Wednesday, August 30, 2017

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza Purses a New Romantic Interest While Kelsey Helps Lauren in 'A Novel Marriage'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 4.10 "A Novel Marriage"

Liza is drawn into her author's Upper East Side life, forcing her worlds to collide. Kelsey comes to Lauren's rescue.

Much of this season of Younger has consisted of moving the Liza-Charles romance to the forefront. It has been a major part of the story. There is still the push-pull dynamic to their relationship. Both really want to act on their feelings but they haven't yet. There have been numerous close calls. The show has faked the audience out in believing that they actually have sex. It's been a lot of teasing. That's what this dynamic has always been. It's a lot of teasing of potential happiness because it has the appearance of being a healthy and perfect relationship for both of them. Charles is the age appropriate guy for her. He has always been that way. They have similar interests. Liza never truly committed to her feelings for Josh until it was too late. And now, she's incredibly neurotic about what a romance would mean with Charles. It's just so complicated and getting even more so with each passing episode. This season clearly wants them to be together. But it's also continuing to throw new obstacles in their path. First came the return of Pauline with her tell-all book and her still strong feelings for Charles. Then came Kelsey discovering the reason why Josh didn't propose to Liza and warning her not to sleep with Charles. All of this is just so complicated. So, it makes sense that the audience should be questioning whether we even want them to get together. Is Liza ever capable of acting on her feelings and allowing things to be simple for once? The show has continually proved that when it comes to dating either Josh or Charles things will never be simple or easy. That's what provides the show with its drama. It's just gotten very repetitive and tiring over the years.

And now, Liza seems to be making a clear choice of what she actually wants in her life right now. She's so torn about her feelings for Charles. Is it just a fantasy of sleeping with the boss? Or does she actually want to give a relationship a chance? His feelings are abundantly clear. He is in love with her and no one else. He continually wants to prove to Liza that nothing has changed despite all the evidence to the contrary this season. He wants to be with her. But she wants to edit a bestselling book and keep her promises to her friends. That's what she wants. She has enjoyed working with Pauline. She relates to her story. There are key differences to their life stories. Pauline felt trapped because of being nothing more than a wife to a successful publisher while Liza felt burdened by her marriage to a gambling addict who cheated on her. But the emotional truth of their feelings are compatible. That's what has allowed this partnership to flourish. Both of them can articulate the emotions and feelings of this book and its intention very clearly. Charles is actually taken aback by how well Liza and Pauline are working together. He has concerns about the novel and how his portrayal will come across to the rest of the world. But Liza and Pauline have the arguments to keep him calm about the book. He may be spiraling out because of the stress but Liza and Pauline are fine with what they are doing.

Of course, Liza and Pauline are then thrown into the life that they were trying to escape in the first place. Pauline chose to return to New York to release this book. She left in order to discover herself once more. It was cathartic to express all of these feelings in writing. But now, she is coming face-to-face with the people whose approval she desperately craved during her marriage. She is still afraid to be alone together with them. She wants Liza by her side throughout this whole process. She's a comforting ally throughout all of this. Pauline knows that she can rely on Liza because she understands what she's going through. She can be open with her editor in a very honest and blunt way. Of course, that's not always something that Liza wants. She learns that Charles wanted to take her off of the book and that Charles and Pauline may move back in together. There's only so much truth to that because Pauline is still trying to win Charles back. But Liza finds herself trapped between these two people. She likes both of them. She doesn't want to be responsible for keeping their family apart. But more importantly, she wants everyone to be happy. Everything has just gotten so intense and complicated. She just wants the book to succeed. Charles sees that as a rejection of him. He make her dreams a reality. But he's cooling off on his feelings for her. That's somewhat devastating though not all that surprising either. It's clear that if something is going to happen between Liza and Charles this season, then it will happen in the finale.

So instead, Liza finds comfort elsewhere in her life. Jay has been such a fascinating addition to this season. He started off as a rival in the publishing industry who then discovered Liza's secret. Because he didn't go away after that reveal, it was clear that he was going to have importance in Liza's personal life. He could perhaps be a friend she could turn to for support. But now, it's just so comforting and easy to be with him. He can actually help her at the party when Bob and Julia show up and want to talk about Caitlin and her recent appendicitis. Usually, Liza is all by herself trying to lie her way out of the situation when her two lives are set to intersect. She has survived this long because of her own wits. But now, she has an ally to rely on. Jay quickly springs into action to rescue her. That's something that only he could do at this party. Kelsey isn't there and Charles and Pauline see Liza as a 20-something editor. Bob and Julia know her as the mother of their daughter's best friend and college roommate. So, Liza is fortunate to have Jay in her life. Their banter has always been simple and easy as well. It's not surprising that they would act on their romantic connection. Again, there's no need to worry about all of the lying. There's no need to come across as a crazy person who can ruin a company because of her secret. She can just be herself with him. There is no judgment whatsoever. That's refreshing and makes it incredibly easy to root for them as a couple.

The rest of the stories of this episode are largely just setting things up for the endgame of the season. And yet, Lauren's personal story is noteworthy and should be discussed in a more prominent way. The show has never really told stories about her job. She's a publicist who can always be helpful when it comes to social media knowledge and assistance. Her role on the show has always been as the crazy but supportive best friend. She can appear and disappear easily because she doesn't need to fit into the Empirical work environment. The show has told stories about her personal life before. She's dated several people but those relationships have never worked out. And now, her professional life is coming to the forefront for once. She reveals that she has gotten fired. She's absolutely devastated and is now living out of this exclusive club for high-powered women. This club isn't that great. Kelsey is able to network a little but isn't that impressed. Instead, she just needs to be a loving and caring friend to Lauren during this difficult time. Lauren is now an unemployed 20-something living with her parents. She has become the stereotype. She always enjoys bucking expectations. But now, she has no idea how to survive because she has lost so much. This all may be the show setting it up for her to finally join Empirical to help with the social media aspect of the business. Or it could ultimately be nothing and show that Kelsey needs to be the stable friend this season. It's a fascinating decision that could create a number of story threads in the future.

Some more thoughts:
  • "A Novel Marriage" was written by Alison Brown and directed by Andrew Fleming.
  • Liza, Pauline and Kelsey going to The Nest for a party is largely just responsible for getting Pauline back into her former social circle to see how much she has changed over the past year. But Kelsey also gets to meet a producer for Good Morning America who is really interested in doing a segment on Pauline's book. Of course, the producer is also eager to hear all of the gossip about it too.
  • Claire is doing her best to make a good impression on Josh's friends. She's cleaning up the apartment for Josh and Kelsey. But she also gets the disappointing news that the gaming company won't be hiring her which means she'll have to move back to Ireland without a work visa. That's the first indication that she's not the absolute perfect girlfriend for Josh.
  • Ethan is still living with Diana and Richard. She's started to get really annoyed by his continued presence and Richard's lackluster attitude about all of it. She's ready for him to move out and is forcing Richard to commit to looking for an apartment. She sees that he's too blinded by his love for his son. But it's nice that this doesn't cause a huge fight - at least for now.
  • There isn't quite enough to Maggie's story to really call it a full subplot in this episode. It's more like a collection of jokes that she makes while Liza is in the apartment with her. But they are still funny because it involves her being naked in pictures taken by Google Earth. She learns to embrace it in the end as well.
  • Was it really all that necessary for Diana to pull Liza aside to once again underline the importance of her editing Pauline's book? In success, it could really boost her career in the company. In failure, it could lead to a disastrous dynamic with Charles. But these feelings have already been expressed over the last few episodes. Did it really need to be stated again?