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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Teacher/Student Question

This week’s Pretty Little Liars had Aria’s dad jealous of Mr. Fitz because of how much Mrs. Montgomery admires him. Aria’s dad was mean to Mr. Fitz and defamed him as shallow to his daughter. Aria passionately defended him and seemed really upset. Where has Aria’s dad been? Such an attachment to a teacher is rare (most of our teachers elicit a nice “meh” from us). And has Aria’s dad forgotten that one scene where Aria’s brother talked about how Mr. Fitz was rumored to be having an affair with a student? That would be our first memory the next time the name “Ezra Fitz” came up. Doi. No wonder Aria is so dumb. She got it from her father’s dumb seed.

Anyway, thinking about Aria and Mr. Fitz made us wonder…have these two actually slept together? She’s at her apartment a lot, but we’ve never gotten confirmation. Cue Google. This is what we found: The actor who plays Mr. Fitz, Ian Harding, thinks that Aria and Mr. Fitz have a “once in a lifetime relationship” (barf). He went on to say, “"I feel like if that [sex] were to come about, if their relationship were to progress in a physical manner, it would have to be under certain circumstances. I feel like it was implied at one point....I remember there was a phone call Aria made to say she was sleeping over at Spencer’s, and she wasn’t. So I think they slept in the same apartment, yes...their relationship isn’t completely puppy love, but it isn’t something we would see on True Blood." (Source: TV Fanatic) So, is that a maybe? Leaning more toward maybe not? Implied, but maybe it has already happened off screen?

Better information comes from Executive Producer Marlene King who said that they’ve left it ambiguous on purpose so the fans can decide if they’ve had sex or not. Like the spinning top in Inception! So clever! (sarcasm). She added that their romance is more romantic than physical.

This is why we are disappointed with Pretty Little Liars. It wants its cake and to eat it too. It wants to have girls fall in love with this perfect little romance, but it wants to avoid the hard questions. It wants to avoid having young girls see how inappropriate the relationship is. It’s a sensitive subject, and the show doesn’t want to go there. It wants to stay in the realm of romantic fantasy.

But since they posed the question to the viewer and the level of sexuality the viewer is comfortable with imagining, we will ponder it. We think that, in the real world, a pair like this would have had sex. As much as we hate them, they are both pretty hot and a physical relationship would be hard to resist. Also, what would an adult teacher be doing spending so much time dating a student, eschewing other women, when there wasn’t at least the future hope of sex. We think they would go there in real life. In the show? Yeah, they probably haven’t had sex, because on TV, people can be perfect and responsible like that.

Do you think they’ve done it?


  1. So I SWEAR I posted a comment on this, but apparently I didn't.

    I don't watch this show, so maybe I'm not qualified to answer, but this topic is one that frustrates me endlessly. I am a big proponent of "teachers are like everyone else", and I hate that they're held to this crazy standard and get fired for things they do outside the workplace. A kindergarten teacher who was fired for getting pregnant before marriage. A teacher who was a stripper in a far-away town just to pay her bills was fired.

    But this, this behavior makes me angry. As teachers, they ARE held to a certain standard. They ARE sorta role models, and they ARE authority figures. To have an out-of-school relationship with a student, period, crosses lines. It changes the dynamics. You get your schemas wacked (thanks, Psych class).

    But what is really wrong is the "romantic" relationship between a teacher and a student. It feels like an abuse of power. A healthy relationship has two people who are equal within the relationship. A teacher and a student, even if both were adults, naturally has a dominant person.

    But most importantly, I never understand the age gaps. I can see what a teenage girl sees in a grown man, but I cannot see what a grown man sees in a teenage girl (other than the physical). Same with the other way around, grown woman, teenage boy. I'm sorry, it's just not going to work.

    And, I'll admit, I find it gross.

  2. "A healthy relationship has two people who are equal within the relationship. A teacher and a student, even if both were adults, naturally has a dominant person."

    This is a perfect verbal expression of the problem. When power structures get out-of-whack, it messes with peoples' heads and opens the door for confusion and abuse. Even if, like on this show, people start out all nice and respectful of each other, relationships are deeper and more intricate than that. The relationship will not allow for honest, selfless love to stay and flourish in and abuse-of-power situation.

    We agree that teachers should not be saints. But they should always shoot for the mental health and well-being of their charges.