Younger is about to return for season five, and with all of your favorite television shows getting axed, we highly recommend binge-watching all five seasons to drown your sorrows.
In case you’re new, the basic storyline of Younger can be summed up with this:
When a recently divorced 40-year-old mother Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) is left in a financial hole due to her ex-husband’s gambling addiction all the while her teenage daughter Caitlin (Tessa Albertson) is studying abroad in India, she must figure out how to support her and her daughter basically by herself. Thanks to her ex-husband, she has lost their house in New Jersey and her savings. She decides to follow dreams she had in college about working in publishing, but what happens when 40-year-old tries to get back in the workforce? — You probably guessed it.
Liza quickly finds out how hard it is to get back into the workforce at 40. She moves in with her best friend Maggie (Debi Mazar) in one of the most gentrified places in New York City–Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While at a bar with Maggie, they meet 26-year-old tattoo artist, Josh, (Nico Tortorella) who takes a liking to Liza very quickly but the catch is, he thinks she’s the same age as him. After rejection after rejection in her search to get back into the workforce, Maggie comes up with the idea to give Liza a makeover and pass as a 26-year-old who graduated from Dartmouth and spent four years after college working on a novel. It somehow works and she becomes an assistant to Diana Trout (Miriam Shor) at the New York publishing company, Empirical Press. She befriends Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff) and starts living the life of a 26-year-old along with the parties and adventures that come along with it. And everyone (including her new co-workers and friend) except for Maggie who concocted the idea, believes it.
Four seasons later, twist after turn, Liza continues trying to build the success of her own at 40-something all the while trying to hide the secret of her age. We won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it, but the task alone of pretending to be a 20-something in the age of social media does not always go well.
For fans of Younger, the witty comedy and topical plotlines get you every time. For newbies, here’s why you should start binge-watching or get caught up right away before season 5 premieres on June 5.
Here it goes!
You come for the storyline and stay for the characters.
One aspect Younger shines in is in character development. Each character in the series is uniquely them and allows the viewer to easily be able to identify with someone they can see themselves in. Whether you yourself are trying to be the next young person to move to New York City and be taken seriously in your industry like Kelsey or trying to turn back the clock like Liza, there’s a character for you. You have Kelsey, the girl trying to prove a name for herself and become the next big thing in publishing at only 26-years-old. There’s Lauren Heller (Molly Bernard), the social media savvy girl who’s just trying to figure life out. Liza, and everything in between.
From the moment Liza and Kelsey meet, you have a feeling they could be lifelong friends and seems like that translates to off-screen as well. That whole age secret aside, the friendship between them shows that women can work together while empowering and supporting each other through every milestone. Liza becomes a support system for Liza and the two of them even go on to start their own imprint through their publishing called Millennial Print and try to make a name for themselves ‘early’ in both of their careers.
Creating great characters, of course, is not new for the creator and executive producer of the series, Darren Star. In case you didn’t know, Darren Star is also responsible for hit series’ like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City.
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In a previous interview, Darren Star had this to say about this story.
“I think the show completely works on it’s own. Most TV shows are about strong characters and strong actors, and we certainly have those. Right now, there’s an element to this show that’s based on the premise of this woman and how important having work is to her and what she has to overcome just with the prejudices of ageism, and I think that’s still real in this character. This is a show that’s also about relationships, but it’s also about people who love their work and find it important to them. They have a real love of their jobs and they have real passion for their jobs, and I think in Liza’s case, it all started because it was like, if I have to lie to do work that I love then I’ll do that, so I don’t think that part of the equation has gone away from her.”
Younger plays up the difference in age aspect between characters like Liza and Kelsey but does not crassly overshadow either to dumb them down either. And the relationships between characters are heartwarming and easy to watch develop.
For a series with a runtime of only approximately 24 minutes, Younger remains relevant and topical and there is never a dull moment.
In an industry where ageism is all too real, especially for women, Younger packs all the punches in providing relevant storylines. The entire premise is built on a lie about Liza’s age and proves how deep into one lie someone can get. But the sad fact of the matter is that if Liza had not had a makeover by Maggie and faked her age, who knows if she would have ever gotten hired anywhere in her industry in an entry-level position.
