When you think of Pretty Little Liars, you think of one thing: friendship. Four — now five — best friends, battling against insane odds to protect themselves, their friends and lovers and their whole community from a series of serial killers. Except, when you really take a second to stop and chew the subject over, would you really want to be friends with the Liars? The Pretty Little Liars friends are the worst. Historically, they haven't always had each other's back and in-fighting seems to happen more often than those rare moments of harmony where every member of the group likes all of the others.
Besides which, despite their repeated mantra that they shouldn't lie to each other, they can and do. Plus while they ostensibly unite in the first episode of Season 1 to solve the 'A' thing, this has to be the worst detective team ever. Honestly? Minus Caleb's hacking skills and Mona's smarts, the Liars would be hard-pressed to ever get to the bottom of anything. So let's take a stroll down memory lane and review the very varied moments when we all realized that these girls might seem to have a fun connection, but there's no way they'd make it onto our BFF list. But before we begin, please bear in mind that there will be spoilers throughout all of this, so if you're not up to date, do bookmark and return for a read at a later date.
1. They Endorsed The Whole Aria-Mr Fitz Relationship
When Season 1 opened, Aria was 16 years old. As the executive producer on the show, I. Marlene King, told Zap2It in 2011, while Aria meets the age of consent, "it's only against the law for a 16 year-old to be with someone over 21 years-old if they're a teacher." So, yeah. Whether or not Aria and Fitz consummate their relationship while he's still teaching at her school is left unclear, but the ethics of the teacher/student romantic relationship are unsettling, especially when we discover that Fitz already knew Aria was a high school student and a friend of Ali (who he also briefly dated) when he first met her in the bar. After some initial resistance, it's not long before Aria's friends start rooting for her and Mr Fitz. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
2. They're Bullies
Sure, queen bee Ali was the ringleader. But it's not like the other Liars are always sugary-sweet. Remember when Hanna got real with that tiny tween who reminded her of Ali in Season 5 and was all "you better start looking over your shoulder, because you're making a lot of enemies... and in Rosewood, b*tches get buried," verbatim? I do. Awkward.
3. They Don't Care About Each Other's Passions
When did the Liars ever attend a swim-meet to cheer on Emily? And why do they never ask to read any of Aria's novel that she's working on with Fitz in Season 6? How come Spencer had to study alone, instead of with a study-buddy? Let's face facts. These girls are brought together via A and only A. They have limited interests in each other's lives.
4. Their Funeral Outfits Are Perfect... For A Night Out Clubbing
Sure, this image is a tongue-in-cheek teaser poster, not a still from the show, but the humor here works purely because these girls have worn everything from playsuits to backless dresses to their friends' funerals. Is looking party-prepped more important than grieving their friends in funeral-appropriate attire? Yes, always yes.
5. Besties Come First, Minor Friends Can Disappear Without Any Comment
This Cosmpolitan article provides an astute summary of minor characters who disappeared without further comment by the Liars. Including: Aria's childhood friend Holden who she fake-dates as a cover for her and Ezra Fitz for about 10 minutes in Season 2 and we never hear about again; Noel Kahn, who we haven't seen since Season 5, and the scary-but-useful Mrs Grunwald. No wonder these girls keep losing friends: their attention-spans for the non-Liars in their lives aren't great. Honestly? Even if you wanted to be friends with the Liars, their level of interest in you would be distinctly so-so.
6. They Can Be Overly Self-Interested
Hanna's relationship with nerd-turned-millionaire Lucas is weird, no? She knows he used to crush hard on her and presumably still does, but she's happy to crash at his luxury pad and take his money to set up her own business.
7. They Let Aria Dress Like This
Real friends don't let each other wear dresses with satchel straps. Indisputable visual proof that the other Liars secretly hate Aria.
8. They're Always Checking Their Phones
So sure, their reasons for having their phones more or less surgically attached to their hands are legit, but it'd still suck. Girls' nights, trips to the cinema and your fascinating monologue about that guy you're seeing but you're just not sure about him would all be constantly punctuated by the bleep of cyberbullying and the Liars going pale, quiet and angsty-looking, yet again. Worst confidants ever.
9. Their Family Histories Are Sort Of Terrifying
Let's review. Spencer's sister is so intense about family that she buries a girl's corpse because she believes Spencer killed her and that it was Ali...and then never ever speaks to Spencer about it. Aria's dad starts off the series having an affair and continues his run of terrible, terrible dating decisions by getting involved with Meredith, who in one episode appears to drug Aria's tea. Hannah's mom is a bank robber, so there's that. Aria's brother seems to spend much of the series being borderline violent. Oh, and Ali's parents committed her sister Charlotte to a mental institution after she acted out, instead of just looking after her. Would you really want to go hang out at these people's houses on the reg?
10. They Date Each Other's Ex-Boyfriends Without Explicitly Asking Their Friend If It's Cool
You guys already share the same history of torture at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Do you really have to share boyfriends, too?
11. You're Likely To Have Terrible Things Happen To You
Let's be real: when it comes to be being friends with Rosewood's number one walking bullseyes, tangling with the Liars means your likelihood of weird, terrible stuff happening to you increases exponentially. Remember when Ali sends Noel Kahn to Hanna's mother's house to scare her? Or Hanna's mom's bank robbery is almost revealed by A? The main dilemma for the Liars through the six seasons have been attempting to have meaningful relationships with family and lovers and trying to avoid the aforementioned becoming targets for A. These girls seem fun, but not enough to risk my life or livelihood over.
Look, I love watching Pretty Little Liars every bit as much as the next person with two eyes and a remote. These girls are great to watch, but would be hell on earth to be pals with. So. Much. Drama. 24/7. In short: thanks but no thanks, ladies.