Title: Pretty Little Liars S1.E17 “The New Normal”
Released: 2011

Hey, guys! Happy 1/2 off Chocolate day! Also known as, Happy Hangover Day or, if your significant other is an old-fashioned romantic, possibly Happy You’re Engaged! Day! Or, um, if your significant other forgot to mention Valentine’s Day, Happy You’re Single! Day?

Let’s see what the Pretty Little Liars got up to for Valentine’s Day. Was romance in the air? Were chocolates in one’s mouth? Did anyone get an STD?

Previously on Pretty Little Liars . . . Caleb the Tech Junkie is staying with Hanna, Kat from 10 Things is a little bit high-strung, Jenna is creepin’ on her step-brother but he’s not interested, Prozzie Mom’s theivery may have caused old Mrs Potter (I just now got that joke. Ha! Good one, PLL writers!) to have a heart attack and die, Kat from 10 Things is sorry and crying and wet, Spencer and Toby are being framed, Hanna came clean to Aria about the museum ticket thing and Aria’s woodland sprite self is filled with rage.

Show! The girls are all hanging out at Emily’s house, discussing Melissa’s pregnancy. Spencer wonders why Melissa has all of a sudden come over maternal. They’re also investigating Toby’s note, while Aria remains bitchy and aloof. Guys, we already did this work for you last week. You could save yourself several minutes of screen time and some tense bongo music.

The girls think the message says “BAD.” Aria is all cranky and leaves. Maybe it’s because we already explained to them that it’s #214. I really wish these idiots would read my recaps. I think life would be much easier on them.

Credits. Necromancy. Family show!

Oh! There’s a commercial for Beastly! I’m so used to them showing the other commercial with a movie based on a YA novel starring Alex Pettyfer that I’ve forgotten about this one! In this one, Alex does push ups. I approve. I bet he doesn’t do any dumb push ups in that horrible James Frey movie thing. This movie is clearly superior. Plus it has an Olsen twin.

Also, everyone on that show about teen pregnancy keeps having sex. Are they operating under the “lightning can’t strike twice” philosophy? Cause I gotta say, as birth control goes, “crossing your fingers and wishing you don’t get pregnant” is only slightly more reliable than the Rhythm Method.

Whatever. Show! Hanna’s checking out the money situation, which is now being kept in a box of popsicles. DOES NO ONE HAVE A BANK IN THIS HOUSE? Prozzie Mom, wracked with guilt, is going to put the remaining money back into Mrs Potter’s safe deposit box. What’s left of it!

Prozzie Mom leaves and Hanna ushers Caleb in to feed him breakfast. But then Prozzie Mom comes back, and Caleb has to flee. But he leaves his stupid hat! So Hanna has to throw it in the sink. Scintillating.

School. Aria is glaring at Hanna and Caleb. Aria is wearing a ponytail and a fur-collar jacket, which makes her look like a beast sprouting hair. Or Lady Gaga’s pyjamas. Anyway, she and Hanna make up! Aww! Friends!

Fitz is in the cafeteria, hanging out with Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, and some unknown teacher. They’re all making a date to go to some book signing for an author who Fitz likes. Moving on.

At school, Emily has caught the bad hat virus from Spencer. Why, Em, why? Anyway, Hanna and Aria join Em and Spencer and everyone tries to warn Hanna away from Caleb. Aria sticks up for her, though.

Meanwhile! An angry person has come into the cafeteria, looking for the swimming coach. It’s Kat from 10 Things‘ dad! He seems SUPER angry about Kat from 10 Things not getting swim captain. He thinks it’s because Emily’s a big ol’ lesbo! Fitz tries to talk him down. Fitz’s shirt is untucked. He must be hip. Kat from 10 Things looks MORTIFIED.

“I’m a parent overly-invested in my child’s life as a means of recapturing my former glory! RAR!”

Bank. Prozzie Mom is greeted by Mrs. Potter’s great-nephew, James. He’d like to talk about Mrs. Potter’s accounts! Prozzie Mom is all, “Uh, I didn’t know she had any family!” Prozzie Mom tries to stall, but this guy is sticking like glue and wants to see the safe deposit box. Um, unless a PROBATE LAWYER says he can open the safe deposit box, then I’m pretty sure he can’t open the fucking safe deposit box. No way in hell is my great-nephew getting anything when I die. My brother’s grandchildren? I’m sure they’ll be horrid!

Anyway, he totally asks Prozzie Mom out.

School. Kat from 10 Things is apologizing to Emily for her dad. Em’s not convinced. I think she’s housing all of her rage in her hat. Maybe if she took the hat off? Then she could forgive Kat from 10 Things? And not look like an idiot?

