For the past six years, ABC Family has aired a show that seems to stand out more than the rest. The show is called Pretty Little Liars. It is based off of a young adult novel series (Pretty Little Liars). It is centered on four junior high school girls (Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields). The whole series is basically the four girls being black mailed and secrets they’ve kept buried deep are threatened to be revealed by an unknown person who goes by a code name (Alias A). The show is well known for pushing the limits very highly when it comes to family oriented material. There have been several, jaw dropping sex scenes that are over the top, and even go as far as to create student/teacher relationships, and even have very revealing, high powered sex scenes featuring a teacher and student.
To be honest, I had heard about the show from a few people who have watched it, and usually it was negative feedback. I don’t watch it, nor do I want to. However, just a few days ago the show was brought to my attention. I wasn’t too keen on exploring the topic a first, but a certain character (Emily Fields) was genuinely brought to my attention. In the show, Emily Fields is a lesbian. In fact, Emily Fields is honestly what drew a lot of people to watch the show. Fans of the novel series loved the fact they were at first acknowledging all of the characters and keeping them as they are in the books. Unfortunately, the small part of the show that was good, showing diverse characters from different walks of life was to be short lived. The show was soon to take dark turns none of the fans of the show expected, especially those who were major fans of Emily Fields.
After studying up on the different relationships between the girls according to the novels, Emily Field’s relationship actually proved to be the least dangerous and most healthy pairing out of all of them. The first relationship is right on key to the book. Emily is paired with Maya, and they have a very loving relationship, and each character is given equal romance. In the show, that quickly changes when suddenly Maya dies, and after that Emily is left with a lot of heart ache and a series of loveless relationships. The relationships Emily had rapidly began to become less attractive, unfeeling, and less important than anyone else’s relationship on the show, even a relationship between an 18 year old and a policeman that actress Sasha Pieter’s said was a “healthy relationship,” which in fact it wasn’t. Even the student/teacher relationship between Aria Montgomery and a teacher named Ezra was given more highlights than Emily. Emily’s romance scenes were cut short, or it was so difficult to tell whether it was Emily and her lover through the pore lighting in the room. Aria and the teacher’s love scenes were given plenty of time, and in my opinion, too revealing considering it is a teenage girl and a teacher. As time moved on for the show, the straight romances, along with the student/teacher relationships which were also portrayed as healthy relationships on the show, took to the spot light. There was no hesitation to leave Emily out in the dirt to rot in misery. According to my research on the novels, that should have never taken place. The television series has gotten ages away from the books in order to air what they want. The worst part in all of the mess was disgracing Emily as a lesbian, when she kisses a guy in an episode on her front porch. Their final act by forcing Emily to degrade herself by seeking comfort from the lips of a man totally destroyed the character in every way, shape, and form. From then on things only got worse, as Emily’s love interests faded away into darkness.
The final act sent fans of Emily into an uproar, who call themselves Emison fans, and the creators of the show acted confused, like they didn’t know why they were so upset. To make matters worse, two actresses who are regular’s on the show have been happy about the way things were turning out. One actress, Sasha Pieter’s, who portrayed one of Emily’s lovers, said in an interview that the lesbian relationship was toxic, and said that the relationship with the policeman was healthy. Even the actress herself who portrayed Emily (Shay Mitchell) said in an interview that the fans of her character disturbed her. In my opinion, there is nothing good about what this show is about. They took a very, amazing, complex character (Emily Fields), and destroyed her. The show could have been so much more than it is if they had stuck to the books. It would have drawn such a diverse set of television viewers. The reason the show Glee got so much success by people of all ages, was because of their diverse, complex characters and their relationships were all given equal lime light.
I would like to give some recognition now to one of the Emison fans; the one who brought this show and Emily Fields to my attention. I felt it would be wrong to not let her have a chance to express her feelings. She has written an open letter to the creators of (Pretty Little Liars).
To Marlene King and ABC Family:
I regret that I have to inform you that your portrayal of Emily Fields is disheartening and unfortunately disrespectful. I respect that you have given us a wonderful lesbian like Emily to respect and root for. You handled her coming out beautifully, from her angst and fear of not only admitting the truth to herself, but her family and friends. Unfortunately, you have managed to make a mockery of her love life. It started out promising with her first girlfriend, until you killed her off. Then you had her fall for a girl who physically bullied her. Then she got side tracked by a college girl. That was a complete waste of time. But wait, it gets worse. You then chose to put the “self-proclaimed lesbian” on her porch stoop kissing a man. That was not alright. Emily Fields is the most loyal, caring, protective character on this show, and she deserves better than to be generalized as a confused girl who had to deal with her personal tragedy by finding comfort in the lips of a man. That was disrespectful to not only her character, but her fans look up to her as their beacon of hope. It got worse from there, as her love life has become the laughing stock of the show. It has become such a joke, that we all expect every new girl who shows up in Rosewood, will eventually show up on Emily’s porch for a make-out session. You led us to believe she couldn’t settle on a girl to love, because she couldn’t get over her first love. Well, her first love came back from the dead, and instead of Emily finding a little happiness, you hooked her up with a married woman. Really! Can the woman with the purest heart please find someone who deserves her love? The LGBT fans of the show are starting to feel used and abused by you, for nothing more than ratings. Emily’s love life does not get equal representation on this show at all. Her intimate scenes are either in dark shadow, cut short, or both. The straight characters get intimate scenes that leave nothing to the imagination. We have to ask, you the writers, for confirmation if Emily had sex or not. It is left completely up to interpretation. Emily Fields is one of the most loved lesbian characters on television. We want to see her fall in love with the girl of her dreams. We don’t want to hear about it after the fact. We want to actually see it. She deserves better than you are giving her. She deserves equal representation, and so do her fans.