Hi, my name is Katie, and I’ve been watching programming on ABC Family for about six years now. I know there’s a stigma about being a self-respecting woman who watches completely unrealistic teen programming, but I wanted to share the story of my shame spiral for all those out there who may be grappling with the same struggle.
My last exposure was few nights ago, when the season finale of the series Pretty Little Liars left me shaking on the couch desperate for another hour-long fix of foreboding music and pained glances between characters that last just a few moments longer than necessary. I know that I’m causing people who appreciate meaningful television a lot of pain, but I just can’t find the strength to change the channel. I’m hooked.
I should have heeded the warnings about exposure to ABC Family…
- TRY ONE ORIGINAL MOVIE AND YOU’LL BE HELPLESSLY DEPENDENT! Mean Girls 2? That doesn’t sound horribly awful…
- The farfetched story lines will start to seem plausible. A federal agent eating lunch with some high school girls while questioning them about a homicide without their parents present? Could totes happen in real life…
- Beware 13 Nights of Halloween and 25 Days of Christmas. Go to a Halloween party? But Matilda is going to be on tonight… Mistletoe? Not now–Home Alone is on.
- If you start watching Harry Potter weekend, you will not be able to stop before it’s too late. On my most recent wizardry bender, I snapped out of it 10 hours later, and all I remembered was deciding my half empty bag of Doritos could be one of my Horcruxes…
It all started with The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Considering my high school life consisted of a brief stint as an Ecology Club member, dressing up in Civil War-era clothing for AP U.S. History, and forging service hours for National Honors Society, I was curious about this so-called “secret life” I no doubt missed out on. I found out that ABC Family’s idea of teenager’s “secret life” consists of pregnancy, marriage (and divorce), being the heir to a sausage empire, and most unbelievably, genuinely loving to play the French horn. …I was just hoping to learn how to play beer pong.
I had my moments of doubt, like when the “sausage king” married the same prostitute who another character propositioned in a previous episode–but there were glimpses of hope, too! Molly Ringwald was okay in the 80s. The show’s producer was the genius behind 7th Heaven! Shailene Woodley was nominated for a Golden Globe! So what the show was in development for ten years before ABC Family finally decided adding it to their roster couldn’t do any harm–that just means they had a decade to make it perfect!
What was I thinking?
During every commercial, when I came this close to salvaging what’s left of my dignity and swearing off that insultingly unbelievable network, I’d see a commercial for the latest and greatest ABC Family series.
Pretty Little Liars enticed me with its girl crush-inducing cast and the swoon-worthy Ezra Fitz. Switched at Birth features an actress who isn’t deaf playing a character who is, and somehow that’s been enough to manipulate me into suspending my sense of logic enough to believe two families whose daughters were switched at birth could decide to move in together. Then there was Huge—a show about a fat camp starring Nikki Blonksy; need I elaborate? I watched a few episodes of Melissa & Joey in a desperate attempt to rekindle a love for Melissa Joan Hart that started in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch era (but even with his hair, Joey Lawrence is no Salem).
It was a slippery slope to a DVR full of shows and movies whose only critical acclaim would come only from the Teen Choice Awards.
Even though I know I have a problem, I don’t think I’m ready to change. I need to find out just what the fuck is going on in Pretty Little Liars, first. I’ve never once watched an episode of Bunheads, which should show you I’m totally in control of this habit.
Besides, ABC Family has this new show starting soon called Ravenswood, and maybe this is going to be the series that gives Mad Men a run for its money! Judging by the commercial, something mysterious is going on!
I mean. I’ll probably just watch an episode or two to see if I like it…