Meanwhile, Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, and Actor/Director Chad Lowe are discussing Parent/Teacher conferences, particularly the one with Fitz. There’s a threesome joke in there somewhere but I can’t quite get there. Also, it turns out that Kat from 10 Things‘ dad is from the Library Board! And he likes to ban books! So he’s a homophobic dick who wants to spread his homophobic agenda around the world! Excellent. We certainly don’t have enough of those around!

Anyway, Actor/Director Chad Lowe is jealous, cause he figures Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, is into Fitz. Oh, Actor/Director Chad Lowe. If only you knew.

Toby’s house! Spencer comes over to talk about the note from Toby. It’s not a joke! And it doesn’t mean “BAD.” But Toby can’t talk now, because he has to go see the D.A.! Come back on Saturday, Spencer.

Have you ever noticed that these characters have hairstyles they couldn’t possibly create on their own?

Spence gets a text. “Jenna is gonna be sooooo pissed. -A” Well, yeah. She is. But it’s Jenna. Pissed is her default position.

Commercials. How pretty is Anne Hathaway in the Oscar commercials? How pretty is Anne Hathaway, in general? Sigh.

Show. Hanna’s on the phone with Emily when Em’s mom comes into her room. Emily’s mom is being suspiciously nice, but Em and I aren’t buying it. Hey, what’s going on with Hanna and Aria, Emily asks Hanna.

Which segues into Spencer and Aria, talking on the phone about same. Spencer tells Aria about seeing Toby, and how she is convinced he’s innocent. And Aria’s at Fitz’s apartment! Spencer is way too invested in the prurient details of Aria and Fitz’s relationship. Is that a thing? People on tv are always talking about their sex lives with their friends. I don’t want to know about my friends’ sex lives. Ew. I’m content in the knowledge that they are, you know, having sex and that presumably it’s good sex and we don’t need to discuss it further than that. And I certainly don’t want to know what their boyfriends or girlfriends or husbands look like naked. Hell, I don’t want to know what I look like naked, much less other people who I am not dating.

Anyway! Fitz is going to meet Actor/Director Chad Lowe at the Parent/Teacher conference tomorrow! That won’t be awkward! At all! There’s some patriachal bullshit about how Actor/Director Chad Lowe is her dad and blah blah blah moving on.

Hanna’s house. Hanna’s worried about the Great-Nephew. Prozzie Mom is going on a date with Great-Nephew Potter. The door rings. But it’s Caleb! He is doing his best charm routine. Prozzie Mom is all, “I don’t want you alone with this dude in the house! He looks like he has a penis that he uses!” Then the great-nephew Potter arrives. Prozzie Mom is all, “Bank business! I need your signature on this one thing!” I bet that one thing signed his rights away.

Prozzie Mom and the great-nephew leave, and Hanna’s all, “You showed up at the house! WTFBBQSAUCE?” Caleb is confused, because great-nephew Potter has a crappy pen. He’s supposed to be an architect! What’s he doing with a crappy pen? So Caleb’s going to do some Nancy Drewing, I guess.

School! Fitz and Actor/Director Chad Lowe are conferencing, as parents and teachers do. Actor/Director Chad Lowe is, meanwhile, just jealous about the book signing thing with Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride. To be fair, Fitz does have the most comical “WTF is going on?” face.

Store! Shopping! Aria is actually wearing a coat that I want! For once! Aria and Hanna explain to Spencer and Em about the whole museum thing. And then Hanna comes clean about Caleb sleeping in her basement.

Meanwhile! Jenna’s trying on clothes! Well, like some sort of horrid black nightie thing, talking about how “he” likes lace. And staring at herself in the three-way mirror (avec glasses, of course). Oh, look. I’ve just vomited on my keyboard. How unfortunate.

Is she fucking a 90 year old widower?

Fitz and Aria are discussing the disasterous Parent/Teacher conference. Fitz is trying to explain how much Actor/Director Chad Lowe hates him. Either that or he’s crazy! Aria doesn’t get it.

Spencer’s. She’s still interpreting the braille message, and she may have an idea!

Hallways. Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, catches up with Em’s mom (there for the parent/teacher conference) and explains how Kat from 10 Things‘ dad came in and made a scene in front of the whole school. Em’s mom looks upset. Could she be giving up her title as heinous she-beast?

Spencer is at Toby’s. No one answers the door, so she just lets herself in. AAACK! THERE IS A ROOM WITH CREEPY DOLLS! God, I hate creepy dolls. The whole room looks like something your grandmother would have. If your grandmother were creepy and wore black lace nighties. Spencer picks up a snow globe, but Toby arrives and tells her to put the snow globe back exactly where she found it, or Jenna will know that she was here. The DA is dropping the charges against Toby, due to piss-poor DNA evidence! Spencer will drive him to the courthouse to have the house-arrest anklet removed! I sense sparks. Or it could be sunlight hitting the dust in the room. Jeez, Cavanaughs. Just because Jenna’s blind doesn’t mean she doesn’t have allergies. Maybe you should Pledge some stuff?

