All proposals make me cry, whether they’re in television, in real life, or imagined between my best friends, who have been together for over seven years. Even proposals for television characters I only met a few weeks ago make me tear up. And that’s how I found myself grabbing the tissues during Pretty Little Liars finale "Til DeAth Do Us Part," when longtime shipped duo and newly-minted co-parents Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) finally made things official and got engaged. Yet, there was one big problem during the romantic moment, and no, of course it wasn’t Ali’s magnificent pug sweater. The problem is the exact reason Ali actually wants to marry Emily, and the bizarre stipulation she added to their lives together. So, let’s dig into the details of this meant-to-be-romantic moment.
After seven Pretty Little Liars seasons of stalking, bullying, and the constant threat of murder, Emily is correct to be paranoid about, well, everything. Her Spidey senses go off at Aria’s rehearsal dinner, when she catches her mom Pam Fields (Nia Peeples) having a secret conversation with Ali. The athletic coach immediately assumes a nefarious plot is afoot and demands answers from Ali, who’s just trying to wear cool PJs in peace. Since Emily won’t allow Ali and her pug clothing to live, the teacher is forced to reveal she got Emily’s grandmother’s engagement ring from Pam, and was planning an uber-romantic proposal. With the proverbial cat out of the bag she has to "just wing it."
"When I was at my most lonely and unhappy and angry place, you loved me. When I was an ugly human being, you saw a beautiful soul," Ali tells Emily. "You make the world a better place because you see the good in it. And you made me a better woman because you searched for one." This is all very sweet, but there’s a huge issue here. These are all pretty self-obsessed reasons to love someone. Ali’s entire proposal is about how Emily has taken care of her, not how she plans to take care of Emily, or make the other woman happy for the rest of her life. The entire speech essentially boils down to "I love you because you love me so much." Even the sole compliment Ali gives Emily — about making the world a better place for seeing the good in it — "world" and "place" could easily be switched out for "me" and "person." A marriage isn’t a self-help project, it’s a two-sided partnership.
Before you say I’m being too hard on Ali, you have to remember the side-eye-worthy caveat she gave Emily before slipping her own grandmother’s ring on her finger. “Do you promise to do that every day for the rest of our lives?“ she asks. The “that“ in her request is Emily’s earlier mentioned task of turning Ali into a better woman all day, every day. So now the former Rosewood queen bee is straight-out demanding Emily keeps up the good work until they're in their seventies. Again, there’s no mention of what Ali will be giving Emily in this relationship.
With rampant rumours flying of Emily and Ali joining a stealthy Pretty Pretty Liars spin-off, I. Marlene King-developed The Perfectionists, let's hope we get stone cold proof Emison's marriage isn't the one-sided nightmare Ali literally proposed.
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