Stretching the truth when applying for jobs is nothing new; little white lies aren’t going to hurt anyone. Pretending to be 14 years younger? Now that’s a little extreme. Yet somehow, Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) of TV Land’s Younger pulls it off and convinces everyone that her 40-year-old self is actually a modern-day millennial.
Following her divorce, Liza is unable to find a job because of her age. She’s clearly out of touch with today’s society, which is evident in each job interview she goes on. After a flattering comment at a bar, Liza makes the choice to pretend to be 26 in hopes of landing some work. Soon enough, she’s hired at one of the top publishing houses in New York City. The series follows Liza as she struggles with love, friendship, self-discovery and transforming into a millennial. As a millennial myself, I can relate to so much of the show’s content. At times, though, Younger makes me feel as though I’m the 40-year-old divorcee having an identity crisis. Here are some examples of moments where I was left saying “WTH?”
In an attempt to restart her life, Liza decides to try and break back into the publishing industry. Things have changed, however, since her time at work, and the millennials interviewing her for an open position have no trouble pointing that out. It all makes sense until they begin talking about Tinder and “Bang with Friends” during the interview. If that’s something we’re talking about with employers nowadays, I definitely need to step up my online dating game.
Making the choice to shave 14 years off her resume and pretend she’s 26, Liza finally gets offered a position at Empirical Publishing as Diana Trout’s (Miriam Shor) assistant. She instantly clicks with junior editor Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff), who invites her to a Krav Maga class after work. I’m sorry, what? Krav Maga? Is that some sort of modern day Zumba class? “Is that a bird or a cocktail?” Liza asks. If only I knew.
Busy trying to land a new author, Kelsey invites Liza to lunch to keep her friend Lauren Heller (Molly Bernard) busy and preoccupied. Lauren is as “fresh” as they come, especially regarding her social media presence. Sitting in the middle of Bryant Park, Lauren fully removes her top to tweet a picture for #ToplessTuesday. I’m all for freedom of expression, but is this a common occurrence? In case you were wondering, yes, her picture went viral.
Trying her best to conceal her true age, Liza is nervous about the possibility of Josh (Nico Tortorella), her new, 26-year-old beau, seeing her naked. Asking Maggie to be brutally honest, Liza says, “I think I’m getting a cleavage wrinkle! It’s from sleeping on my side all these years.” I honestly had no idea cleavage wrinkles existed. Times like this make me realize how privileged I am not to have to deal with that.
Leaving her old life behind, Liza sells her New Jersey abode. She’s shocked to hear, however, that the moving company is only offering $2,500 for all of her belongings. Maggie (Debbie Mazar), Liza’s longtime best friend, knows just what to do: a good, old-fashioned Brooklyn flea market. The crowd eats up her furniture, referring to her couch as “normcore.” Excuse me? Is that like the opposite of hardcore?
After their first night together, Josh asks Liza who her “first ride” was with. “Tommy Omaroso,” she says, after he had taken her to a Nirvana concert. “Nirvana? What were you, five?” Wait, is Nirvana really that old? Well then, please excuse me as I go listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the rest of the evening.
During Empirical’s morning meeting, Kelsey is feeling a rather strong discomfort from her goddess cup. Yes, you read that correctly. Goddess cup. “It’s like a tampon, but eco-friendly,” she explains to Liza. While I’m not surprised that someone has invented this, I can’t fathom why: Literally, it’s a plastic funnel. And to make it even worse, Kelsey has to ask Liza to get it unstuck for her. I’m all for saving the environment, but come on.
With the release of the Annabelle Bancroft’s (Jane Krakowski) new book Shedonism (a pact made between three divorced women to never marry), Empirical is gearing up for another release party. Bancroft is quite picky when it comes to the party details, pushing Diana’s stress level to the max. Liza is there by her side, ready with the organic, gluten-free vodka. That’s right—not just organic, but gluten-free as well. My diet thanks you, Liza, for introducing me to this 21st century miracle.
Organic and gluten-free vodka isn’t enough to satisfy Bancroft. A party for a queen like herself must be as over-the-top and spectacular as possible. “I want this party to be epic,” she tells Liza and Diana. “I want hot men and live peacocks!” Ask and she shall receive, as we see peacocks casually sitting all around the club that evening. Um, okay? If people are having live peacocks at their book release parties nowadays, I’m expecting at least some butterflies at mine.
When her ex-husband fails to pay his half of their daughter Caitlin’s (Tessa Albertson) tuition, Liza is forced to help out. Money’s tight with the divorce, especially on a publishing assistant’s salary. Thankfully, Lauren gives Liza an easy option: selling her panties (used only). Sound sketchy? Oh, it is, and the guy who buys Liza’s underwear is even worse. Good to know I have a solid backup plan in case I’m ever running low on cash (which I will be, because #freelancing).
Lauren is back and ready to feed our entertainment needs. Because she wasn’t in her top physical prime at 13 when she had her bat mitzvah, she decides to throw a “hot-mitzvah” to celebrate her 26 year old beauty. Is that allowed? Does this mean I can throw a hot-graduation? Or a hot-shower? Wait, that last one sounded wrong.
It’s the end of Season One, and of course, Liza’s secret begins to unravel. When she runs into an old co-worker, Cheryl Sussman (Martha Plimpton), she does her best to conceal her identity, but ultimately fails. Cheryl seems understanding, however, vowing to keep her secret. “Gawker would have a field day with this!” What a throwback to when Gawker was alive and ready to dish out the latest gossip, ultimately leading to its demise. Moment of silence.
