I started watching Twisted a couple of months ago because I saw the first season was on Netflix and I love/hate myself. The Fosters/Pretty Little Liars were on winter hiatus and I live in the cold winter hellscape that is New York City so I decided *this* was the perfect time to binge watch eleven episodes of Twisted. It was a good decision.
Twisted is about three childhood best friends living in Westchester, NY: Jo, Lacey and Danny. When they’re 11, they’re all hanging out in Danny’s backyard– playing on the swing set and generally doing kid things– when Danny straight up kills his aunt with a jump rope. THAT’S HOW THE SHOW BEGINS! Danny goes to juvie and Lacey and Jo are now expected to be pre-teen girls in middle school. Lacey tries to be strong and to forget how her best friend murdered an adult with a jump rope so she, of course, dedicates herself to being the most popular girl in school! Jo just gets PTSD and becomes an emo teen with curly hair and army-surplus clothes.
Five years later, a now-16 Danny is out of juvie and returns to Westchester– the fictional Green Grove, to be precise. Everybody in high school is scared of him because only a sociopath would kill their aunt with a jump rope but also, he’s really hot, so naturally everybody wants to bang him (including Jo and Lacey: love triangle!). Which, since it’s high school, is more important than murder. Plus, like: he’s really sweet, mysterious and tortured!
^Here’s Danny being a tortured teen.
THEN– exactly two days after Danny gets out of juvie one of Lacey’s friends (who is named Regina and is a lot like Regina George from Mean Girls) gets brutally murdered. Hm, who could it be??? Hm, maybe it’s the SOCIOPATH THAT JUST GOT OUT OF JAIL FOR KILLING HIS AUNT WITH A JUMP ROPE WHEN HE WAS 11? Yeah, that’s pretty much what everyone in Green Grove thinks too.
That’s essentially the set up for the show. Except it’s ABC Family so there’s more murder, a LOT of blackmail, a LOT of making out and a LOT of unrequited hormonal, teenage love. For the entire show you’re wondering whether Danny really is a sociopath (despite the fact that he’s hella cute) or if he’s just a *misunderstood murderer.* He’s the protagonist so you’re supposed to like him but there’s something about him you just don’t trust. That’s a lot to think about for an ABC Family show.
Another thing I like about this show is that the parents are actually interesting characters. Denise Richards plays Danny’s ice queen mom who will do anything to make sure her son doesn’t go to jail again including– gasp– murder. Then there’s Jo’s dad, the overly suspicious Chief of Police who wants to nail Danny to the wall. Then there’s Jo’s mom, who’s weirdly enough this weed smoking hippie mom who makes a lot of pottery and talks about her feelings. Most teen shows try to create story-lines featuring the parents and usually they are supremely uninteresting. Twisted‘s ABC Family predecessor The Lying Game had trouble with this. I just don’t care about 30 year-old Charisma Carpenter in a TV show about evil teen twins. Twisted doesn’t have this problem. The adult story-lines and the teen story-lines interweave in a compelling way.
I’m writing this now because Twisted just finished its winter run and the finale was incredible. The second season had its ups and downs. The writers solved the murder of the first season clumsily and it had a lot of “Really, Twisted?” eyebrow-raising moments but it ended on a badass note. I think I gasped four times which, luckily, my roommates are used to this kind of thing.
Really: Twisted is cerebral lite. Complex enough for you to keep watching but soapy enough to have a damn good time not leaving your house for an entire weekend. Just go along with some of the crazy story-lines. Let the show carry you along with it and try not to be like: “THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE!” Because, no, no it wouldn’t. This is ABC Family, not reality. Just let this be you and hopefully Twisted won’t be cancelled: