Wednesday, July 5, 2017

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Kelsey Can't Trust Her Instincts While Liza Struggles to Move Forward in 'Gettin' Hygge With It'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 4.02 "Gettin' Hygge With It"

Liza faces further fallout with Kelsey, who is infuriated by Liza's lack of millennial know-how. Diana hosts a party at her apartment for one of their authors.

Younger has a lot of potential right now to tell a really terrific story with the fight between Liza and Kelsey regarding the truth about Liza's age. And yes, the show is at its best throughout "Gettin' Hygge With It" when it forces the two of them to interact with each other. But the main story of this episode just doesn't work. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot actually to it. Empirical is throwing a party for one of their authors whose novel has become a hit. And yet, the show doesn't even cast the role of the author. So, it's largely just an excuse to throw a party at Diana's house. It forces all of these characters into this confined space trying to embrace the idea of hygge and being comfortable with less. But as a thematic through-line, there really isn't much purpose to it at all. The season premiere had a silly plot too with an author. But in that case, it was important for the overall ideas in all of the stories about what is the truth, what isn't and the ever-changing fluctuation between the two. With all of the hygee stuff, it's just something for Diana to obsess over for the week. It's the show giving the supporting characters something to do while also being completely detached from the main story of Liza and Kelsey.

Liza and Kelsey are no closer to mending their friendship by the end of this episode. Instead, Kelsey is realizing how poorly a job Liza has been doing this whole time in trying to appear as a cool and hip 20-something. Knowing the truth makes her aware that Liza is faking knowledge of what a meme is during the staff meeting. It's the show once again making fun of current technology through older people just not getting it. That was a quality in the show in the very first episode. It continues to be even four seasons later. It has always been a minor detail. Liza has had to think quickly on her feet in order to come across as younger than she actually is. But that's not where the show usually thrives. It succeeds through the personal relationships between the characters. But now, Liza's dynamic with Kelsey has become estranged because of the truth. So, they are now getting into a fight over what a meme is. Yes, it is a funny moment because Kelsey seems to contradict everything Liza says just in order to feel in control of the situation. That's a moment where she shows her age. She's still capable of being immature as well. Liza hasn't been a great friend but she is trying to show some genuine concern right now too.

And thus, it's fascinating to see Kelsey refuse to listen to Liza's advice because she's mad at her only to realize that Liza is actually right about the situation. There wasn't a whole lot of ambiguity over how the show ended things between Kelsey and Colin. Fame and critical acclaim got to his head and he no longer had time for Kelsey who helped open doors for him in the first place. She's willing to forgive him because he sent flowers and his book failed in its debut. She's still mad at him. She takes out some of those frustrations. She needs a good outlet for that because of everything that's happening in her life. Colin wants to get back together now that his book isn't a hit. Liza has revealed herself to be a fraud. And Lauren is criticizing her taste in men and her moving in with Josh. Kelsey is doing all of this in order to have some semblance of independence. But that doesn't make the situation better. Liza still does care about her and doesn't want her to make the same mistakes she made. She wants Kelsey to wake up to how Colin is manipulating her. Kelsey is judgmental of that advice because it seems too old-fashioned and only confirming just how wrong she was about her former friend. And yet, she still listens to it in the end. On the walk home, Colin is all about himself and his potential new book deal with Charles. He still has no time for Kelsey. So, she lets him go. It's empowering while also making Kelsey question everything in her life.

All of this makes it so important that Kelsey and Josh are now roommates. They are the only two people who understand what the other is going through. They both know the truth about Liza. They were both hurt by her. They feel betrayed by her. Of course, their circumstances are different. In addition to lying about her age, Liza actually cheated on Josh with Charles. That makes his pain so much worse. He loved her despite everything and she still hurt him. Now, he doesn't even want to hear her name. Meanwhile, Kelsey still has to work with Liza. She still has a relationship with her. Josh and Liza are trying to avoid each other. They are choosing to avoid certain streets - though bump into each other eventually. But Kelsey can't run away because that would do so much damage to her own life. So, she has to seek comfort in Josh. Of course, it would be easy to deduce that the show has romantic plans for the two of them. That's a quick assumption to make because all of the characters on this show are defined by their romantic lives. They may eventually share a romantic moment because of the level of understanding they have. They need to rely on each other in order to get through this difficult time. They may confuse those feelings with intimacy. It doesn't seem like the show is setting it up to be something genuine and real. It will just be a mistake that only makes the situation more awkward and complicated. That could still produce an interesting story. But right now, I'm more interested in the two of them as friends.

This is very much a Kelsey-centric episode. It shows just how much her life has changed in such a short amount of time. She no longer trusts her instincts. Neither does Liza. She believes she did the right thing by telling Kelsey the truth. But that has only caused more pain. When she bumps into Josh, he doesn't want to say anything to her. It makes her feel all alone dealing with the trauma that she has caused because of the central lie. That's what makes such a minor moment like her interaction with Richard in the kitchen so meaningful. Diana can take Liza for granted a lot of the time. She is very demanding as a boss. She has trust issues. That's what makes it so significant that she has so much trust in Liza. She knows she can count on her. It's something that Liza needs to hear in this moment to help her feel better. Someone actually counts on her in a way that is actually helpful. But it's not long after that when she realizes that it's not genuine either. Diana trusts Liza as her 20-something assistant. Her discovering the truth could only set her further back with her trust issues. That would be an interesting dynamic to see play out in the future. How would Diana react to learning Liza's secret? Would it be a big deal? Or would she have very little patience for any of it? She's comforting to Liza at the store as she mourns the loss of cuddling. But she also makes jokes at her expense as she gossips about Liza and Kelsey's fight to Charles.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Gettin' Hygge With It" was written by Dottie Dartland Zicklin & Eric Zicklin and directed by Steven Tsuchida.
  • Maggie is given a subplot this week as well. It once again includes her getting a love interest of sorts. And yet, it's more complicated than that. The barista, Montana, is in love with Maggie's work not her as a romantic partner. She's straight and just wants to help Maggie prepare for her next show. It's a different type of story that starts in a familiar place. It should be interesting to see what happens next with them.
  • Kelsey being called out on having a very specific type when it comes to men will likely force her to course-correct and go for guys who don't look like Colin, Thad and Chad. That could be a fun recurring story this season. That list could include Josh as well because he doesn't look like those other guys but is being very comforting to her right now.
  • Both Liza and Lauren confront Kelsey about living with Josh. They both discovered the truth at the end of the season premiere. Lauren isn't afraid to confront her right away. She believes Kelsey is responsible for breaking Liza and Josh up. That's not true. But Liza sure would like to know what's going on with her former friends over there as well.
  • The flirtation continues between Liza and Charles. This week she helps him after he suffers from a back spasm. She knows what to do because of David but has to play it off as having a friend with an older husband. Again, it's the same type of story the show has been doing with these two for awhile now.
  • Lauren says that she finally gets to take Max out for once because he finally has a night off from work. And yet, he was at the EW event for Liza and Kelsey in the premiere. In the show's timeline, that was just the night before. So, that seems like a continuity error. It just further confirms that Lauren is annoyed by Max's schedule as a medical resident.