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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

This article discusses a controversial relationship from the popular TV series on Freeform: Pretty Little Liars. This show is one I would consider to be a guilty pleasure! Although I have found errors in the writers’ judgment and morals, I’m able to separate that opinion from my love for the series. SPOILER! This review does contain certain details about the show, beware if you haven’t seen PLL and you wish to!

just 16 YEARS OLD

Aria Montgomery met Ezra Fitz when she was just sixteen years old. In order to set the scene, you normally get your license when you turn sixteen, and you’re also typically a sophomore in high school. At this time in a young girl’s life, her body may very much replicate an adult female body. However, this does not make them a grown adult mentally, emotionally, or even physically. Ezra would soon become Aria’s new twenty-three-year-old high school English teacher.

Their first encounter can be seen in the pilot episode of Pretty Little Liars, where Aria lies about her age. After claiming to be in college, the scene ends with the two kissing in the bathroom of the bar that they had met at. While at a young age this relationship may seem admirable or sweet or cute, I believe there’s a more tragic topic to discuss. I think we should question the morality behind this relationship, and if the writers and producers considered the audience when putting the popular series together.

I’ve seen enough

Not only are the scenes of the two together glorifying child predators, Aria and Ezra seem toconsistently have the most intimacy scenesout of the five main couples. This is excluding the scenes involving the parents of the teenage girls. In fact, when Aria’s parents find out about this secret relationship, they are ashamed and disgusted, but unsure on what actions to take. Of course, they forbid Aria from seeing Ezra, but this does not last long.

No, Ezra is never held accountable.

No, the police are never involved.

Yes, Aria and Ezra end up getting married in the end.

This is even after Ezra;

  • hides an engagement,
  • a secret book about the disappearance of her best friend,
  • a secret kid (that ends up not actually being his kid)

and so much more! I think it’s important to note the lack of her parent’s awareness, and the fact that Aria was so young and vulnerable makes her the victim in this situation. 

the theme and solutions

Throughout PLL, there appears to be a theme of older men starting up relationships with the five main teenage girls. Off the top of my head, I can think of four. After rewatching the seven-season series countless times, I can think of two alternative solutions to this major conflict.

The first idea that comes to mind is to make the girls in college! Boom. Easy fix. The age gap would be fixed immensely for starters. This is not a claim that all girls’ maturity happens the same or at a certain age, but at least the girls would be considered of age. As Aria navigates this relationship with Ezra, she quickly realizes how she’s missed out on her high school experience. She’s missed out on football games or double dates because she’s had to hunker down in Ezra’s apartment. This is a great representation of how this type of relationship can make one feel isolated, and even possibly be pulled away from their peers. This secret eventually became public knowledge, as Ezra would find a different job and the two would claim to be seeing each other “casually.”

The second solution is just to eliminate this theme entirely. However, I could argue that making men younger is also a quick fix. 

overall takeaways

It is hard for me to believe that the writers of the show considered young teenage girls picking up on this seemingly normalized relationship. If they did, they would have selected other solutions over the one that was weaved into the entirety of the series. Throughout the Reddit page I participate in, countless women write that, now watching the show in their twenties or thirties, they realize how toxic this fantasy of inappropriate relationships is. Like myself, they confess how dangerous this influence could be for the intended audience. They admit to not holding this same opinion when viewing the series as a young girl. It’s always important to consider your audience, as glorifying child predators to vulnerable teenagers is not morally safe or accurate. 

For my fellow PLL fans out there, I think we can agree that the series has its fair share of flaws, but we can appreciate the humor and relatable topics placed throughout the show.

If this review resonates with you, I would love to know your favorite Liar!

Lastly, look out for one another! The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. It’s important to remember there are people put in place to help guide you through these hard times.

You are never alone.

Domestic Violence Support | National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org)

Lenox McConaughey

Bowling Green '25

My name is Lenox McConaughey, and I am currently a junior at Bowling Green State University, majoring in Graphic Design! I started off my education journey at The University of Akron my freshman year, but soon realized I was missing something in my college experience. Since I've transferred to BGSU, I have felt safe, secure, and welcomed! This year, I'm manifesting growing my connections and relationships. I was originally a Marketing major, however, I am still planning to minor in Business. In my free time, I enjoy journaling and drawing. I have recently become interested in meditating and I love anything involved with nature. I find it important to be in nature, even if it's going outside to feel the grass inbetween your toes. I spent this summer working two jobs! One of them consisted of an internship opportunity, while another was a job that I've held for over five years now. The internship allowed me to get a feel of the office environment, and I was also given the chance to design a few projects for them. This consisted of designing volunteer flyers, invitations and even a new employee handbook. Throughout these experiences, I have learned that I am a people person! I enjoy connecting with others as well as offering my help wherever I can.