October 18th: Pretty Little Liars

The title is chillingly accurate.

I have never seen the show...

Pretty Little Liars

...but isn't part of the fun of this expedition exploring new things? People? Hello?

Our Wiki-guide tells us that this show had at least three Halloween-flavored eps, so let's get into at least one of these, eh? From what I gather, this is a show featuring anywhere from 3 to 12 girls of a vaguely television high school age (meaning 19-32), who may or may not have a bad attitude. That is all I can surmise from the title and whatever promotional photo was chosen as the "cover" of their television endeavor, and as I already love this genre anyway, I'll roll with it. Best case scenario, this is kind of like Jawbreaker, and worst case scenario, this is somehow too much like Jawbreaker. Is there such a thing? Let's find out.

Space: Rosewood, PA
Time: October 19th, 2011 (or is it October 31st, 2008??)
Episode: "The First Secret" Season 2, Episode 13

Behind the Scenes Of: Justin Zeppa's Time Traveling 31 Days Of Halloween Daze Days. Yes This Is Happening.

On this "Making Of" Blarg-featurette, we pull back the curtain for a glimpse at how the magic is made. For the first time, you too can follow along with our Time Traveling pilot as he calls-forth the Ghosts of Television Halloween Episodes Gone By. See the notes, the thought processes, the chains of logic unfurled while he attempts to make sense of this crazy world and the situations inspiring so much comedy, or, if you'd rather, mix so well with dramatic goings-on that it becomes a "dramedy."

What follows is a transcript of notes I made while watching my first-ever episode of Pretty Little Liars and try to make sense of what I'm seeing.

Alison - the blonde one Spencer - the Debate Team one (her agenda is "top-notch.") Wha? Melissa - the other brunette

I say "other" here because I was still trying to puzzle out the name of the other, so-called "first" brunette, who, at this point, I am thinking of as the one who kind of looks like Summer from The O.C.

Meredith - another (evil?) blonde

Clearly, I am overwhelmed by the amount of characters at play - sure, I'd anticipated more than one Pretty Little Liar, but 70? This one is hanging out with brunette #1's dad, by which I mean "making out with in a partially-concealed sedan."

Classic scary movie watch (possibly Channel's Horror Movie Marathon?)

At this point, I'm pretty sure (Pretty Little sure, I should say) this is Alison, the first blonde, but then...

Hannah - Another blonde?

We learn her name is Hannah, not Alison, clued into this as we are after Alison calls Hannah on the phone in this very scene. Unless we're dealing with a projected-schizophrenia situation. And I don't think we are.

Nice autumn trees! (14:00)

And they are! Especially for a show that was so clearly filmed on a California studio backlot that they even throw out a slightly-bastardized version of the Munsters' address, proclaiming their haunted house to be 313 Mockingbird. Lily and Grandpa will be so surprised! Next stop on our tour is the Cleaver house, recently rebuilt for the Desperate Housewives reunion special...

They are so mean to the nerdy girl - why!?

Obviously, I know very little about the nerdy girl's story, such as what her name is. Turns out it's Mona, who appears later as Catwoman, though I did not recognize it as her, meaning her costume was a total success. I have never gotten to the bottom of why they are so mean to her, other than it must be pretty easy (Pretty Little easy) to be so.

Alison gets a voodoo doll - nice

This happens, and Alison seems the most overtly awful, so... wonderful! Some comeuppance, finally! Probably! She quickly goes to her bedroom wall vent, as any of us would in this situation.

A hidden box of serial killer trophies - WTF?

I immediately assume this is explained elsewhere in the show, but keeping trophies does seem to fit with Alison's dismal unlikablity. Later, someone mentions a name I have yet to pin on any of the Liars:

Arya - who is Arya?

Later, the secret is revealed, and I am thrilled:

OH - it's the one whose name I don't know!

Yes, the pink-haired O.C.-looking one is this "Arya," or, as her name is correctly spelled, "Aria." She is not an heir to the North, but we do know that she loves lunching with spaghetti and water.

Later, someone says the following:

"You're asking me to lie for you?"

Yeah! You're one of the Pretty Little Liars! It's your thing!

And I am right - it totally is their thing, they should not act so surprised.

26:00 Trick-or-treat, '08-style:

Again, we are not too far removed from that episode of My Three Sons as far as the actual act of trick-or-treating, though it does appear the kids are allowed to go beyond their block, unlike poor Chip and Sudsy.

Dollface is outside - cray

And indeed it is "cray," and also one of the things running through this episode - a doll-masked creep lurking seemingly everywhere. Imagine if this is how political rivals dealt with each other all the time, and that this is not limited to simple class president elections, but state and federal elections as well. Dollmask PACs running around, creeping their opponents out.

Ali lays down the law with Arya for being a drag (-hard to take her seriously in this Jem wig)

At this point I wonder why Aria, or any of the other good-looking, petite liars hang out with Alison in the first place. She is so awful and serves as a lesson to all regarding how much power one should let another hold over them. And by "power" I mean "Synergy."

We then make it to the par-tay everyone has been so jazzed about all episode, where we find the decorations and accompanying band in full swing.

What band is this? Rockin' to Lambert Lanterns

Their Lambert Lantern budget must have been out of control, it's true, but certainly worth every string. Anyway, we get a drawn-out chain of manipulation as Alison and her Jem-wig confront the new girl in town, Jenna, and her Jem-wig, and at this point I realize, 'Oh, they're both dressed as this Lady Gaga I've heard so much about.'

Clearly, I am nothing if not tuned-in to the absurdity of the times.

Alison is then kidnapped from the party, and her team of Liars must rescue her from the haunted Munster-house, where the Dollface-person just throws her around for a bit while the others watch. Until, that is...

Smug Alison and her smug rocking chair, testing the temerity of her pretty little liars

Yep, it turns out it was alllll just a dream- um, I mean, it was alllll just a test to see if she could really trust them, which seems like maybe - possibly - overkill. But mystery abounds, and only the next episode can take us one step closer to figuring out why anybody trusts anybody in this town.

And the final indignation of this entire venture... turns out this was a flashback episode, and Alison's been probably dead this entire time back in the present-day timeline of the show. What!? That's not fair at all - it's almost as though they're not advocating us starting to watch this program a season-and-a-half in! Or are they just a Pretty Little Lying Story-Team? You decide!