Wednesday, February 17, 2016

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza Supports Josh at a Bluegrass Music Festival in 'Into the Woods & Out of the Woods'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 2.07 "Into the Woods & Out of the Woods"

Liza accompanies Josh to a musical festival and helps Charles with a work assignment.

A couple episodes ago, Liza was forced to confront the realities of her relationship with Josh. He has promised to keep her secret from the rest of her friends in her new life. He has been really supportive of her as of late. He's a great boyfriend. He supports her and looks out for her. Their relationship has been really strong once they stopped bickering about her big secret. In fact, they've become even better now that the truth is out. But Liza also knows that her age affects this relationship. It's no longer a big focus between them. But it is still something that can shape the life they have together. Liza is forced to deal with that in "Into the Woods & Out of the Woods." She wants to support Josh in something he really wants to do. She goes to this outdoor bluegrass music festival with him. But her wanting to be supportive is made complicated by just how arduous this whole experience is for her.

Liza does all of this to show Josh just how much she cares about him and how flexible she can be to his interests. His band has never been something to take all that seriously. But it is a passion of his and they are able to perform doing this festival. That's a huge deal. He's excited about getting to spend more time with Liza. This time they'll just be in the woods enjoying life with a bunch of other people with similar interests. It really is a lot to handle in this episode. At times, it nails what festival life can really be like - basically porta-potties are the worst. And yet, the show was really overbearing and annoying when it came to the two women walking around with no shirts on who just sorta attached themselves to Liza and Josh. It was weird and seemingly had no purpose. It made Liza feel even more like an outsider in this place. She and Josh couldn't even have some sexy times in the tent because they were forced to share one with Gabe, after he couldn't handle roughing it in the woods.

But this episode is also significant because of the escalating tension within Liza's love life. She is committed to her relationship with Josh. Despite how problematic this time at the festival is, it doesn't lead to much awkwardness in their relationship because Josh really wasn't into it either. And yet, she continues to pursue this spark she has with Charles. At times over the two seasons, it has seemed as if the show just doesn't know what to do with Liza and Charles. They are two friendly co-workers. He's the much more realistic option for her as a love interest. Josh is the wild young guy. Charles is the stable guy. Both options could be good for her. Both have proven themselves to be capable guys. Charles is a great father and more than willing to put up with anything that Liza does in the office. Meanwhile, Josh has been very supportive of Liza through all of this. He is genuinely in love with her. But it's still awkward a little bit in this episode.

The awkwardness of the main story comes when Liza accidentally sends a sexual text to Charles that was meant for Josh. It was something that was bound to happen as soon as both of them started texting her at the same time before Josh's band performed. It's a comedic series of events that largely amounts to Liza flailing around trying to take back the text she just sent. The two guys are totally chill about it too. Charles was flummoxed but just accepts Liza's explanation. He was just so grateful for all the insight she provided for him regarding his big magazine interview. She really helped him figure out the perfect answers he could give to the formulaic questions - since the truth won't help Empirical at all. And then when Liza gets kicked out of the festival for being "violent," Josh is fine with it because he wants to get back to a life of luxuries as well. Liza did miss his performance. But it's not a big deal.

However, it's meaningful that Charles pays for Liza and Josh to spend a night in a nearby Bed and Breakfast. It shows just how considerate he is. He is appreciative of all the insight Liza provided. She helped him in a time when he really needed it. When he complains about his ex-wife, she is there to listen to him and console him. Meanwhile, Josh just thinks Charles is a really cool boss. He knows that Liza was busy with work during this weekend but that didn't distract from the time they had together. Plus, he largely just enjoys the rewards that come from this bed and breakfast. And yet, Liza decides not to send Charles the picture of her and Josh enjoying the room he paid for. That shows that she knows there is something happening between them. She doesn't want to rub his face in her relationship. She's grateful for what he has done. But she's also a little unsure because of these deepening feelings. Again, it's very small progress in this episode. The main story doesn't move things ahead too much. But it's still a significant development.

The B-story with Diana continuing to flirt with Hugh had its amusing moments. But it also had similar problems to last week's episode. It's a dynamic that gets annoying very quickly. It needs the right balance of tone to work at all. When it's just the two of them in her office talking about marketing strategies, it works. But when it comes to the two of them actually getting physical, it's bothersome and quickly grows tedious. It's a story that only works in short bursts. That seems to be similar to Diana's own opinion of Hugh as well. She's interested in him as a romantic conquest but the more time she spends with him the more she is annoyed by his various tendencies. Diana needed some sex. She got it too. It just came with her breaking his penis and requiring surgery. Hopefully, that means the end of this story. It was fine as a brief plot point to keep her engaged as a character. But it really shouldn't return to the narrative again this season. It doesn't seem like that will be a problem though considering Hugh's harsh final words to Diana.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Into the Woods & Out of the Woods" was written by Eliot Glazer and directed by Todd Biermann.
  • Kelsey learns that Diana is interested in Hugh romantically. It's a very charming interaction actually. It shows that the two of them should have more stories together. Kelsey understands exactly what Diana is doing and helps give her that final push to go after what she wants.
  • How do you think Maggie handled being introduced to Lauren's ex-girlfriend of eleven weeks? Those two really only show up in the beginning to set up the premise of the episode and then quickly disappear.
  • Gabe is starting to come around on Liza. All it took was him being ill-prepared for roughing it in the woods. She knew exactly what to bring and he was very appreciative of that - even though he made things really awkward after that.
  • Perhaps there was one too many jokes about wood and penises here. That whittling scene was pretty bad - mostly because of those other two girls.
  • Diana to Charles: "You wanna come across as intelligent but not pretentious. That's our brand."