Wednesday, February 10, 2016

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza and Kelsey Fight to Keep Their Imprint Alive After Jade Betrays Them in 'Un-Jaded'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 2.06 "Un-Jaded"

When their first author proves to be more trouble than she's worth, Liza and Kelsey worry their imprint might be over before it ever gets started.

It was a harsh and brutal realization for Kelsey last week when she learned that Jade wasn't planning on delivering a book to Millennial Imprint. It was all just a scam in order for her to get an advanced bonus that she could spend around town. The show hasn't done a great job at explaining why Jade does all of this. But that's just a part of her flimsy characterization throughout this three-episode arc. It's a much more significant story for Kelsey and Liza. They have been given so much responsibility with this new imprint. It's their chance to make their mark in the world. And they completely blow it with the first author that they sign. In fact, it's more like a complete disaster. It's a horrible situation for both of them to be in. And yet, the show opts for a comedic approach in exploring how they get out of this situation instead of featuring any kind of dramatic consequences.

Liza and Kelsey want to handle this problem by themselves. They want to show to Charles that they are still capable and creative. They deserve this imprint. They got caught in this terrible situation. They know it could kill this imprint before it gets off the ground. Kelsey invested all of her money into this book only for it to turn out to be a complete failure. But Liza and Kelsey wind up ahead at the conclusion of this episode. They are very creative in manipulating this situation to their advantage and doubling their budget for the imprint at the same time. They could have explored taking legal action against Jade for taking their money without ever intending on delivering a book. That would have been the very serious approach. Plus, there wouldn't have been any guarantee that they would have gotten their money back. They would have had to involve Charles and that could have completely destroyed their careers. They would have to go back to doing the same old jobs they used to do. They got a taste of being their own bosses and don't want to go back.

"Un-Jaded" largely plays as a series of events that eventually build up to an explanation for how Liza and Kelsey can drop Jade while also recouping their costs plus some. Liza finds out the truth from Kelsey. She then gets awkward around Charles who wants to read Jade's first chapter. Liza lies and says that it's amazing and that Kelsey is reading it now. It's a lie that happens in order to prop up the plot. It leads to urgency for Liza as she has to stay up for most of the night actually writing this chapter for Jade's book. All she does is some careful editing around Jade's many social media postings. Liza has proven herself to be a capable writer in the past. She's more than up to this task. She succeeds too. They are able to fool Charles for a little while as they pursue a much more complicated plan to have another agency buy the rights to Jade's book from them.

It's a messy tale that includes Lauren leaking the chapter that Liza just wrote online. It creates buzz and excitement for the book - even though Jade literally has no reaction to this. The show has shown that Jade is constantly plugged in to social media. And yet, she doesn't think that it's strange that a chapter of her book which she didn't write has shown up online. Jade is so inconsequential to the plot in this episode. That really lessons the effectiveness of the story. She's not all that much of a problem for Liza and Kelsey to deal with. They are able to drive up the price and let an agency that Empirical hates buy this whole mess from them for double what Jade's signing bonus was. This episode basically introduces this new agency, Achilles, that everyone in the publishing world apparently hates because they are so focused on the business side of things. Publishing houses, authors and agents are all boycotting working for them. It makes them an easy target for Liza and Kelsey to dump Jade on. But it's also a very one-note antagonist that will probably never be mentioned again on the show. A solution is introduced in this episode as a way out for the characters without them needing to face any kind of lasting repercussions. Liza and Kelsey wind up ahead at the end of "Un-Jaded." Charles even appreciates how creative they were in handing this situation - even though it included several unprofessional actions. But all of it is just suppose to be okay because Charles has a very expositional line about all of it being perfectly legal. That may be true but the execution of it is very perfunctory. It never feels like the stakes are clearly established for the story. It's just the latest threat to what Liza and Kelsey want to accomplish.

It also seemed as if this episode was overflowing with a number of small subplots that were very underdeveloped. Liza wakes up one morning and realizes that she can't lift her right arm above her head without it being painful. It's the start of her age catching up with her and effecting her ability to continue this ruse. It's also a story that's good for a couple of jokes but completely disappears for long stretches of time. Josh takes care of her, a manicurist isn't fooled about her real age, and it hurts when she gives Kelsey a high five. That's it. Meanwhile, Maggie's latest art piece is really appreciated by Lauren who is able to get it on display in that fancy fashion store from earlier in the season. It shows that Maggie and Lauren have differences of opinion when it comes to Maggie's art. But it's hardly a story here. It just appears for two seconds and then it's done. And lastly, Diana pursues a new author, Hugh, who is a very aggressive male feminist. It's great that Diana is given her own love interest who isn't Charles. She deserves to get some action as well. And yet, Hugh is a very annoying and one-note character. All he can talk about is how he wants to experience the world as a woman but can never truly understand what it's like. It's the show tackling an important topic. But it does so in a way that gets very repetitive and tedious very quickly - with seemingly no point whatsoever.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Un-Jaded" was written by Rick Singer and directed by Tamra Davis.
  • Jade's presence is felt in this episode. She shows up after all of Liza and Kelsey's deal-making is done. Apparently, she was too caught up in partying to notice just how far they've gone to screw her over. It feels good to see Liza and Kelsey win. But Jade was such a one-note adversary who didn't make a whole lot of sense.
  • Kelsey is able to make the sell to Achilles so easily because an old friend of hers from school, Brad, works there. She has no problem lying to his face about this book because he's a douchebag. He's literally just a means to an end. A plot device that isn't amusing in the slightest.
  • Liza woke up to Maggie putting the finishing touches on her new art piece. How long did it take Maggie to put that thing together? Especially considering Liza was in that room for most of the night and wasn't distracted by her working.
  • Also, Liza apparently seems totally cool with Lauren just living in the apartment now. It's justified by embracing the idea that lesbians bring a U-Haul along on the second date. A very weak rationalization.
  • Diana doesn't get any sex though. She was so turned off by their diner conversation and just wanted to drink the experience away. Then, she got turned on by his need to be inside her only for his mannerisms to once again get in the way.