Tuesday, July 17, 2018

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza and Charles Work Together in Order to Get a Novel from a Rock Star in 'Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 5.06 "Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll"

Liza is called in for reinforcements when Charles runs into trouble with a rock-star author on Shelter Island. Maggie reaches a career milestone.

How long is the tension going to last between Liza and Charles? When Kelsey found out Liza's secret, it only took three episodes of her feeling betrayed before she returned to being best friends with her. The argument could be made that things run much deeper and more personal with Charles because he loves Liza in a romantic way. She seemed to open his eyes to so much following his separation from Pauline. And now, he feels betrayed to learn that he didn't know Liza at all. And yet, this current story can only be interesting for so long. A year ago, I said that it felt a little cheap and lame that the tension between Liza and Kelsey only lasted for three episodes. That dynamic gave those episodes a renewed sense of purpose. The season meandered after they resolved their issues. As such, the impulse to expand the tension and focus this season is genuine and understandable. The writers don't want to make the same decisions as in the past. But there is also the sense that they are already straining to come up with new situations in order to prolong this dynamic between Liza and Charles. They simply don't want to talk with one another. Yes, there are still those exciting and fleeting moments of almost passion that fans of the couple have gotten quite used to over the course of five seasons. Throughout the run of the show, the two of them have always been defined by these near misses. They mean something to each other. But they never actually started dating. There was always some reason that prevented them from doing so. In fact, the show just continuing to circle the wagons with Liza and Charles made Liza's dynamic with Josh more romantic and meaningful because it was allowed to develop into something new. That's what I'm hoping for with this latest story for Liza and Charles. They could never genuinely start dating until he knew her secret. And now, he does. It came out in such a scandalous way that it was inevitably going to lead to this big blowup between them. But it's going to be very fascinating to see what actually gets the two of them to talk honestly with each other once more. Right now, it remains a lot of passive aggressive comments.

It was ultimately a very personal moment from Liza's genuine life that showed to Kelsey that she was a lovely person who deserved her continued support. Sure, it meant Caitlin being hospitalized very suddenly at a time when Liza could only rely on Kelsey for help. But it was such a significant moment that further bonded them together. Now, they have each other's backs no matter what. They are keeping this lie going together. There is probably going to be a comparable moment with how this current story with Charles ends. Right now, they are thrust together once more by going to Shelter Island in order to pick up the memoir from an infamous rock star, Chrissie. She is very reluctant to let go of her baby. She doesn't trust that it will be in good hands. Empirical understands just how huge this book could be. They are still looking for the next massive bestseller that will help financially stabilize the company. They have had a number of small successes with it seeming like Millennial will outpace Empirical during this financial year. But it's still a team effort to help every project succeed. Sure, Kelsey and Zane are very territorial and competitive when it comes to landing and helping new authors. But they are still on the same team. As such, it's easy to explain why Charles and Liza find themselves in their current predicament at Chrissie's house. Liza goes as a complete fan who wants to meet one of her music idols. Charles goes as the head of the company with a vested interest in what Chrissie has to say in this novel. Of course, the company will probably have to be very trepidatious about the work as well because she has written all of it without the input and advice of anyone else. This episode highlights the importance of an editor in helping the story be better. And so, it should be fascinating if this novel will continue to be utilized as a plot device this season.

Of course, the story is all about getting the novel from Chrissie at the moment. She doesn't trust the internet. She believes that it will be leaked and all of the time she spent on it will be a waste. In fact, it seems like she is doing absolutely everything to ensure that she doesn't have to turn over her work. She is afraid of how it will be received. It's the same process she went through with all of the music executives she had over the years. She had to be comfortable with them first before allowing them to walk out of her house with the work she has been perfecting by herself for a long time. She'll allow her guests to sample the book or the music. But she won't actually let them leave with it with the express purpose of releasing it to the world. That's such an intriguing headspace for the show to explore here. It highlights how even the most famous people in the world can still be very insecure about their work. Right now, Chrissie would rather distract Charles and Liza with the eclectic collection of objects she has at her home. She then gets them drunk to ensure that they don't actually leave her house. Of course, there's also the fake out tease of Chrissie going through all of this just in order to have sex with Charles. That immediately presents her as an adversary to Liza. Once Liza shows up at the house, Chrissie makes this comment towards her that is played as a cut to a commercial moment. It's very intense and scandalous. But then, nothing really happens from it. Chrissie passes out quickly thereafter with Liza and Charles having no idea where the book has gone off to. And so, they spend the night and talk a little bit about what it will take for Charles to trust Liza again. She wants to prove her worth to him and the company. By the end of the episode, she appears to have done just that by succeeding in a mission that Charles didn't.

