Let's talk about Pretty Little Liars, and other books-to-tv

As I was inhaling Pretty Little Liars the other night (heretofore known as PLL, or plllllllllll) I realized I was fighting these random pangs of something that felt like jealousy. What? Why was I jealous of a television show? (Note: at first I just thought it was because they use The Pierces as their opening music. I love The Pierces!) Well, think about it. I am the ripe old age of 31 (today, actually! Happy birthday to me!). When I was 14 I would have capital-L Loved PLL. I'm sure, too I would have loved Gossip Girl, and the various made-for-tv or DVD versions of other bestselling teen series. Idda been all over Twilight, maybe. (Maybe not? I had a tendency to dislike things that the masses liked just for the sake of being contrary. Like, I hated No Doubt.)

But did those catered-to-teens shows exist when I was 14? Nope. They did not. My generation decidedly did not have the buying power--or probably even the sheer numbers, though I should look that up--that today's tweeners have, 90210-themed bedsheets and boardgames notwithstanding. (Yep, I was a 90210-holic, along with everyone else. But that's the exception to this blog post, I think.) The YA and middle grade market was just beginning its explosion. I was on the cusp. I could watch Saved by the Bell and California Dreams, but I couldn't watch my favorite books--the ones that were written to reach me!--on screen yet. I couldn't participate in any type of cultural phenomenon; I couldn't be part of a widespread community of people who obsessed over the same characters and plotlines I did. None of that existed yet.

So, I'm jealous. I get to watch and read PLL (and enjoy them!), but it's not really the same. It's not meant for me; I've lived most of those lessons already; I know how they turn out, and I've come to terms with it. You teens and tweens today are lucky. Remember that. Remember it when my generation is old and needs your money to help pay for our nursing home fees. Remember that you had near-limitless options when it came to entertainment as a teen, and we--well, we were stuck with no email, no cell phones, and tapered jeans.