you wonder what Hermione Granger would have been like if she liked books and sex in equal measure. Only, Spencer is more interested in working out her daddy issues on her older sister’s boyfriends than the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. Her voice will positively drive you to distraction, in a really excellent way — even though she and Aria solve crimes out loud as wrongly and as often as Scooby and Shaggy.

Emily Fields is a swimmer who likes Beyonce a little too much if you know what I mean and you think I do. One time she got her swerve on with Alison. And then she got her swerve on with Ben, who was also a swimmer and possibly a werewolf. And then she got her half-swerve on with Toby — heretofore known as Boo Radley van Cullen — who took the fall for Emily & Co. when they bombed his step-sister’s garage. Boo’s step-sister didn’t die, though; she came back as a blind Cylon named JennaBot. (Try to keep up.)

Then Emily got her mega-swerve on with Maya. She came out to her friends as a raging homosexual, but not to her parents. Except her mom totally knows she’s been sitting in trees and K-I-S-S-I-N-G girls because “A”‘s Risen Mitten mailed some photos of such a thing happening at a party. Emily’s dad just came home from Afghanistan. He’s an Army guy with some pretty strict feelings.

Second, club rules. The criteria for being a PLL are as follows: 1) Got a secret? 2) Can you keep it? 3) Swear this one you’ll save? 4) Lock that wocket in your pocket. 5) Take that one to the grave.

Third, backstory. Last year the PLLs were all inexplicable BFFs with Alison DiLaurentis who can best be described as just the worst GD thing. Honestly. She bullied them and belittled them and hoarded their personal business like a Gollum. And then one night while the PLLs were asleep in Spencer’s barn, dreaming sweet roofie dreams with out care, Alison was axe-murdered. No one knows how or why and even JennaBot (who I can’t wait for you to meet, if you don’t know her already) won’t sack up and say, “Bitch got what was coming to her.” Anyway, someone named “A” is after all the PLLs now. At first she was just taunting them with text messages and occasional hijinks like breaking and entering. (And sometimes her Risen Mitten got up to mischief of its own accord.) But now “A” has taken to running people down with automobiles.

And so here we are.

Tonight, Pretty Little Liars returns to ABC Family and — whoo boy! — is it a humdinger of a good time. Here are a couple of spoilers from my ears to your eyes:

  • PLL boss Marlene King told me Emily’s sexuality will “come full circle” in a way it didn’t in the books, and that we wouldn’t want to miss the first three episodes back, starting tonight.
  • Maya is only in tonight’s episode on the other end of a phone call, but Emily is awesome enough for both of them.
  • Emily made me gasp out loud when I watched this episode. Gasp! I said. I was not expecting her to do the Gryffindor thing she did.
  • Hanna is alive.
  • Gilbert Blythe and Aria fall prey to the Risen Mitten. Again.
  • Alison Lily Kanes it up better than ever.
  • Spencer’s voice is the same. It’s the same! It didn’t stop being the sexiest thing you’ve ever heard!

Do not forget: Our Twitter hashtag is #BooRadleyVanCullen. I’ll be there at 8:00 EST. Will you?

More you may like