Wednesday, June 28, 2017

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Kelsey Has an Extreme Reaction to Learning Liza's Secret in 'Post Truth'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 4.01 "Post Truth"

Liza deals with the aftermath of coming clean with Kelsey, and Charles tests their synchronicity. Kelsey and Josh become unlikely allies.

Liza and Kelsey's friendship has been the heart of Younger for a long time. It's the most important relationship on the show. Yes, the love triangle between Liza, Josh and Charles is exciting and important as well. But without Liza and Kelsey, the show just wouldn't be that great. Of course, there was always some distance between the two of them as well. Their friendship was incapable of being the best possible version of itself that was beneficial to both of them because of the central lie. I continue to be of the opinion that the core premise of the show is no longer necessary. I've been saying that since the second season when all of the main characters proved how much they needed Liza in their lives. And yet, it's still been around producing new and dramatic tension for the show. This time it's a huge revelation though. The third season ended with Liza sitting Kelsey down to tell her the truth about her age. It wasn't something she did out of fear of being outed by someone. It was instead motivated by her desire to finally be honest with the people she loves. The longer she held onto this secret the longer she would be hurting them. It's only after the truth has been revealed that actual trust and acceptance can occur.

Of course, it's not all that surprising that Kelsey isn't doing well in the immediate aftermath. She went to Liza right now to find peace and comfort. Her life was seemingly falling apart. Yes, she still has this great job. She's still doing incredible things at work. Millennial continues to do well under her leadership. But her living situation is a mess. She has a boyfriend in Colin who doesn't want to live with her and barely has any time for her at all because he's too caught up in his own publicity. Meanwhile, Max has invaded her life at Lauren's parent's house. She felt like she was being pushed out of those places. She went to Liza to find some stability before finding her own place. Instead, she got hit with the truth that completely changes everything she thought she knew about her best friend. This changes everything. The editing of the opening of this episode intercuts between Liza telling Kelsey the truth with Kelsey walking on the street with her packed suitcases. So, it was clear right away that she wasn't going to take this news well. And yet, the show keeps that from Liza and Maggie for a long time. It's not until the next morning that they realize how poorly Kelsey reacted to all of it. The audience was never afraid of what happened to Kelsey. But it was obviously something the characters were suppose to feel. They were wondering what happened to her and if she was alright. The audience couldn't reciprocate those feelings because of the editing.

Kelsey is perfectly fine at work the next day. There's no cause for alarm by Liza or Lauren. In fact, she appears to be doing well with this new information. She is choosing to keep Liza's secret. She doesn't reveal it to the rest of the world. Of course, it's a very selfish decision as well. She chooses to keep the secret not because she loves Liza but because she wants to protect the reputation of Millennial. That makes a lot of sense. The imprint has had a ton of success as of late. But all it would take is one scandal to destroy everything. This could ruin her career. And so, Kelsey is doing whatever it takes to ensure that this won't come back to hurt her or the business she is trying to maintain. It's empowering to watch her work throughout this episode. Not only does she protect Liza's secret but she also pushes back against the book deal that Liza made with Emily from Entertainment Weekly. It's honestly very impressive. She believes all of this has been so difficult for Liza because she has no social media profile at all. Liza deleted all evidence of herself online at the start of the series. She didn't want to be found out as soon as she tried telling this lie. But now, that emptiness makes her more suspicious because that's the world we are currently living in. It's odd when something doesn't have an online presence at all. That's an indication that something is not what it appears to be. So now, Kelsey is trying to create a new identity for Liza. One that she has to fully embrace online.

All of this appears to be Kelsey doing whatever it takes in order to help her best friend maintain the life she has been living. That's how it feels for Liza. She is so grateful for everything that Kelsey does. Yes, she is still nervous when comes time to take pictures at a press event. Liza is now out in the open much more than ever before. But it's less scary because of the work that Kelsey has done. But again, Kelsey has done all of this to protect herself. She's shielding herself from the toxic fallout of Liza's lie getting exposed to the rest of the world. She hasn't forgiven her. In fact, she's questioning whether she actually knew Liza at all. Was any of their friendship real? The audience knows that it was. It's painful to see the two friends estranged like this. And yet, it makes sense from a narrative perspective as well. Kelsey's world continues to come crashing down. As such, she is lashing out. That's the reaction she has right now because she doesn't want to deal with any of the other feelings that are associated with this situation. She also finds a kindred spirit in Josh. He's the only other person who knows what she's going through. He won't tell her about the night when he wanted to propose to Liza. But he's now very open about how uncomfortable he felt lying for Liza. Now, he can share his frustrations with someone who understands. It could be a betrayal to Liza for Kelsey to become roommates with Josh should they ever be able to mend their friendship. But that's going to be compelling to watch from a narrative perspective this season. Plus, it keeps Josh around for the future even though he will more than likely not be spending much time with Liza.

Elsewhere, Liza wanted to come clean to Charles and Diana as well. She was willing to face whatever reaction they were going to have. Kelsey stopped her from doing so. So now, the flirtation is able to continue between Liza and Charles. It's the same kind of story that the show has been doing for the past three seasons. The two of them bond over a shared interest - in this case it's Ernest Hemingway. They have some sexy and flirtatious banter only to realize after a beat that nothing can happen between them. It has gotten repetitive. The show simply can't keep doing that over and over again. It's tiring for the people who see Charles as the right guy for Liza. It would be great and interesting if the show ever wanted to explore the two of them as a couple. But their dynamic right now is too similar to what it has always been. The show aspires to more but is afraid to ever actually do that. It's a problem. A problem that may change at some point this season. I'm still hope watching and thinking it will become more than what it is. It's still thrilling whenever they actually do act on their impulses. But right now, Charles is just making sure that he had no role to play in Liza and Josh's breakup. He did but Liza doesn't want to admit that right now. If she did, then it would mean having to face her own guilt over the pain she has caused for the people she loves.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Post Truth" was written by Darren Star and directed by Steven Tsuchida.
  • Kristin Chenoweth is such a delight as Marylynne Keller, who is so obviously a parody of Kellyanne Conway. The looseness with which she sees facts and truth is impressive and very funny. It's a character type the show has employed before. Many potential authors have shown up just to pitch their books, which have some kind of thematic resonance in the rest of the episode. But her flirtation with Charles is also a lot of fun.
  • Maggie may actually be a bad influence on Liza. She's the one who suggested the lie in the first place. Plus, she keeps encouraging it to continue even though Liza is incredibly torn about it. She doesn't understand why Liza had to tell Kelsey the truth now. She voices those concerns even though Liza doesn't listen to her.
  • Lauren suddenly feels like the odd person out now that she is in a happy and healthy relationship. She thinks Liza and Kelsey are pulling away from her because they no longer have boyfriends. That's not true. They are dealing with much more than that. But they aren't exactly letting Lauren in on it either.
  • It's amusing to see Diana's reaction to hearing Kelsey say "shit." There is no reason for that moment of Kelsey needing Liza for a meeting with Emily to happen in Diana's office. But it works because of that reaction alone from Diana who has absolutely no clue as to what's going on.
  • Josh refusing to talk about the night he was going to propose but caught Liza kissing Charles instead is very significant. It means that Kelsey is still in the dark about one element of Liza's life. She has no idea that she is actually in a love triangle and one of the men happens to be their boss. That will be a huge reveal as well.