*Hard: "Watch your ass. Keep an eye on your drink, don't go upstairs at the frat house, don't walk down scary streets in the middle of the night. Carry a weapon."
Mean: "You have the right to do whatever you want, and we'll just hope nothing bad happens. And if it does, we'll get to be outraged some more!"
Hard: "No. Reality is reality. Bad things happen that don't need to happen. Use your head."
Mean: "Stop blaming the victim!"
Hard: "There isn't a victim yet. Obviously if something happens, God forbid, we'll deal with that. This rule applies only beforehand. Don't jump the gun just because you want everything to be a simple mental exercise."
Mean: "Stop being mean! I want the imaginary world where I can do whatever I want to be real!"
Hard: "I'm not being mean. I also fervently wish for that world and I would like to help bring it about. But right now is also real, realer by a great margin in fact, so grow up. Fight the actual fight, not the sheltered pretend hypothetical fight."
Mean: "But my dreamworld uninformed by logic! College is a very exciting time for a young person! If you don't know anything for sure, then everything is up for debate!"
Hard: "And yet somehow I'm the asshole here."
Anyway, given those things -- the show's declaration of their couplehood in this season, the removal of the legal squick, the actual movement forward of them both as people for once -- I was very curious to see what the response would be, to what I saw as the show's intent to recreate them as an actual, no-shame couple. The way legalizing their situation and taking it out of the shadows changes everything about the way the show operates; the way the Montgomerys will have to deal with it now; the effect it will have on Ella and Byron and Mike; the fact that Ezra now goes from being Aria's Big Secret to solely being a loved one who must be protected from the Secrets. Fascinating, I think.
What I forgot, what I always forget, is the shippers. And you know how I feel about that. Likewise the antishippers, who are as obsessed with hating on a particular couple, sometimes moreso, than they are passionately interested in a given couple. Either way, it's shipping and it's dumb. And not to say that Ezria are not totally boring, because a lot of the time they are, but it has its place in the story and it is a good thing to have on the show:
This belief that she's somehow exempt because she's so much artsier and mature than her fellows, that's a major part of what Aria's all about. In terms of her family, in fact, it's even more central, because the irony of her rather mature/boring relationship just makes her giddy, cheating parents look dumber, which is fascinating. Take away the Ezra thing, just because you don't like the couple or don't think they have "chemistry" (which is a made-up and completely subjective quantity the majority of the time and corresponds to your ship anyway) and you basically have no Aria to speak of. It's knitted into her character, which character is central to the story regardless of how she acts or dresses.