Troian Bellisario Speaks Out for Teen Shows - Why Do They Get Snubbed?

Troian Bellisario Speaks Out for Teen Shows - Why Do They Get Snubbed?

Troian Bellisario has written a thought-provoking piece for THR about the merits of shows made for young people, and how they are so often overlooked.

The 28-year-old actress is careful not to compare Pretty Little Liars to any other show, but talks about the fact that teenage shows rarely get nominated for awards.

“Everyone says this is the golden age of television. There are so many wonderful shows, with new ideas and characters that push the envelope. There is an abundance of quality artists using their talents in this medium rather than just in film. And there are so many different ways to tell a story, a variety of styles and genres all being celebrated and explored,” Troian wrote. “So why is it that with all the different types of shows being recognized this Emmy season, the ones like mine, ‘teen shows,’ are written off as fluff? Guilty pleasures that are too youthful to exhibit accolade-worthy material. What if they are telling good stories too, just in a different way?”

Troian continued, “I’m not comparing our show to any other show, I’m not comparing myself to any other actor (especially not Bryan Cranston —please God, no!), but as someone on a teen soap I can tell you that I work with a cast and crew that searches for those same human truths, and who strives to convey those truths with compelling depth and excellence. We are just beholden to a different style of storytelling. And that is also worthy of serious consideration.”

To read the rest of Troian‘s piece, head over to

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Pretty Little Liars, Troian Bellisario
  • Kate

    seriously you are too full of yourself troain.

  • good-one

    So what is actually worthy of critical acclaim within the generally marginalized herd of culturally-enforced banality otherwise known as today’s youth?

    Maybe attempt a breakout? Oh yeah, that’s right — too risky. Might upset the apple cart.

  • Gemma

    You can’t expect a television show where someone walks around in a black hoodie jumping on ambulances and stalking teenage girls through texts messages, to win any big awards. I’m sorry but its just not happening. Not to mention the writing on PLL is ridiculous. I still love it but it is in no way quality television.

  • joan

    I agree with Troian and it’s something I’ve been thinking for a while not with her show but in general with teen movies or teen tv shows. I think it is not fair to them or the team who compose a television product.

  • Jen

    @Gemma: I agree. It’s a guilty pleasure; it’s funny at times, but after awhile the way they deliver the “b*tches” to certain quotes feels fake now. I think anyone who watches the show likes the characters and wants to see the mystery unfold, and when they turn off their TV when it’s over they might go “ooh tonight was so good, or tonight’s was cheesy but next week looks so good” etc. That doesn’t mean anyone says “wow, seriously, the writing on this show is incredible” or “OMG! She killed that scene”. It doesn’t happen. A lot of the time it’s banter between the girls, or the girls diverting the truth with a lot of bulging stares, stutters, etc. Don’t even get me started on how Emily interacts with everyone on the show. She reminds me of Kristen Stewart at times. Despite my qualms with the show, it’s still one of my favorites lol..weird, I know. I hear what Troi is saying, but PLL isn’t a show I would consider getting nominated for an Emmy. As for another thing, hasn’t “Teen Wolf” been considered for a nomination before? I think the academy has acknowledged PLL before, but didn’t consider it for possible nomination.

  • Jen

    @joan: I respectively disagree. I don’t think it’s about being “fair”. When a movie comes out and two actors get nominated or just the director get nominated and non of the actors, the team doesn’t go “that wasn’t fair”. Being nominated is receiving an honor; it’s not about making sure the whole class gets a cupcake. They don’t have to give a nomination to every show…it’s not even possible to do so. PLL is a good show, the storytelling is sometimes clever and sometimes cheesy. Do they put a lot of work into the episode even if it’s cheesy? Yes. Should get get an award if it’s cheesy? No. None of the actors have showed even depth of their acting ability to receive anything more than a Teen Choice Award nom. That’s not to say they’re bad actors, it’s just…the writers write a show for entertainment yes, but they never even delve hard enough into one storyline before popping up something else. Does that keep it entertaining? Yes, but does it truly create character growth to depth? No. The show is a mystery and it’s fun, but it’s not Emmy Award worthy nor Emmy Nominee worthy.

