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You Take the Good, You Take the Lies: Is <i>Pretty Little Liars</i> the New <i>Facts of Life</i>?

Charlotte Rae, Mrs. Edna Garrett herself, made a surprise cameo last week on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, don't Eastland's goody two shows and Rosewood's little vixens have a lot of common? Sure, they come from different economic backgrounds, but both groups of girls know what it's like to feel that the world never seems to be living up to your dreams. And despite their scheming, the Liars do have good intentions while Edna's gang have juicy little secrets of their own. In fact, the closer we looked, the more we realized how similar the characters were.

Blair and Aria: Big Hair, Bad Choices
The one thing Aria and Blair have got going for them is a heart of gold (if you get past the intense amounts of eyeliner and mascara). When Hanna was mocked by mean jocks as she inhaled a box of piglet cupcakes, it was Aria who was there for her with a (hopefully non-fat) skinny vanilla latte. And when Blair learned that her grandfather was in the Ku Klux Klan, she ultimately refused to name the Eastland library in his honor. But let's not pretty little lie here, both of these girls aren't exactly geniuses when it comes to picking boyfriends. Aria's making out with her high school English teacher in limos (and in the woods, and his apartment, and anywhere else she can), while classy Blair dated a male stripper.

Natalie and Hanna: Ain't It Heavy
Hanna is the beautiful gorgeous blonde that you would expect her to be an airhead. But she's a graduate of fat camp, which gives her character more gravitas than the lame fat suits she wears during flashbacks. Natalie, on the other hand, simply accepts who she is and owns her plus-sized physique. Both girls often focus their energies on being a supportive friend. Hanna constantly encourages and inquires about Emily's relationship with Maya and goes so far as to invite Maya to the dance for Emily. Natalie is a shoulder for Tootie and the other Eastland girls to lean on when they need dry humor. Sadly, sometimes, bad things happen to them like being run over by a car and ending up hospitalized (Hanna) and getting sexually assaulted (Natalie). But even when bad things happen to them, they know how to hold their own. Like when Natalie boycotted the Sadie Hawkins dance or when Hanna danced with school nerd Lucas at Homecoming to satisfy A. As for parental issues... Hanna's mom steals from poor old ladies and Natalie had to deal with being adopted and figuring out who her biological parents. These girls have a lot on their plates, but their attitudes stay positive.

Tootie and Emily: Positive Reinforcement
Both girls are sweet and totally likable, but not necessarily the brightest bulbs. Emily didn't realize she was a lesbian until she saw Toby and thought, "Wow, if I'm not sexually attracted to him, then I must be gay." Tootie always wants to impress someone so she'll do things... stupid little things... harmless things like typing up fake love letters from camp counselors. Both of them have let alcohol get them in trouble (though in Emily's case, it was Hanna's flask, so we blame her). Neither girl has the best relationships with their parents. Tootie's mom is overbearing, while Emily's mother was responsible for getting Em's lesbian lover off to Camp Sober after catching her with pot. But although these girls have the roughest from among their respective groups, they're also good at what they do, be it acting or swimming. They also have special bonds with certain friends. Tootie's closest to Natalie because they're around the same age and face the similar small-minded discrimination. Emily's tight with Hanna, who's been nothing but a foundation of support for Em's new relationship.

Jo and Spencer: Keepin' It Real
Both of these young women ground their groups in the harsh realities of life, often having to be the practical ones. They work the hardest at their grades and at making their relationships work. Jo is crowned valedictorian in her class and Spencer is actively always trying to piece the puzzle together to nail A once and for all. But they certainly have family baggage. Jo has to deal with having an ex-con for a father while Spencer's dad encouraged her to be dishonest and throw a tennis match. It's those kinds of situations that make both of them realize how strong their values and morals are. And neither takes grief from anyone. Jo's from the mean streets of NYC and is the only one who really stands up to Blair, while flashbacks revealed that Spencer put Alison in her place because "who is a leader without anyone to follow them?" But while Spencer supports her friends, like when she got museum tickets for Aria and her teacher boyfriend, Jo was often supported by her friends, like when Blair stood up for her when Jo's date was ragging on her at the golf course. Though when you think about it, neither has had the best luck with boys. Jo dated a guy that she ending up resenting when she found out he was rich, while Spencer dated poor (literally) hottie Alex who ended up resenting her for having money. They're tough broads with tough hearts, but we can't help but root for them.

Do you think Kelly was the A of Eastland? Was George Clooney the Ezra of Over Our Heads? Tell us what you think below!

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