Pretty Little Liars: Is Ezra and Aria’s student/teacher romance sweet or creepy?


I’m a Pretty Little Liars addict, and I got caught up in the Lolita-like tension of Aria’s (now off) romance with her teacher Mr. Fitz. It’s a fictional manifestation of a fantasy that many girls have about a smart, inspiring teacher who’s not that much older than them, and relationships like this do happen in real life, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s inappropriate, and possibly illegal.

The real life consequences of their relationship are used as plot points, but they seem to resolve too quickly. Sure, Ezra Fitz is no longer Aria’s teacher, when they first met, they had no idea they were going to be high school student and teacher, and 16 is the age of consent in Pennsylvania, but when they decided to go forward with their relationship he was her teacher. When Ezra reveals that he’s in love with Aria to her parents, they react appropriately, but for a while afterwards Aria still continues to play-act an adult life with Ezra while her friends are still living like high school students. Overly serious high school students who spend most of their energy trying to fight the mysterious forces that are constantly tormenting them, but still, they’re not half-living with an adult who has job stress and a secret 7-year-old child.

Ian Harding, the actor who plays Mr. Fitz, defended their relationship in a 2010 interview because it was a once-in-a-lifetime type of love.

It’s kind of back to the whole push-pull – the whole conflict with these two people is heart vs brain. Ezra is very much about this being wrong. He knows it’s wrong as soon as he sees Aria in English class at 9am. This is not a storm we should set sail in. At the same time, it’s real. It’s something that comes along once – maybe twice – in a lifetime. They need to act on it.


Aria and Ezra kissing in a bathroom the first day they met, before they realized they were student/teacher

But is it true love? Does a young girl really know enough about love? Shouldn’t a teacher step it up and tell the student that they should wait until she’s at least graduated high school? I think the biggest problem here is how emotionally vulnerable a teenager is. The power dynamic in a student/teacher romance can potentially create emotional wounds that may never heal. Of course, with PLL, there is always a suspension of disbelief about emotional wounds because just really terrible and terrifying stuff is happening in every episode.

Ezra and Aria are currently not dating, but the show’s creators promise that they’re not over each other by a long shot. What do you think of this relationship? Is it handled well by the show? Does it overly romanticize an inappropriate relationship?

Season 4 of Pretty Little Liars premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

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