The dynamic of age is shown well, especially between Liza and her boss, Diana Trout. Early on in the series, Diana acts like the typical Miranda Priestly of a boss, but throughout each season her character develops. Despite not knowing Liza’s true age, Diana and Liza are actually the same age and go through the same relationship drama, and eventually, you may even be able to call them almost-friends.
While some of the storylines throughout all four seasons may be a bit odd, there is humor and wit through it all and that’s what keeps Younger fresh and interesting.
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Miriam Shor recently spoke about her dynamic between her and Sutton Foster’s character and said:
“But they have to tell their story, and what are those stories you are choosing to tell? And there are times… I’m sure you have, and I know I have in this show and in other shows, fought for something in the story I believed in because it mattered to me, as Miriam. One of those things might be a choice that Diana makes that they were like, “Oh I don’t know. Is that a sad thing for a woman to make?” And I might stand up and be like, “Why would that be sad? Explain to me why that’s sad that Diana made to not be with a man” or something like that. I feel responsible to tell those stories, especially because Diana is representing an older generation of women and I am 45. So I want to make sure that we’re not disparaging of 45-year-old women, that we tell the truth. That’s not to say that we don’t have insecurities or difficulties; we’re kind of finding our way in a world that idolizes youngsters. But I feel responsible to that.”
The chemistry like this between the characters on the series makes us love Younger that much more.
Love triangles, love triangles, and more love triangles.
In case you haven’t heard, there has been a love triangle spewing since season one. Not to give anything away, but it’s pretty obvious from the moment they meet at the bar that Liza and Josh begin dating. At the same time however, the head of Empirical Publishing, Charles Brooks (Peter Hermann) also has some kind of fire hot burning connection with Liza as well. The dynamic between Josh and Charles is one that is all the more interesting than your average love triangle.
Josh is 26 and Charles is 40-something like Liza’s actual age. Josh is the guy for the 26-year-old lie while Charles is what her life could have been in present time. Charles is also the head of the entire company and the boss of her boss and are drawn together even though Charles thinks Liza is 26. Or how Darren Star worded it as “I think we have a lot of balls in the air — no pun intended — that really came to her in an honest way. He added “She has two men in her life that represent two really strong facets of who she is. They’re [both] right for her and wrong for her at the same time.” Here’s what Sutton Foster had to say about the Josh versus Charles debate.
“I would love for her to find love and happiness, especially after her marriage dissolved. What’s so great about Josh is that she’s able to re-live this part of her life that she missed out on. Personally right now, I want to see her explore and have fun and really focus on her career — it is a rom-com, but it really is about strong career-driven women in business. I’m not ready to see her settle down, at least for now. I’m very protective of her. I want to make sure she’s okay!”
You’ll have to watch for yourself to find out how this love triangle turns out, but let’s just say it gets juicy.
The social presence of the series makes fans love it even more.
With a series focused on the life of a pretending millennial, social media was something Liza needed to learn but fear not because the cast and showrunners already know all about it and have a social media-driven presence.
A concern for the series early on was that TVLand primarily was just a network that played repeat episodes of series that are long ended. However Younger made its presence known and developed an even larger fan base thanks to social media. The series’ twitter handle interacts with fans and live-tweets (like us!) and even post GIFs. The cast interacts with each other too. Seeing the cast interact together on and off screen makes their performances on screen seem more genuine.
Casts interacting with fans of their series is integral to the success of television today and Younger definitely does not disappoint. Younger became an unexpected success and from how much the network promotes it as well, it seems like it’s here to stay for a while.
All we can say is, Younger has everything you need in a series: humor, wit, charm, talented actresses and actors, and the makings for a show that has the potential to last for years to come.
Have we sold you yet?
Younger may only be half-hour long episodes but the series continues to pack a punch with all things that make for a great series. Most of all, the cast and writing team is insanely talented. Each of the cast members come from very different backgrounds in terms of their previous work. You probably know Sutton Foster from her time on Broadway and if you didn’t think she could be more talented, think again.
Oh and if you wanted some more incentive, Charles Michael Davis is joining the cast as a series regular in season 5!
Throughout every season, Younger aims to dispel the stigma that once you turn 40 your career is over and you’re broken. The series is powerful and empowering for women everywhere as well and is awe-inspiring if you share similar career goals to the face of Millenial Pri, t, Kelsey and Liza.
We must warn you though, it may make you want to pack your bags immediately and move to New York City – but we don’t blame you.