An Open Letter To ‘Pretty Little Liars’ & Everyone Who Watches ‘Pretty Little Liars’


In light of last night’s episode, I’m sure most of you are expecting a bevy of Hanna/Zack annotations. You’ll probably get them, but they probably won’t be from me.

You see, when I stated watching the episode, I figured I’d be making quite a few annotations. However, while watching the episode and thinking about annotations, I could do nothing but become increasingly upset. I spent the rest of the night unable to watch anything else because of how angry I was, and no jokes about the situation where able to diffuse said anger. So instead of working on annotations, which I mentally blocked myself from physically doing, I decided to write this stream of consciousness.

Honestly, in the words of the late, great Owen Hart: “Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.”

It’s not enough that this is the moment when the show decides the predatory nature of these adult male characters is finally a bad thing. This is a legitimate problem on this series. At this point, the only thing that will make Pretty Little Liars' sexual predator problem anything resembling “okay” is a flat out, direct statement of how wrong ALL of these relationships are. Now is no longer the time for subtlety or silence in exchange for fan pandering.

While the message of Zack’s advances of Hanna being wrong is commendable, where are the messages of a teacher (as well as a stalker) falling for his student being unacceptable? Where are the messages about a grown man, a professional in the medical field, being ~unable~ to resist a teenage girl (because he’s “old enough to know better and young enough not to care”). We constantly joke about the adult male/teenage girl situation in Pretty Little Liars (and teen dramas in general, because only a handful can even pull off the adult/teenager relationship), but that’s for the hope that something—anything—about it changes. Creating a monster out of an otherwise likable character (one who’s barely a character, which is what makes it acceptable?) by having him do the same thing a good portion of adult males on this show do (without punishment) is sending mixed signals. This is a show where we’re in constant fear that a male police officer (again, a person in a position of trust and power) will put the moves on a teenage girl even after he’s already turns down one’s advances. It’s a norm on this show… until it’s not, apparently.

Also in case no one’s skin has crawled enough since the episode in question, keep in mind that Zack didn’t just put the moves on Hanna. He did so knowing she was hammered and not in any way in control—he even calls it out himself.

After Nate replied to the pedophile message, we got a couple more messages saying something to the effect of us constantly calling Ezra a pedophile only making the word mean less by making it more acceptable in the lexicon. Believe me (and all of us here at Pretty Little Liars Annotations): None of us take the word pedophile lightly, and placing it on Ezra or Wren or Ian or Zack or [INSERT ROSEWOOD OR RAVENSWOOD ADULT MALE HERE] isn’t us trying to lessen the word. If anything, we are trying to make clear that what the men on this show are doing is, without a shadow of a doubt, wrong. They should be held up to the level of fear as A or Mona or Jenna. In fact, they should be held up to a level higher, because again, they are full-grown adults. Ezra, the youngest, is a manchild, but that still doesn’t make him a child.

The Great Gatsby may be the only book Rosewoodians read, but I’m thinking of another book when it comes to this situation: The Scarlet Letter. May the adult male creeps of this show’s universe wear a scarlet P (that we annotate onto them) for all to see.

What makes everything in this week’s episode so much worse though is the Liars’ reactions to Hanna’s reveal of this situation. Yes, Hanna has been going on a downward spiral (and while I can write another thousand words on how all of the Liars have responded to Ali’s resurgence, that’s not what this is) along with Caleb. None of that excuses Spencer, Emily, and Aria’s reactions to her. They certainly took classes at Slut-Shaming and Victim-Blaming 101 for this one. And the kicker is, Aria is a character that, all jokes aside, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say I hate. Yes, she’s a pretentious bird killer living in her own television show separate of Pretty Little Liars, but that’s amusing in its own right. Until last night’s episode, where I literally uttered the words “Fuck you, Aria” to my screen.

Zack is a grown man. Hanna is a teenager. They barely know him. They know, that for all of Hanna’s current problems right now, she would never “make up” something like this. HE IS A GROWN MAN. SHE IS A TEENAGER. This season of Pretty Little Liars is so bleak (intentionally, of course) that even with the deterioration of these girls’ friendships, this is something that shouldn’t be happening.