  • LD

    Because they have terrible writing and actors

  • Effy

    Pretty Little Liars hasn’t been goof for a year or two. It’s the same thing every episode – the girls run into drama and they run around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s not award worthy.

  • Isabel

    Because those shows are fluff. She’s insane if she thinks Pretty Little Liars would ever stand a chance next to the series that actually do get nominated.

  • Diedre

    Because shows like ‘Pretty Little Liars’ are crap and don’t deserve awards.

  • Stephanie

    Teen shows like Degrassi do get Emmy nominations in the children’s programming category.

  • daniel

    honestly,the only reason I watch pll is BECAUSE OF TROIAN.
    I genuenlly think she’s the only one who can act in this show.
    but besides that,I’m totally aware to the fact that I’m watching a terrible show.

    I’m sorry but this show should have ended on the second season,third one top.that’s it.

    The writing is in no way good,and the actors..let me talk about the main ones-you want emmy,ok,why don’t you start with making girls kissing look real?it’s like they counting the seconds until they have to passion,nothing,I understand you might get told to go slow with gay kisses cause it’s abc Family and it’s still a teen show,but if you don’t,than that’s just terrible..

    Shay and Ashley CAN’T ACT.I’m sorry but they can’t,it’s not even average acting.everyone say so(I don’t mean the hard core pll fans that goes insane for every IG pic they upload..ofcourse they’ll say they good.)
    Lucy is ok,I’ll be honest..all the rest,god I mean it EVERY SINGLE actor there beside Troian and Lucy can’t act.they speak like robots.
    The actress that plays Alison was nice on the last epsoide of the fourth season..

    And the plot,well..the plot.this show could have been something nice about how social media runs over,or how girls act nowadays,and the effect of bullying and feeling diffrent,but clear message.just episodes about how to girls go crazy for every guy they see.that’s it.oh cute guy.but I have a boyfriend.oh but I won’t have a bf in 2 episodes so..

    every single epsoide is THE can skip 10 epsoides and you won’t even feel 4 season,those girls,sorry I mean 1 girl discovered maybe 2 really meaningful things.

    It’s not really fun to watch anymore..u just see it now cause you watched 4 season so your not gonna stop no..

    I absolutely agree that teen shows should be nomenaited for an Emmy,there’s great shows and great actors,but when it comes to pll..
    I wanted to say this thing for a while,because god it’s really bad..
    like I said,Troian makes her character very interesting.I won’t be surprised if it’s her asking the writes to breakdown Spencer all the time haha.

  • cami

    I wish some of you guys would listen to the heart of her argument which is that some shows and actors are completely disregarded because they fall in the teen category. If you bothered to read the rest of what she said you know that she said she was NOT comparing herself or PLL to the shows she mentioned or even saying she or it deserved an award. There are some shows and actors while the writing is completely crap the actors are still consistently doing well. Good writing on a show can disguise terrible acting.

  • nat

    Agreed with what Troian has to say! For the record, she’s not saying that she or her television show should be nominated, but that there are plenty of quality television shows meant for teens that get overlooked simply because they are meant for teens.

  • Noe

    I understand she isn’t solely speaking on PLL getting the cold shoulder on nominations, but she has to understand that shows like her own are “fluff”. Most teen shows stretch out their simple story lines so much, that it’s no longer compelling or a good show. The acting mostly is OK at best, but that can partially be explained by the poor writing. Overall, her statement is complete rubbish in my eyes because when I compare most teen shows to shows that I really love such as The Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad, they always fall short.

  • Isabella

    I couldn’t agree more. I am 34 and got into the show while on materinity leave. I do not feel guilty at all for liking the show, although of course I can’t really relate to a 16-year old girls problems anymore. Good that the parents get a storyline or two in it ;o) I think it’s exciting and fun and I love the fashion too (again, maybe I could not wear it all anymore but still…;) The story is written well and they are all good actors too. That should be acknowledged. Just my two cents here