Another day at the office, another publishing problem. When one of Empirical’s writers leaves the company, Kelsey can’t seem to understand why this rival publishing house wants even more sick-lit writers. I’m sorry, what? Thankfully, Liza asks the same question, to which Diana explains, “Terminally ill teen drama like Fault in our Stars.” As a fan of the novel and movie, I’m very disappointed in myself for not knowing this.
Watching Josh’s band at a Brooklyn bar, Liza runs into two old (and annoying) friends from New Jersey. Thankfully, Josh now knows Liza’s real age, so there’s no worry about her cover being blown. Liza is still nervous, especially when the couple invite her and Josh over for dinner. “You have to see the trellis!” they say. Puzzled, Josh asks Liza what a trellis is. I know he’s a city boy, but do millennials really not know what a trellis is?
Being the supportive girlfriend that she is, Liza decides to rough it out and accompany Josh and his band to a bluegrass festival. It’s camping, it’s wet, it’s dirty: the perfect romantic getaway. Josh obviously has much planned for their weekend in the woods, like an incredibly exciting clogging circle. Yes, clogging—the beloved folk dance that’s apparently a craze among millennials. I mean, I like tap dancing, so I guess I’ll give clogging a try.
Searching for the best millennial-aimed authors possible, Kelsey and Liza find Dr. Jane Wray (Camryn Manheim), who “specializes in drop-kicking lazy twentysomethings out of their parents’ rec room and into adulthood.” With Kelsey on the cusp of turning 27, Dr. Wray tells her she’s stuck in a “no-criteria relationship” with her boyfriend of two years. Wow, I’ve never heard that term before, but that explains the demise of my last three relationships. Thanks, Dr. Wray.
While discussing a new book during their morning meeting, one of Empirical’s writers has each attendee write down the four things they care about most in life to set their priorities straight. Liza and Diana both write things revolving work and family while Kelsey places social media in her third spot. I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram, but is social media really that important to some?
Remember Kelsey’s no-criteria relationship? Well, without giving away too much, let’s just say that it’s now over and Kelsey is quite distraught. Lauren is back and ready to help, bringing her to equine-assisted therapy. It’s simple: All Kelsey has to do groom a horse and tell it her deepest secret. When she does, the horse responds with a “release,” if you catch my drift. Apparently, it works! Looks like I can cancel my therapy session for this week and head over to the stables.
In desperate financial need, Empirical enlists young (and super rich) tech guru Bryce Reiger (Noah Robbins) to the team. As usual, Liza walks in (late) with the team’s coffee order. “You’re still drinking coffee?” Bryce asks. The team is obviously confused, to which Bryce’s assistant explains, “We switched to coffee cubes a while ago.” That’s right, chewable coffee cubes. Interesting. My only question is, do they come in decaf?
Before I begin this one, let me state that I know virtual reality is a thing (I’m not that old). But who knew that it’s actually used, especially for business meetings? Bryce is up to date with the latest technology, and when he doesn’t want to come into the office, Liza and her team conduct a meeting with him through virtual reality on the Great Wall of China. Very cool, but seriously?
After the tragic end to her last relationship, Kelsey unexpectedly finds what seems like the perfect guy. Smart, suave, sexy—what more could she want? Lauren then quickly reminds her of the bad pancake theory and tells her to drop him. The what? “It’s this theory that the first guy that you date after a serious relationship is doomed to be the bad pancake [because the first pancake always gets burned].” Now that you mention it, that actually makes a lot of sense.
Oh, and a bad pancake he is. Disregarding Lauren’s advice, Kelsey keeps seeing her new beau. All seems to be going well until he tells her he lives on Roosevelt Island. “You live there? Full time?” she asks, followed by hounding questions like, “Is it true there’s a curfew?” and “Do Ubers even go there?” Wait, what’s wrong with Roosevelt Island? Did I miss something? Note to self: Never get an apartment there.
Maggie is head over heels for a nice (and very Jewish) woman she’s just met. Wanting to show support for her beliefs and make a good impression, Maggie drags Liza along to a mikveh. Unfortunately, much like myself, Maggie has no idea what a mikveh is (it’s a Jewish bathhouse, FYI) and causes a huge disturbance when her cross tattoo is seen. Well, better her than me.
Another beautiful morning in Brooklyn. As Maggie returns from her SoulCycle class, Liza sees something interesting in her hair. “Oh, this little rubber band thingy? [I got it] off the bathroom floor,” Maggie explains. If only it was a rubber band, Maggie, if only. Liza begins to freak out as she realizes it’s actually her NuvaRing, and that she hasn’t had protection for almost a week. So NuvaRings just casually fall out? I’m eternally grateful I don’t have to worry about that.
Remember when Liza’s NuvaRing fell out? Well, Josh then runs to the store to pick up a pregnancy test and returns with the most complicated (yet genius?) pregnancy test I have ever seen. Basically, as Liza explains, “You pee on the stick, which uses Bluetooth to send the results to an app on your phone.” The best part? The app plays cute videos while you wait. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Shaving 14 years off your resume and successfully convincing everyone you’re a millennial is a little much, don’t you think? Then again, Foster is truly a goddess, so I get it. Please excuse me as I contact her agent to find out what brand of moisturizer she uses.
Season Four of Younger premieres Wednesday, June 28 at 10 p.m. on TV Land.
Gianluca Russo is a New York based freelance writer. Read his work for Playbill, The Times Union, BroadwayWorld and more at www.GianlucaRusso.webs.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @G_Russo1.