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Gay-Cap 'Pretty Little Liars': Falling Out of the Closet

Gay-Cap 'Pretty Little Liars': Falling Out of the Closet

There are only two episodes remaining of this season’s favorite guilty little pleasure, Pretty Little Liars, which means just two mere hours -- minus commercials -- so that’s about 84 minutes, in which to flesh out pretty little lesbian Emily’s storyline. But if last night’s episode was an indication of things to come then Emily (Shay Mitchell) is going to end PLL’s first season with one of the best told lesbian stories on television, in my humble gay lady opinion.


There are only two episodes remaining of this season’s favorite guilty little pleasure, Pretty Little Liars, which means just two mere hours -- minus commercials -- so that’s about 84 minutes, in which to flesh out pretty little lesbian Emily’s storyline. But if last night’s episode was an indication of things to come then Emily (Shay Mitchell) is going to end PLL’s first season with one of the best told lesbian stories on television, in my humble gay lady opinion.

But first, let’s do a quick update on Em’s love life. Sometime in mid-January Em’s mom Pam (Nia Peeples) found weed in Em’s girlfriend Maya’s backpack, made a phone call and got Maya (Bianca Lawson) shipped off to juvie drug and homosexual rehab. I’m not exactly sure about the homosexual rehab part but I’m picturing Maya in a Peptol Bismol pink dress and hooking up with Clea Duvall ala But I’m a Cheerleader. But back to the story…

Emily pined for Maya for a few weeks while her swim teammate with the ridiculous Selma Blair circa Cruel Intentions haircut Paige (Lindsey Shaw) at turns bullied and taunted her, tried to drown her, flirted with her and fondled her bra in the locker room. A few episodes ago the elephant in the room that was Paige’s burgeoning homosexuality brimmed to the surface and she planted one on Emily in Em’s car.

Last week things got really heated when Paige put a little in her hair to enhance that bob and donned a cute skirt and boot ensemble to meet Em at a dive bar on the outskirts of town. The two had a brief but adorable fling kissing to P!ink’s “Glitter in the Air” and picnicking in the woods… That is, until Paige revealed they would have to keep everything under cover as she couldn’t possibly seen with a known lezzie in public. Em gave Paige her walking papers as far as any sort of relationship was concerned -- and that’s what happened.

Now on to the new stuff! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Ep. 1:20, Someone to Watch Over Me

 While there’s plenty of drama all around for the nicest mean girls ever, like Spencer (Troian Bellisario) becoming a ‘person of interest’ and the police searching her room in connection with bitchy dead girl Alison’s murder, Aria spilling the details of the girls’ secrets to her pedo / pedagogue Ezra,  and Hanna (Ashley Benson) losing her V-card to pretty boy Caleb etc… we’ll stick closely to Emily’s gay storyline.

The gals are in the cafeteria looking at a photo of a gift Hanna believes she’ll be receiving from Caleb after their night of passion in a tent when Paige walks in giggling like a grade-school girl with Hanna’s ex, the good – but boring – Christian boy Sean (Chuck Hittinger).

The pair chats about riveting stuff like food that’s good for you, Paige being captain of the swim team etc. while Emily gives the ‘you’ve got to be freaking kidding me’ bullshit detector look.

Hanna misreads Em’s look and thinks Emily is just being protective because of the Hanna and Sean connection but it seems that Emily is not quite over her fleeting fling with Paige.

Moving on, Emily actually appears to be walking to class at a school that rarely seems to be in classroom session when Sean asks if she’s got a second to chat. Em tries to give him the brush off but he’s tenacious.

“You’re teammates with Paige McCullers right?” he asks. “Is she seeing anybody? Because I like her. She’s fun. But I don’t really want anything complicated right now.”

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But Emily is not biting. “I don’t know Sean, Paige isn’t really my friend,” she says. Again, Em’s dismay over this possible Paige / Sean hook-up is misread and Sean thinks Emily is being protective of Hanna. When will straight people get that it’s not always about them? Em assuages Sean’s concerns about Hanna approving or not and then lays out this wonderful double entendre.

“As for Paige we swim on the same team but I don’t know her that well,” Em snipes. Who knew sweet Emily had such a flair for the euphemisms?

A few days later Paige is hanging a flier in the hallway when Em approaches telling Paige she saw her talking to Sean.

“Yeah, he’s nice,” a clueless Paige says. “He makes me laugh. I know it might be kind of weird, you being friends with Hanna and Hanna being his ex…” she adds.

And Em, giving me a little Arizona Robbins ala Grey’s vibe, reminds Paige of their dalliance saying, “That’s not really the weird part is it?” Emily goes on to say that Sean had been asking if Paige was seeing anyone.

Looking like she’s resigned herself to a life of forced hetero mediocrity Paige says, “What’d you tell him?”

“I’m pretty sure he’s gonna ask you out,” Em says. But it turns out he already had popped the question and Paige said yes.

“It’s not really a date. We’re going with a bunch of other people. No big,” Paige explains, before turning on her heel. This has me wondering if Paige is headed to a Christian kid rock concert and promise ring ceremony with Sean. It’s too bad Paige has already left the room because Emily throws some great shade tinged with sadness her way.