The dust mites of love.

Hanna’s. Caleb is there, tinkering with a phone. He called the univerity that great-nephew Potter claims to have graduated from. They’ve heard of James Leland (the great-nephew)! He was a great architect! Until he died two years ago! Dun dun dun!

Spencer and Toby leave the house just as Jenna arrives. Jenna’s all “Emily?” Yeah, we aren’t fooled, Jenna. Toby announces that he’ll be going with Spencer to get his ankle monitor removed. Jenna’s all, “I see.” YEAH WE KNOW.

Hanna’s house. She’s telling Prozzie Mom about how great-nephew James Leland isn’t really James Leland. Prozzie Mom is not going to go off the word of Caleb! She’s going to show the safety deposit box to James! WHAT? Why?

Aria’s house of woodland delight. Actor/Director Chad Lowe thinks Fitz is a lightweight! I’m distracted by Aria’s kitchen, which is AMAZING. Oh my god, she has a stand-alone stove and oven. OH MY GOD. I want it so bad!! GIVE ME THAT STOVE, ARIA!!! Anyway, Actor/Director Chad Lowe is jealous; Aria tells him that all the teachers are going to the book signing, blah blah. STOVE!

Bank. Prozzie Mom is showing the great-nephew the safe-deposit box. He’s concerned by the small amount of cash, claiming that “family legend” had it that ol’ Mrs Potter had socked away a bunch of cash over the years. Prozzie Mom is all, “Where do you bank in Syracuse?” Yeah, she’s onto you, not-James Leland! He backs down.

School. Emily is at a swim meet and her mother is upset. She needs to know about Kat from 10 Things‘ dad’s outburst. Why didn’t Emily tell her? Emily knows what she’d say! That she’s a gay so what Kat from 10 Things‘ dad said was okay! Emily’s mom is angry (not at Emily), so she reams Kat from 10 Things‘ dad a new one. Her daughter didn’t get anything she didn’t earn! So he will drop it! Then she and Emily have a nice moment which may have made me cry, but only because it’s Valentine’s day and I’m hormonal. No one hurts her child! Emily is happy to forgive her. So am I! It’ll be okay! Parents of the world, I understand if you might be thrown for a loop to learn that your child likes people of a certain gender! It may take you a few minutes or hours or days to come to terms! But then, fuck’s sake, join PFLAG and get the fuck over yourself, cause your kids need you. Buy your daughter a Suburu, Emily’s mom; it will all be okay.

Spencer and Toby are celebrating Toby’s release by driving to the city line, where the “Welcome to Rosewood” sign is. There’s a cheesy panoramic view of the city below. Spencer figured out the message – #214. DUH. We did that for you already, Spencer! Toby overhead Jenna on the phone, talking to someone about Spencer. 214 is what she wrote down! Does it mean anything? Spencer doesn’t know.

The Mulholland Drive of Rosewood, PA. Only without any angry masturbation.

Toby isn’t afraid of Jenna in the way he used to be, which I hope means he’s no longer being sexually assaulted by her. But Jenna’s afraid of Spencer, Toby thinks. She’s afraid of all of Alison’s friends.

Parking lot. Emily’s getting into her car when Kat from 10 Things‘ randomly joins her. Kat from 10 Things is all, “Why is life so easy for you?” Em’s all, “Are you crazy?” Then Kat kisses her! And then says not to tell. Man, this is the same storyline as Glee! Which is the same storyline from Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Don’t think I don’t notice, television writers! Em’s shocked. I’m shocked. Not cause Kat from 10 Things‘ is gay; look at her haircut. (Incidentally I also have that haircut right now, due to trying to grow out my hair, which is troublesome, cause it’s not a good look for either of us.) I’m shocked cause everyone on tv gets randomly and shockingly assaulted with someone else’s mouth. Does this happen in real life? I can think of about two instances in MY WHOLE LIFE when someone actually surprised me by kissing me. And folks? I’ve kissed, well . . . a good deal of people. A lot, actually. So those two people don’t even amount to 1%, so it can’t be that typical, can it?

Hanna’s house. Caleb’s retiring for his evening in the basement. Then the door rings. It’s an older gentleman, coming to deal with an “infestation” in Hanna’s basement.Someone named “A” called to set up the appointment. Hanna’s all, “wrong house” while also, presumably, peeing a little from fright and anger.

Fitz’s. His phone is ringing, but his lips are busy being attached to Aria’s face. It’s Actor/Director Chad Lowe! Calling to apologize! Well, that’ll ruin the moment.

Spencer and Toby are driving home. He’s so in love with her. They pass the motel where a drunk Wren (Melissa’s ex who Spencer made out with at the beginning of the season) hung out with Spencer . . . with the room number 214.

Credits. Our Gloved Friend is carrying flowers and places them on Mrs. Potter’s grave. Oooh. WHO COULD IT BE??


Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.