Wednesday, February 3, 2016

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza Is Hit with a Reality Check When She and Josh Go to Jersey for a Dinner in 'Jersey, Sure'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 2.05 "Jersey, Sure"

When Josh wants to learn more about Liza's life, she takes him to dinner in Jersey and gets a hard dose of reality.

Liza taking Josh to New Jersey adds a whole new layer of seriousness to their relationship. For years, Liza had friends in this community. For years, she was the housewife who gave up her career in order to raise her daughter. For years, she was trapped in a horrible marriage. That has been a part of her life. It's not a part that she wants to address all that much. She is happy with what her life has become in Brooklyn with Maggie, Kelsey and Josh. She is more happy now than she has ever been. Her relationship has been a huge part of that. Now that she's being honest with him about her age, they have started to become more serious than before. And yet, there is still this whole world to Liza that is completely foreign to Josh. Liza is still trying her best to maintain a separation between her two lives. But with things becoming more serious with Josh, those boundaries were likely to come crashing down sooner rather than later.

So Liza and Josh spend this episode interacting with a couple from New Jersey - Michelle and Tom - who Liza used to be close friends with. All of this happens because Caitlin decides to start following Josh on Instagram. That's a decision that soon makes Josh's presence known amongst Liza's old community of friends. She's completely taken aback when she runs into Michelle and Tom at a bar where Josh's band is performing. It's an invasion of the life she has built for herself. She wasn't expecting to run into anyone she knew who knows that she is actually 40 years old. Up until now, her two worlds have largely kept to themselves. She's been able to navigate the very delicate line between the two. She's gotten comfortable with this secret life. That only makes it more surprising and nerve-wrecking when she runs into these two.

As Liza promptly notes, her life is a giant mess built on a lie that could lead to chaotic destruction very easily. It's a spider web that she has created for herself. At once, it was very exciting. She could pose as a 26-year-old and everyone would believe her. It was a thrilling rush. But the longer she has kept up this facade, the more real it has become. She has formed such close relationships with Josh and Kelsey. Josh knows the truth now. He's keeping her secret from the rest of her new friends from work. But all it takes is one person forming a connection with someone else on this web to realize just how manipulative Liza has been this whole time. She's finally gotten to a good place with Josh again. She also wants to believe that Caitlin started following Josh just in order to get a better sense of who he is. And yet, that decision in a world that is completely connected points out just how fragile this web can be.

But all of that is nothing compared to the actual dinner that Liza and Josh go to in Jersey. It's a whole new experience for Josh. Even though he has traveled the world, he has never been to the suburbs of Jersey. It's an experience she forces him to have completely sober. But it turns out, she's the one who desperately needs the lollipot. Liza is fully committed to her relationship with Josh. Even though it started with a lie, the feelings are real and have grown very intense. She likes him for more than just the sex or to feel younger. She actually enjoys the relationship that the two have. It's hard for her old friends to see that. They would rather view Josh as the boy toy Liza has acquired in her pursuit for individuality and sexual domination in the city. Michelle is brutally honest about that. She points out that there is no sense in trying to make a future with Josh. It's a dynamic that is fun for right now. But ten years from now, the two can be drastically different people. Liza may be able to convince the world that she is 26 right now. But she won't be able to keep that facade up forever. It's really only a temporary solution to her problem of not being able to find work. Liza wonders if all of this is really true. She loves Josh but she doesn't know what the future will bring. She doesn't want to take away so many things from him simply because he's in a serious relationship with an older woman.

And yet, all that really matters is that Josh and Liza want to be in this relationship right now. They don't know what the future will bring. Nobody does. Liza was saddened by what her former friend had to say. So much so, that she ate the entire lollipop - which forced Josh to take care of her on the trip back to Brooklyn. That shows that he is a good man who cares about her well-being. He looks after her for the next few hours to make sure that she is okay. But this largely opens up a new dialogue in their relationship. It's a conversation they have in a genuine way. There is no miscommunications between them. They are bringing up how they feel and how this dynamic could change very quickly. Both of them are committed but worried about the future. And yet, that's okay. Right now, this relationship is good. So why shouldn't they stay committed to it?

The Liza and Josh story in this episode is the strongest one about them as a couple so far this season. However, this episode is still clunky overall because of the Kelsey subplot. She's a strong enough character to carry her own story without Liza constantly being around her. And yet, her quest to get pages from Jade for her upcoming book wasn't all that intriguing. Again, Jade just feels like such a broad and one-note caricature instead of an actual and functioning human being. It's completely ridiculous. That's the point. It's not suppose to be taken seriously. And yet, it's a journey that still leads to Kelsey realizing that there is no book and that she'll probably have to take action just to get Jade's book advance back in order to keep her new imprint afloat. It's a pressure-filled situation that's only going to get more complicated in the future. But again, it's a story that's hard to take seriously because Jade is just so outrageous. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Jersey, Sure" was written by Terri Minsky and directed by Tamra Davis.
  • The show was really amused by that Truffle Butter joke. And yet, it was the same exact joke told over and over and over again. Once was fine, but the repetition only made it worse, crass and lackluster.
  • The spider web isn't the perfect metaphor for Liza's situation as she finds out as soon as she starts drawing all of it out to explain to Maggie. Meanwhile, Maggie points out that Liza is both the spider and the bug trapped in the web.
  • Seriously, have none of these people at Empirical helped rein in an out-of-control client before? Everyone just sits around and listens to all of these outlandish ideas that Jade has - with no proof that she'll be able to deliver. They continue to just prop her up for some reason. Kelsey earned this promotion. But at times it's difficult to see how she is suppose to be good at her job.
  • A slow week for Diana. But she has a fantastic reaction face to when Jade is making all of those orgasm noises. Plus, she has a killer line about it being interesting when it comes time to do book signings.