Then again, maybe if Hanna went on about how compatible she and Zack are, on a soul level, and how they put paper grocery bags on their head, Aria would apologize.

If this was solely to figure out a way to get rid of the Zack off the show, boy is it a way to do it. I wish  I could say with great confidence that this is the show finally addressing the predatory elephant in the room, but it’s not. The Ezras and Wrens of the show are still going to exist. They’re still going to be seen as viable love interests to these minors. At this point, while the bigger problem in my eyes that Zack is a man in his 30s, the bigger problem (based on the established show rules) is that he’s in a relationship with Ella’s mom. If infidelity trumps pedophilia or statutory or bastardization of societal norms or whatever the hell you want to call it, then I really am lost.

I know I’m not a writer for the show. I’d love to be one—it’s a dream job of mine—especially because I’d be curious to know the inner-workings of the writers’ mind when it comes to this facet of Pretty Little Liars. It’s a darker show than any one really gives it credit for, which is why I know complaining about an unexpectedly dark turn on the show is bound to fall on deaf ears. I just want to understand why this is the exception to the rules the show has built with regards to adult males. 

 - L


canyoukeepa3ecret asked:

I Love your Crazy Mona Diaries!! I'm staying up tonight to read them all!

Mona Vanderwaal Answer:

Oh… thank you :’) I’m gonna go cry like a baby now because this is the best thing anyone could ever say about my work :’)


Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 92

I think it’s safe to say that waking up to see a teddy bear staring at you from across the room is the creepiest thing ever. A doll’s stare is calming and sweet, but a teddy bear? That gave me the chills…

I have no idea how the bear got there, but I got up and went straight to Ryan’s room, because I had the feeling he was behind this. But his room was empty. He wasn’t there and none of his stuff was either. I waited until the nurses had lunch and I went to the computer and checked the list of patients. Ryan wasn’t on the list. Then I checked the list of discharged patients and I didn’t find a single person named Ryan.

I went back to my room and started thinking if I ever actually saw him interact with anyone other than me, but I only had a vague memory that could have been a dream or a hallucination. This is so confusing. And what about that time I saw him with Red Coat? Was that a hallucination too? It’s possible that I was so paranoid and filled with medication at that point that I wasn’t able to tell what was real and what was not.

I need to figure out what other things I imagined. This means I’m 100% done with all my medication. These things are just making me crazy… Also, I still need to figure out where the teddy bear from this morning came from.

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Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 91

Just a few minutes ago Lisa made me happy by bringing me two brand new blonde dolls. I pulled almost all of my Alison doll’s hair out yesterday and I also needed a new Hanna doll after what happened today.

Hanna visited me this morning. Turns out she had a fight with Sketchy Boy and decided to take it out on me. Why yell at your boyfriend if you can yell at your best friend, right? Luckily Lisa heard her and asked her to leave. Apparently she was disturbing the other patients. Lisa also told her she had to be careful because I’m still on suicide watch, but Hanna didn’t seem to care about that tiny detail…

So after lunch I took my Hanna doll and tried this technique that Dr. Sullivan once told me to do - to say “I forgive you” out loud to the doll and then do nice things for her, like brush her hair and kiss her. I did that, but let’s just say the doll had about 2 more strands of hair on her head right before I threw her in the wall and broke her pretty little porcelain face. She was a pretty doll, but she deserved it.

Luckily Lisa seems to be my new best friend, since she cares about me more than Hanna does. Hanna can go to hell.

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"Emily, I’m honestly offended that you think I’m so amateur. Do you remember how I snuck into your hospital and changed your medication to get you slowly addicted to pain cream to get you kicked off the swim team? Or gaslighted Spencer into seeing dead bodies all over the place so she would get committed to an insane asylum? And you think after all that, I’d go for something as simple as a rat in her locker. Bitch. Please. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go be better than you elsewhere."

Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 90

I finally felt calm this morning when I woke up and saw all my dolls in my room, but then shortly after breakfast I took most of them back to the children’s ward and only left four of them in my room. The whole thing felt a little overwhelming.

