The relationship between Paige and Emily on Pretty Little Liars — affectionately referred to as Paily — holds a special place in writer Joseph Dougherty’s heart. Luckily for Paily fans this means lots of Paily goodness when Pretty Little Liars resumes Season 4 in January.
Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with the PLL writer (and Ravenswood co-creator!) Joseph Dougherty to talk about all things Paily. And when we told him how much the Paily fans worship him, he humbly replied, “It’s a tough position to be in, but I will accept the responsibility.”
“The Paily thing has been very unexpected on all levels, but very satisfying,” he added. “Ever since I wrote the first kiss, it’s always been exciting and unexpected between those two. And the actors are so exciting. It’s such a pleasure to write those characters for them. When I want to feel self-important, I think it’s important for that relationship to be in front of viewers to see what that’s like.”
Of course, no one can forget how adorable Emily and Maya were as a couple — after all, Maya did turn her room into an ocean for Em — but the chemistry between these two Sharks was undeniable from the start.
“The feelings for Maya were very, very strong, but I was pleasantly surprised that people did take to Paige as rapidly as they did,” Joseph told us. “ I think everybody wants Emily to be happy. And I think they’re starting to identify them as a real couple.”
Emily and Paige are a real couple going through very real issues. When Emily injured her shoulder after narrowly escaping an attack from “A,” her hopes of swimming competitively for Stanford were dashed, along with her plan to live with Paige on campus. The girls nearly broke up in Season 4, Episode 9 (“Into the Deep”) after realizing a future together wasn’t so certain.
“It’s a factor of Shay [Mitchell] and Lindsey [Shaw]. They can play those scenes so well," he said. "They bring so much depth to them. It’s a pleasure to write scenes like that.”
By the end of the summer season, Emily and Paige’s relationship was back on track. They may not have forever, but they have right now. (We’re getting misty just thinking about their hoedown slow dance.) However, there are even more emotional Paily scenes coming up in Season 4.
In fact, Episode 19 (“Shadow Play”) — which the Pretty Little Liars scribe wrote directed — is a big one for Emily and Paige.
“I’m smiling now as you speak to me about it. There are some great Paily moments in there. I think there are unexpected moments, and without digging too big a hole for myself, I think a lot of the Paily fans are going to be very satisfied by what we’re doing.”
Joseph was so satisfied with how Episode 19 turned out, it inspired him to write a follow-up to his Kindle Worlds Paily story, The Yellow Sweater!
“Coming off [Episode 19] and working with those characters again, I’m going to try and have another one of those before the end of the year. It’s going to be another Paily story. I’m mostly doing this to satisfy myself. I’m being very selfish about this, particularly after doing — oh, Lindsey just popped up on my screensaver! — but yes, I was inspired by what happens in this episode and working with those characters again. I want to continue what I started in The Yellow Sweater. So we’re going to go a little further into that, and I’m going to try and get it done this year.”
Regardless of where Paily ends up in Season 4, we just want to see Emily be happy. She’s been one of “A”’s main targets since the series began. Not to mention Ali put her through more than enough emotional torture. As long as Emily can find happiness, then there may be hope yet for the other Little Liars.
What do you think, Pretty Little Liars fans? Do you want to see Emily and Paige together forever? And are you excited for Episode 19? Sound off in the comments!
Catch the Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Halloween special on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fan-girl for all things Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time. She speaks fluent geek. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!