50 Bananpants Moments the New “Pretty Little Liars” Will Never Be Able to Recreate

HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars spin-off/reboot, Original Sin, lands this Thursday. It’s going to be queer! Riese sussed out the details in July’s streaming guide: “Trans actor Jordan Gonzalez plays trans character Ash, the head of the school’s LGBTQIA+ group and the love interest of main character Minnie (Maria Pyles), a queer teen who escapes her childhood trauma by engaging in virtual worlds. Lea Salonga plays Minne’s gay Mom and Kim Berrios Lin plays her other Mom!”

As excited as I am for a whole new generation of real life queers to be creeped out by a whole new generation of fictional queers, I know in my heart the first series can never be topped. Yes, it let us down in the end — but there were truly miraculous totally bananpants moments that will never be recreated. Here are 50 of them.

1. The time A put bees in Ella Montgomery’s car. Not just in the car, though. INSIDE THE AIR CONDITIONING VENTS. They didn’t come flying out until the car was on and the doors were locked.

2. Jason DiLaurentis getting an entirely new face and no one ever even mentioning it.

3. “Don’t be scared, Spence. We’re all family here. Some more than others.” (You know, because of when Spencer got the hots for New Face Jason and then found out he was her BROTHER.)

4. The SNAKE that attacked Spencer in a BOUTIQUE DRESSING ROOM and which CeCe Drake BEAT TO DEATH with a MANNEQUIN LEG.

Spencer panics on the floor while CeCe beats a snake with a mannequin leg

5. Tippi the Bird, Alison’s former grey parrot, who sang a phone number as a clue. The phone number went to a landline in the attic of a sorority house where the witch lived who pulled Alison from her grave the night her own mother buried her alive.

6. Alison stayed alive because she was good at “holding her breath,” something the Liars casually mentioned when remembering the summer she disappeared. “Remember how good she got at holding her breath?”

7. When Emily had to kill her second dead girlfriend’s pretend cousin on top of a lighthouse.

8. When she reminded people of this by literally saying “You may have heard I killed a guy.”

9. The absolutely nonsensical literary references. “Hey Em, you weren’t the only one with great expectations. Check it out. Xoxo.” And “Do it right. I’ll be watching. Just like Tom Sawyer.” And “You can read East of Eden over the weekend for extra credit!” And the literal glasses of Dr. TJ Eckleberg.

10. The fact that Alison got her PILOT’S LICENSE and flew a whole entire plane around the country both before and after she died. Oftentimes while wearing a mask of her own face over her regular face.

11. My god, the masks.

Three PLL mask examples: Alison (Red Coat), baby face zombie, and Emily Fields

12. One Halloween, Ashley Marin was visited by twin ghosts who may or may not have been the little dead DiLaurentises before they were resurrected.

13. Also on Halloween, on a train, Aria met Adam Lambert and then got locked in a box with Officer Garrett’s corpse. It was a school trip.

14. One casual evening, A drove a whole entire car into Emily’s living room.

15. The time A made Hanna eat a whole box of pig-shaped cupcakes while texting her about her sweet tooth and “OINK! OINK!”

16, And then the time Hanna’s literal tooth had a tiny piece of paper rolled up and sealed inside it, all, “I told you, dead girls can’t smile. Stop looking.”

17. Act Normal, Bitch  — the motto A flashed up on the marquee in Rosewood High school the night the building came to life and tried to murder Emily, before her dad scaled a wall, climbed in a window, and saved her.

A sign that says "ACT NORMAL, BITCH"

18. “DEAD GIRLS CAN’T SMILE.” (The note from A that came with the NECKLACE MADE OF HUMAN TEETH that supposedly belonged to Alison, her dead ex-girlfriend.)

19. The fact that there were one million barns within driving distance of Rosewood, PA.

20. The fact that every teen was constantly getting murdered and buried in the DiLaurentis’ backyard, but their parents kept going out of town and leaving the home alone anyway.

21. That time A buried a pair of boots that looked like the Liars’ therapist’s boots, and had them digging frantically to save her life (right outside of a barn) — but actually it was just the boots. No therapist was attached to them.


Mona showing the Liars around her glamping party / Emily and Aria with BIG glamping hair

23. The way Emily could never be horny in peace! “Hey Em! I’ve been replaced. You’ve found another friend to kiss.” “Did you get a goodnight kiss? Here’s one from me. Xo…” “Now I know TWO secrets. Hanna got dissed…and Emily got KISSED!”

24. Before the show started, the Liars literally blinded one of their classmates. At one point, she got an entirely new pair of eyeballs and could see again. But then those eyes also were sabotaged by the Liars.

25. Ali wore the same dress to her mom’s funeral that her mom wore to her funeral, which does make a weird kind of sense due to them both being buried IN THE SAME BACKYARD GRAVE.

26. At one point, Caleb was living in the literal walls of Rosewood High because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.

27. Which, frankly, is still not as creepy as the place Mona Vanderwaal was choosing to hang out. A place she affectionately referred to as her “lair.”

28. Ravneswood.

28. The time Spencer stole some Cheetos from Hanna’s purse to bribe a raccoon.

The PLL Cheeto-chomping raccoon


30. “Call off your techno-boy-toy or I tell the cops what your mom keeps in the lasagna box.” (You know, for when your mom robs the bank she works at and stashes the money in the pasta in your pantry.)

31. “What will you do when the rest of me comes out of the grave?” is the message A sent to Spencer to let her know the wedding dress belt (?) she was wearing while running around in the woods getting caught in bear traps was held together with Alison’s dead finger bones.

32. One time, Emily and Aria went into the woods in the middle of the night to break into the cabin of a man whose literal job was making creepy masks — which he did alone, in the woods, okay — and to buy Aria some time to “investigate,” Emily gave the mask man her perfect face.

33. Every single outfit Aria ever wore.

Aria in three unhinged outfits

34. After running under Hanna with her car at her own birthday party, Mona — as A — sneaked into the hospital and signed her cast “my bad.”

35. #PoorEzra, a hashtag Freeform tried to make happen for “poor Ezra,” a man who seduced a teenage girl to get information to write his true crime novel about the disappearance of this whole other teenage girl he had also seduced.

36. #PoorEzra’s book deal.

37. This dance.

38. Alison suggesting there was such a thing as “liking Beyonce too much.”

39. The greatest reveal in the entire series history was when Ezra sent Aria to town to buy a can of chickpeas — and after she left, he opened up the kitchen cabinet, and the music went completely ham, because sitting there, on the shelf, right at eye level was A CAN OF CHICKPEAS.

40. The main thing the Liars kept getting arrested for was owning shovels.

41. The time Nana Marin sang the National Anthem at field day. (Spencer: “Why is your grandmother singing?” Hanna: “BECAUSE SHE CAN.”)

Betty Buckley as Nana Marrin singing the National Anthem

42. So many dolls. Dolls with keys hidden in their heads, dolls wearing little Alison masks, dolls with clues in their stuffing, dolls getting their hair brushed in the basement of the definitely up-to-code town insane asylum, dolls that looked like Bratz of each individual Liar, dolls in bedrooms, and dolls in shops, and dolls in lairs, and…

43. The off-the-cuff code-language Mona made up and used to communicate with the Liars while brushing her asylum dolls’ hair. Miss Aria You’re a Killer Not Ezra’s Wife. MAYA KNEW!

44. Jessica DiLaurentis adopted a dog who dug up her hand that time she got buried in Ali’s old grave in the backyard.

45. One time, while on a boat in the middle of the night in the middle of the lake, Hanna started worrying Lucas was A, so she threw him overboard and beat him to death with an oar.

Hanna drowning Lucas

46. The time Aria killed Shana by pushing her off a two-foot tall stage.

47. Shana’s funeral video that included edits for viewing the body from different angles.

48. “Bitch chipped us” is the thing Spencer said when she realized A had, quite literally, put chips in their brains.

49. The time Noel Kahn, that jokester, tripped over his ax and cut off his own head.

50. British Spencer (??) turned Wren’s ashes into a diamond (???) after she killed him (????) and now she wears him around her neck always.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Creepy Ezra aside, PLL was so delightful before it jumped the transphobic shark so I’m cautiously curious about this reboot. Who among the next generation will fall prey to adrenalized hyperreality?

  2. I mean, on the one hand, yes, it’ll be hard to top any of that. On the other hand, the new PLL has the same creator/showrunner as Riverdale, so if anything’s gonna give Original PLL a run for its money, it’s this!

  3. I have no intention of getting back on that rollercoaster and watching the new PLL, but that being said, if anyone recaps it I will READ EVERY WORD just so I can find out about whatever new bananapants thing is happening!

  4. If I may, you forgot the most iconic bananpants moment of PLL that was basically present in each episode of all seasons: i.e. the moment when at least one of the liars was suggeting to call the police because something had happen and the suggestion was immeditaly dropped based on BS and unrational reasons (so that the liars could be immeditelty considered suspects or somehow involved in the crime…)

  5. I can’t remember when i stopped watching PLL (maybe when Paige was still Emily’s girlfriend?) but absolutely nothing could prepare me for the gem that is this article (i only recently heard about the terrible ending they had. aria shouldve been A in my opinion). like, if that’s where i ended, please imagine me coming into this and getting to 5. and seeing “the witch lived” which, admittedly i kind of just let happen because i was like okay there’s some magic they pulled in here, but to see “who may or may not have been the little dead DiLaurentises before they were resurrected.” that is where i started to go, oh, this is my fault for trying to make this show ever make sense. and i think you implied there were like…..multiple resurrections?? people keep being buried in only one person’s backyard? THEY WERE CHIPPED??? THERE WERE DEAD FINGER BONES USED FOR UTILITY LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING i am *so* close to deciding to just watch the whole thing all the way through just because of this article and i thank you but also am a little mad at you for it. like do i really need this type of nonsense back in my life? (probably yes, but at what cost?!)

  6. Thank you, Heather. This article totally made my week. There’s so much to choose from, but I think CeCe Drake beating the snake to death with the mannequin leg will always be my favorite thing. I remember laughing hysterically when it aired, and then laughing even harder when I read your recap.

    (Also, I had completely forgotten about Tippi the Bird!!)

  7. Heather, you have no idea how much I loved this. Your PLL recaps literally introduced me to SO MUCH queer TV. I miss them still, so this was amazing.

    And I laughed till I cried.

    Also I called one of my birds Tippi.

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