I was surprised when I realized my door wasn’t locked anymore and that I was actually allowed to go to the day room. Lisa was watching me all day and I literally did everything she told me to do - which included drawing. But this time I drew a bird on a branch. Better safe than sorry…

After lunch I went back to the children’s ward and I sat down on one of the beds. I took my Ali doll and started brushing her hair. I hadn’t done that in a long time… It didn’t take long until I started feeling frustrated, then angry, and then furious, and I started ripping the doll’s hair out. Lisa came looking for me at that point, took the doll from me, gave me my Hanna doll instead and took me back to my room.


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Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 89

I woke up at around 7 a.m. this morning when I heard two people arguing. I quickly realized it was Lisa and my psychiatrist, and as I was about to get out of bed I realized that my room was literally filled with dolls!!!

I couldn’t believe it! My Hanna doll, my Mona doll, my Aria doll, my Spencer doll, my Emily doll, my Ali doll, my CeCe doll… all of them were right there - sitting in my chair, all over the desk, on the floor and even on my bed. This was doll paradise! But I had to calm down quickly and run to the door to eavesdrop.

It seems that thanks to my “suicidal tendencies,” my shrink wants to make sure I don’t feel lonely, so if I want dolls, I will get dolls. Yaay! Yaaay! Thank goodness for stupidity!! Lisa is now forced to let me play with my dolls as much as I want. 

Having so many dolls in my room was almost overwhelming. I didn’t know which doll to start playing with, so I grabbed a few random ones and gave them a big hug. I don’t think anything had ever felt more therapeutic.

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Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 88

As it turns out, impulsive actions like drawing a hanging doll on top of a pool of blood have serious consequences. Lisa showed the drawing to my psychiatrist and I am now on suicide watch. In other words, I’m not allowed to leave my room, I can’t have visitors and no one is allowed in my room except for the staff, which by the way needs to check up on me every hour.

How stupid are these people? Apparently you can’t draw anything random. I love dolls, everyone knows that, so obviously it ended up in my drawing. It was hanging because I like a high creep factor in my art and hanging dolls tend to freak people out. And as for the blood… it could have been ketchup. Why doesn’t anyone ever think of that?!

So anyway, to top it off Lisa didn’t bother bringing me any of my dolls either. And I highly doubt she will. I’m not suicidal, but thanks to the fact that I’m alone all the time, the fact that I can’t see my dolls and the fact that no one I actually care about (Hanna, Noel…) can visit me, that might actually change in the near future.

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Anonymous asked:

What theme are you using?

Mona Vanderwaal Answer:


Crazy Mona Diary: Radley Sanitarium, Day 87

When I walked in the day room after breakfast this morning I saw one of the dolls from the children’s ward sitting in one of the chairs. I started running towards it, but Lisa saw me and immediately took the doll. Then she gave me the stuffed crow from yesterday. Yay for getting to play with a stupid crow!

After a while she gave me a piece of paper and some stuff for drawing and told me to get creative and draw whatever comes to mind when I look at the crow. Good luck getting creative when a bitch is holding all your dolls hostage.

I disregarded the crow and ended up drawing a doll hanging from the ceiling of an empty room. I like different shades of gray so I didn’t want to use any colors, but I ended up drawing blood all over the floor anyway. Lisa took the drawing and said she was going to show it to my therapist. I suppose it’s safe to assume that depending on what the stupid shrink will say I may or may not get my dolls back. So after all of that I got to eat lunch. To be honest I’d prefer to starve if that meant getting my dolls back.

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Anonymous asked:

Yes I'm the BITCH. who landed u in Radley and know I'm the bitch who's getting u out if u join us of course. -A

Mona Vanderwaal Answer:

I don’t need to wear a hoodie anymore. That’s for amateurs. Now I prefer to take bitches down while wearing 4 inch heels, a skirt and Chanel N° 5. But I wish you the best of luck with whatever A stuff you’ll be doing. Xoxo!

Anonymous asked:

Tumblr is all for fun Until you piss of the wrong one -A

Mona Vanderwaal Answer:

OFF*, bitch.