Wednesday, January 27, 2016

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Lisa and Kelsey Try to Land a Young Fashion Blogger's Book in 'The Jade Crusade'

TV Land's Younger - Episod 2.04 "The Jade Crusade"

Liza and Kelsey pursue their first author, a temperamental fashion blogger whose interest in them isn't purely professional.

The first three episodes of Younger's second season have been filled with a lot of emotions. Kelsey has embraced the realities of her new job while Liza has struggled with defining what her relationship with Josh is. It's been a very good start to the season. It's helped better define just how important these key relationships on the show are. "The Jade Crusade" is a bit more fun, stylish and amusing. It's going for big laughs and not big emotions. It's continuing to focus on Kelsey's new imprint at Empirical. But it does so in an amusing way that isn't suppose to be taken all that seriously. Yes, the show has big ideas on its mind in this episode as well - like the public's idea that woman have to be young and skinny in order to be beautiful and how pictures on the internet never completely go away. It's not at all subtle about those themes but it's continuing to tell them with more humor and conviction.

Kelsey is pursuing her first big author for her Millennial Imprint. Jade (Justine Lupe) is a fashion blogger who is really brutal and blunt with her critiques of the world. She's a figure that Kelsey respects. And thus, she is nervous during their meeting. She knows that this book will be a success. She needs a hit out of the gate in order to provide value for what this new business venture is doing. That's a ton of pressure. She's betting it all on Jade - who's not really a great person to be around. Jade is an over-the-top character. Those details sometimes don't work as well as the show wants them to. She is suppose to be ridiculous. She's the author and she gets to do whatever she wants because Kelsey and Liza are so desperate for her book. That gives her the power in this situation. That power doesn't always come across that well. In fact, Jade largely seems like a crazy person. But she's a crazy person with a lot of fame and popularity. That's something that is easy to relate to. Kelsey and Liza have to bend over backwards just in order to get this book.

Of course, all of this is further complicated by the fact that Jade and Josh used to date. It's an added wrinkle to the situation. It's largely just a way to incorporate Josh into Liza's world without it being another story about her lie or their relationship. He seems comfortable lying to Kelsey now. But that's largely because everyone is too distracted by trying to make Jade happy. Getting to throw a drink in Josh's face is the only reason why Jade even invites Kelsey, Liza and their boyfriends out to party. It shows just how crazy Jade is. But the show also wants Jade to be taken seriously as well. She starts a conversation about age and beauty that is really thematically meaningful to Liza. Jade doesn't believe the industry should be so focused on youth and beauty. But it doesn't quite connect as well as it should because the show is going for a more wild hijinks episode than a thoughtful one.

The hijinks only occasionally work with Jade. When Kelsey and Liza show up at the club, she's a tad too one-note and cliche with her constant comments about partying all the time. It's fun when she gets to throw a drink in Josh's face. Something she gets to do twice in this episode. But it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense when she ultimately decides to sign with Millennial Imprint. It's easy to understand why this ultimately happens. She is the big target and Kelsey and Liza are successful in signing her. But Jade is also a very artificial character who largely acts the way that she does because of plot demands. That's amusing but doesn't establish a whole lot of importance and value if she's going to be a big focus this season.

Meanwhile, this episode also provides a little insight into Maggie's past. Her new relationship with Lauren really hasn't been all that exciting this season. In fact, when it's not onscreen, it's easy to forget that it's actually happening. And yet, Lauren is ready to commit to Maggie being the only woman she is sleeping with right now. That's a new level of commitment to a relationship that really hasn't been established all that well on the show. However, it doesn't seem like it's suppose to be important either. Lauren treats it seriously. But Maggie largely just enjoys the sex and not the amount of talking afterwards. So, it feels like it's just going to be a fling. However, this episode also sets up the pain of Maggie's past in the form of the one girlfriend that got away and absolutely destroyed her. It's a plot detail that is introduced and then not mentioned again throughout the rest of the episode. But it does seem like this might be a tease for some personal stories with Maggie this season. That's an exciting prospect.

And lastly, the most consistently funny plot throughout this episode was Liza and Diana's attempts to get an inappropriate picture of Charles taken down from the internet. The direction of this episode really has fun with the visual in that picture. It makes the scene where Charles comes into Diana's office so funny - even though it's a very awkward situation for all involved. Plus, it's still so amusing to see Diana put her foot in her mouth every single time she is around Charles. They must have some kind of professional relationship. And yet, it's never really seen onscreen. Instead, she is always too distracted by her personal feelings towards him which causes her to speak in some very sexual innuendoes - sometimes purposefully and sometimes not. The final line about honoring Charles' "great endowment" really cemented this story as the funniest of the episode.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Jade Crusade" was written by Dottie Dartland Zicklin & Eric Zicklin and directed by Peter Lauer.
  • Michael Urie also pops up and is quite the scene stealer as Jade's agent, Redman. Plus, the show gets a lot of good dings in about just how horrible agents are. Redman in particular is very blunt about things. It's over-the-top but in a way that works more consistently than Jade's character traits.
  • That was a really poor stand-in for Facebook that Maggie was looking at as she was stalking Belinda. It was just too bland and didn't seem like a lot of work was put into it.
  • The Empiricanda really did seem like a fitting name. Plus, it was really funny too and showed just how big a thing pictures like that can get. Though is Charles a famous enough person for that to be such a big deal? It is when Jade tweets it. But before then, it seemed pretty minor.
  • However, the mispronunciation joke about the name "Weiner" really wasn't that great or original.