Eventually, “Younger” will come to terms with Liza’s real age. But for now, it barely even matters.
The TV Land series, heading into its sixth season, began as a con, a 40-something-year-old woman who pretends to be in her mid-20s to get a job in book publishing. Liza (Sutton Foster) still hasn’t told the truth save for a few people and the writers will keep teasing a big reveal, but creator Darren Starr has moved this world beyond the show’s simple premise, to the credit of the characters.
“There’s only so long you can play that joke. It’s evolved way past that," Foster told the Daily News. "Fans and audiences are invested in the characters and the relationships and then they’re like, ‘oh, right, this is all (a lie).”
The show, at its core, was never about the love triangles or the fabulous outfits — even if they truly are fabulous. “Younger” was about what it takes for a woman to succeed in the workplace. When we pick up at the start of season 6, the women are finally in charge: Kelsey (Hilary Duff) has replaced Charles (Peter Hermann) as publisher of Empirical and Liza a close second. Diana (Miriam Shor) still reigns supreme, despite being in the dark. And self-made billionaire Quinn (Laura Benanti) is pulling all the strings.
“It’s nice that we’ve all come together and Liza and Diana and Kelsey are really working as a unit, really working their asses of to save a crumbling business," Duff told The News. "But have they been put in these positions to be scapegoats? I think we all know this show is never going to end with these women not on top, but getting there is a real struggle. And I think it’s really tapping into what’s happening in the world.”
Women, in the world of “Younger,” can succeed on their own. But at the same time, the series has taken care not to gloss over its own problematic women, particularly Benanti’s Quinn, who has seemingly never heard — or accepted — the word “no” in her lifetime. On the thin line that women straddle between submissive and commanding, Quinn has clearly crossed over.
“Men do it all the time: shove another guy out the way to get on top, and he doesn’t have to apologize for it," Duff told The News. "But when a woman does it, she’s a b---h.”
Even outside of the office, “Younger’s” secondary characters are branching out: Josh (Nico Tortorella) has a new baby, Lauren (Molly Bernard) has a new job and Maggie (Debi Mazar) has a new crush. True to Darren Star’s résumé, everything is still over-the-top and beautiful. Even New York — where the show is actually shot — is clean.
“Our show is fantasy," Bernard told The News.
It’s feminism in Fendi, gender equality in Gucci. And in sky-high heels and chunky necklaces, the women of “Younger” are fighting to stand among the men.
“Nothing is easy for women these days,” Duff told The News. “And we keep going, because we’re strong as hell.”