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Later, Em heads to the girls’ room for a slash or to fix her makeup, what have you, when she overhears a girl in the bathroom saying, “Impressive, Sean Ackard. Score for Paige.”

“He asked me and I thought it would be fun,” Paige says, trying to act casual.

“I thought he was going to hibernate for the rest of the year but you dragged him out of the cave. Nice work,” mystery girl says. Now, if only someone can drag Paige out of the closet. Really, if a shot at the cutest girl in schoolgirl won’t do it then Paige appears to be doomed. Em closes the bathroom door forgoing whatever she needed to do in there and walks away.

Aria (Lucy Hale) and Em are at Aria's locker discussing how Hanna's pretty boy Caleb was discovered spying for Jenna, the blind girl who got that way from awful Alison tossing some sort of smoke bomb into Jenna's house to scare off her step-brother Toby, whom Jenna was bedding and whom Alison decided was the neighborhood perv. Now, Toby has a thing with Spencer and it's all sorts of confusing. Meanwhile, thanks to an errant text Aria sent, her parents know there is a “boy” in her life --never mind that it's her of-age teacher Ezra--and they want to know who the mystery boy is.

The sound of Paige's earnest attempt at a straight girl laughing at the guy she's dating's jokes permeates the air, and Em hears it with the alertness of a guard dog.

Aria spots Paige with Sean and says, “I should just pick a boy. Someone nice, and tell my mom that's who I was texting. That would be the simple solution.”

“There's nothing simple about lying,” Em says, betraying her feelings for Paige since Aria catches a whiff of something going on. Let's just forget that the entire show is based on mendacity and is called Pretty Little Liars… If Emily wants to give a treatise on lying so be it. Em shoots another glance at Paige but she's too busy engaged in trying to live a normal life for a minute.

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Next up, Emily’s having a quiet night alone in her room when she receives a text from Paige, who wants to come over.

A while later Paige shows up and Em shuts the door to her room. While we haven’t seen Mama Pam in a few weeks, since she defended Emily’s honor against Paige’s dad, she must be loosening the rules on having girls over. Or maybe it’s just that Maya was one of those wild-child types from the exotic land of California that got Pam all riled up.

Anyway, Paige, sporting a pretty shimmery dress, attempts small talk. “Nice room. Window seat…” Paige says. “I always wanted a room with one of those.” And this is where we just know the window seat will figure prominently in the near or distant future.

“You had your date with Sean,” Emily says, cutting to the chase. “How did it go.?”

“Great, good,” Paige says tentatively. “He’s a nice guy. Yeah, it went okay…until he kissed me,” she adds. “He took me home and kissed me goodnight, and, I don’t know. The date, the whole night just felt phony all of a sudden. Like it wasn’t me. It was somebody I was watching but not me. He went home and I texted you.” That Paige is one smart cookie for catching on so quickly. Some ladies spend a lifetime figuring it out. It doesn't hurt that she's got the school's cute resident gay girl to help her figure it out either.

“Sean’s a nice guy, and if he’s interested in you as more than a friend you have to be honest with him,” Emily offers.

“You’re saying I should dump him?” Paige asks.

“I’m saying you shouldn’t lead him on,” a pragmatic Emily replies. “You have to be honest," again, there is irony here considering the show's title...

And because it worked so well the last time she said it, Paige throws the ‘that’s so easy for you to say’ thing Em’s way, adding that Em is ‘fearless’ for coming out.

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“I didn’t come out of the closet. I fell out flat on my face. But I’m out, and whatever else happens, I don’t have to worry about it anymore," Emily says.

And here is where PLL earns its GLAAD recognition. For all of the surreal craziness surrounding the nicest quartet of Regina Georges ever and their collective blackmailer “A,” the lesbian storyline is handled with such authenticity and care. But I digress in a moment of appreciation...

“If I say it out loud, if I say…I’m gay, the whole world is going to change,” Paige says, stifling back tears.

“Yeah, it will,” Emily says reassuringly.

And just like that the window seat Paige mentioned figures in. She heads toward it to sit and collect herself.

But never fear, Em sits down next to her asking if she’d like to hear something funny.

“When I was trying to talk myself into being interested in boys I would look for guys like you,” Emily says. And I guess that’s supposed to be a compliment, although if I were Paige, I’d be wary.

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“Like me how?” Paige asks.

“The kind that would pull me up on stage and get me to sing, because I would never do that on my own,” Em says. Suddenly Paige appears to be cured of that nasty little bug that caused her to dive into the hetero dating pool for a hot minute, because she leans in to kiss our Miss Em.

The two of them grab each other’s hands and all is right with PLL’s little lesbian world.

Because I love how this story is panning out I am choosing to ignore that Paige’s previous iteration as the locker room bully had her holding Em’s head under water with Dick Cheney-like fervor a few weeks back. We’ll call that a glitch in the writing and pretend it never happened. 

Tune in for the next two weeks to catch the final Gay-Caps of Pretty Little Liars’ first season – sad.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

<p>Cinephile, cyclist, proud cat lady and unabashed Pretty Little Liars guru.</p>

<p>Cinephile, cyclist, proud cat lady and unabashed Pretty Little Liars guru.</p>