ABC Family’s hit “Pretty Little Liars” and its spinoff “Ravenswood” returned Tuesday night, bringing 3.17 million and 1.69 million cume ratings, respectively. While the shows don’t receive say, “Duck Dynasty” numbers, they have a fiercely loyal fan group of girls, their parents, their older siblings, and others in a range of age demographics who feverishly Tweet, Instagram and make Pinterest boards devoted to the shows. In honor of the shows’ return, we asked “Liars” and “Ravenswood” co-creator I. Marlene King to share her thoughts on the upcoming seasons, the show’s popularity and what scares her most (hint: she’s used them as plot devices). SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T CAUGHT UP ON “PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.”
Last night’s episode of “Pretty Little Liars” introduced these “bizarro” Liars: Girls from a nearby town who also lost a blonde friend. Will we be seeing more of that story line this season?
That was fun. It’s not something we’re going to see in the next few episodes, but it’s definitely we’re continuing to play with. We love that sort of parallel story.
Both “Liars” and “Ravenswood” have used blondes in red coats. Why did you gravitate toward this, twice?
When we revealed that Mona (Janel Parrish) was on the A Team [in “Pretty Little Liars,”] that black hoodie was such an iconic Mona image. We realized there was an uber A out there. We wanted an image that was different from the black hoodie but was still striking. We just sort of brainstormed and that’s what we came up with. It’s a great second iconic image on it. There’s at least one creepy little girl [in “Ravenswood”] maybe two. There were two coats.
The two little coats came from this image I saw online that was an homage to the little girls in “The Shining.” I saw this image of these two blonde little girls and they looked like miniature Alisons (Sasha Pieterse) in these Victorian, Edwardian red coats. That really was the beginning of the red coat, the chase to find out what would be our red coat.
To me, there’s nothing scarier than creepy children. Dolls and creepy children are very scary.
The shows are obviously intended for a younger demographic, yet they have an older fan base. How do you relate to both audiences?
It’s always been a personal philosophy of mine to not write these girls as teenagers. We never say what would a teenager do or what would a teenager say. Because of that, they have very adult problems and lead very adult lives and they’re very relatable to adults. And certainly the mystery has become more sophisticated as the show continues to grow. It’s that sophisticated mystery that keeps our older audience coming back. And our parents are fantastic too. The mother-daughter stories; the father-daughter stories. I thought the Laura Leighton story [between her character Ashley and Ashley Benson, who plays her daughter Hanna] last year I thought was a fun, grownup story too. I think there’s something for everybody. We keep telling these stories because we love these characters and everything seems to fall into place.