Wednesday, August 9, 2017

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Two Big Romantic Moments Have the Potential to Change Everything in 'Fever Pitch'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 4.07 "Fever Pitch"

Liza discovers an exciting new author, whose pitch takes an unexpected turn. Kelsey avoids the wrath of Charles, and escapes upstate with Josh and Lauren.

There are a number of big romantic developments that happen in "Fever Pitch." And yet, it still feels like the show is just teasing the audience with little glimpses of romance only to thwart it all in the end with new plot complications. There are two significant kisses that happen in this episode. Both feel like a long time coming. It's easy to side with Maggie when she's telling Liza to just have sex with Charles already. The show has literally been telling the same romantic story between the two of them for several seasons now. They grow incredibly close because they can relate on so many different subjects. They are passionate about the same things. But the two of them always pull away from each other because their relationship is forbidden. Being with Charles means Liza has to tell him the truth about her age. That could ruin everything for her. Similarly, a potential relationship between Josh and Kelsey is forbidden somewhat as well because of the Liza connection. They love her so much and don't want to betray her by having this kind of relationship behind her back. Both of these moments felt inevitable to happen this season. It should be interesting to see what happens next. But it's still just the show whetting the audience's appetite for it.

Of course, there's a huge amount of misdirection in the opening minutes of this episode as well. Those are incredibly problematic. The show literally depicts Liza and Charles having sex. It has finally happened. After his big declaration of love, she goes back to his office and the two of them actually have sex. When Liza wakes up revealing it all to be a dream, it feels like a cheat. It's a way for the show to deliver on the passion and excitement for the audience while still keeping things fundamentally the same. But that's incredibly predictable and lame. It's the show trying to have its cake and eat it too. It's giving the audience the moment it clearly craves while still not pulling the trigger on the two of them as a couple just yet. It's enough to produce a hot and heavy moment to start the episode. But there's still apparently too much fun with keeping the two of them apart. They have their issues that Liza still hasn't figured out. But the desire for this moment to happen is getting hotter than ever before. If it doesn't happen at some point this season, then the audience should just give up on expecting it to ever occur.

And yet, it still feels like that is the direction the show wants to be pursuing this season. Liza and Charles have been getting closer this year. He was partly responsible for her breakup with Josh. But Liza and Josh have largely worked things out. No, they haven't really talked since the night of Montana's big art show where Maggie brought out a knife. But there's no longer the tension that comes from the actions that caused their breakup. And now, Liza feels perfectly fine pinning after her boss. There's stress in the workplace. But their feelings for each other are still clearly heating up. He was angry to see her out on a date with Jay. He saw that as a betrayal to the dynamic they shared. As such, there is a newfound awkwardness between the two of them. Charles doesn't even come into work. He and Kelsey want to avoid the consequences of what has just happened at Empirical. That leaves Liza and Diana in charge for the day. That's fine. But it's also much more important when Charles shows up and Liza is working late at night. It's a moment where they decide to actually give into their desires. They decide to stop talking and just have sex already. They've had enough of their lives always getting in the way of their feelings.

However, the show is still introducing new conflicts to get in the way of Liza and Charles as a couple. Now, it's a big obstacle as well. Charles' ex-wife has been mentioned several times over the course of the series. She has never been seen. It's just important that she left the family and the kids don't even see her anymore. Liza is the first person Charles has connected with in a deep and meaningful way since the split. That's what drives his desire to her. She's refreshing and new. He views her as a kindred spirit. He believes that means it's not weird when factoring in the apparent age difference. Of course, that's not the truth. It also means that Liza can really relate to a book pitch she hears about a women who needed to leave the stress of her marriage and find herself again. It's truly a shock when the author is revealed to be Pauline, Charles' ex-wife. She's very sneaky in seeking Liza out and pitching the book to her and not through the normal channels. It makes it seem like Liza walked away from Pitch Fest with a winner for the company. But now, it's much more complicated than that. It's truly a shock when Charles sees Pauline's name on the papers Liza has just delivered to him. He wants to be with Liza. But just as he's about to do that, his ex-wife shows up again and forces him to shut down emotionally. He leaves and it's sad because yet another plot complication has forced the two apart. But there's still the sweet hopefulness at the end of the episode. These feelings are still real. Charles was just taken by surprise and reacted poorly as a result.

Elsewhere, Kelsey escapes the city in order to avoid her problems at work. It's a vacation she may need right now in order to deal with all the stress she's been under. But the purpose of this story isn't really about that. It's about bringing the Kelsey-Josh flirtation to the forefront. That has been a part of their dynamic ever since they moved in at the start of the season. It always felt inevitable that something romantic would happen between them. When they were both angry with Liza, it felt like a potentially toxic relationship that they would fall into simply because of the level of understanding between them. But now, they've both mended things with Liza. There is no longer the tension that comes from that dynamic. So, a potential relationship between them no longer feels like something that is inherently bad. It's still awkward because of the overall character histories throughout the show. It definitely feels like a random character pairing a show does late in its run in order to shake up its formula. It's a little too forced as well - especially when Lauren won't stop talking about how it's going to happen because they both secretly like each other in that way. A kiss does happen. It's sweet and nice. But it doesn't evolve into something more than that. It's actually a moment that highlights their maturity. Yes, they are still running away from their problems. But Kelsey and Josh have the awareness that a relationship between them isn't crazy but it's not right either - at least for the moment. That makes them feel like they've really grown based on the experiences they've had throughout the show. It's also the show delivering something it promised earlier this year while also not making too big a deal about it either.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Fever Pitch" was written by Joe Murphy and directed by Peter Lauer.
  • So, what exactly is going on with Jay? His story wasn't wrapped up with the simple dinner date where he promised not to reveal Liza's secret. Now, they are actually friends texting with each other. Is he being positioned as a new love interest for her that will get in the way of working things out with Charles? Or is he trying to get publishing secrets from her just like Zane did to Kelsey?
  • Sometimes it can still be very annoying when Liza is incredibly naive about something in the publishing industry. She goes to Pitch Fest in this episode and has no idea that it's absolutely terrible. She hears pitches that aren't fully fleshed out or are completely bad or are just ripoffs of more famous works. It crushes her spirit until Pauline shows up.
  • Marriage Vacation does seem like a strong title for Pauline's book. But with Charles knowing that it's a tell-all about their marriage, it could be quite difficult for him and his company to publish. Liza could relate. But now that she knows more, she may have some pause about working with her in the future. And yet, she still asks for more chapters.
  • It's only Wednesday but Kelsey is planning on taking a long weekend away from the city and avoiding work altogether. But at the cabin, all she wants to do is look at her emails. Liza is even willing to send her chapters of Pauline's book - even though it may not be a perfect title for Millennial to publish.
  • There isn't much to Kelsey, Lauren and Josh's getaway to the cabin upstate. As such, the story fills time by incorporating a bunch of random shots of penis-shaped items. There's no reason for those visuals to be a part of this story. It's just completely weird and random. It keeps up the show's love for crude jokes that rely too much on visual association.