Now, I didn't love Liza's explanation of being age-queer during the latest threat to her secret in the previous episode. But it's also refreshing to just see her be able to talk openly about her past as a woman going through divorce in order to form a real connection with Chrissie. It's still all building up to the punchline of Liza wanting to get her boobs signed by this rock legend. But it's also incredibly genuine when Liza is able to make Chrissie feel comfortable in handing over her book to her. That's what this relationship needs to be. It's about open communication. Liza understands that it's her job as an editor to nurture the author so they can deliver a terrific book. She wants to see Chrissie succeed. Chrissie has been so inspirational for so much of Liza's life. She can talk about the strength she found simply from listening to her music after going through her divorce. That was a difficult time for her. She found a way to get her strength back thanks to Chrissie. It's an inspiring story like that that forges this bond of trust and friendship. It's something that only happens because Liza chooses to stay. Charles ran away because he didn't want to sort through his feelings about Liza just yet. She was pleading for him to open up and talk with her because the silence has been so cruel and agonizing for her. She wants him to yell at her if that's what he needs to do to process everything that has happened. She wants some kind of reaction from him. She doesn't want more of the silence. She yearns for more in their relationship again. It's still a bunch of just teasing that the two of them are going to talk soon but don't actually do so this week. Liza is waiting for Charles to knock on her door while he is on the other side wanting to knock but just can't do it yet. That could be frustrating. But it's also so empowering to watch Liza deliver the book and signal her importance as someone who is willing to stay and fight for this company.

Elsewhere, Kelsey finds herself in a new romantic dilemma. She is actually sleeping with two different guys. She has never done something like this before. She's attracted to both Zane and Jake. She likes them for very different reasons as well. Jake is nice and funny while Zane is charming and competitive. She understands just how problematic it could be for her because both guys have close connections to her job. She works with Zane and she is Jake's editor. Those relationships are already complicated. Kelsey and Zane have allowed their constant competition to intensify so much because of their personal feelings for one another. They both feel the drive to one up what they last did. But that's a kind of energy that is bound to lead to even more danger sometime in the future. As such, it's sweet and endearing to see Jake as a viable love interest for Kelsey as well. Sure, there is reason to be concerned about the chapters he is delivering for his book. But those issues are largely sorted out by the end of the episode. It's basically played as him and Kelsey just needing to have sex in order for him to open up in telling the best stories about his time as a White House speechwriter. Kelsey wants to keep things professional because she doesn't want to compromise these business relationship. And yet, she still gives in to temptation as well. She is in turmoil because of it too because she doesn't want to be the person who is sleeping with multiple people at the same time. She believes it's unfair. Even when Lauren tries to point out that men do it all the time, Josh comes into the room to talk about being a romantic. It's a frustrating personal issue for Kelsey that she will have to figure out very quickly because she will have to continue working with both of them.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll" was written by Joe Murphy and directed by Steven Tsuchida.
  • At long last, Maggie and Diana meet! After being teased for so long, it finally happened here. As such, it's a little disappointing that it's not a much bigger deal. They are in the same location for a little bit. Then, they have their introduction and that's about it. They aren't actually paired together for a story. They quickly go their separate ways. That makes it all feel like not a big deal at all. That's a bit of a let down considering the show knew it was important whenever they met for the first time.
  • Diana is also preparing to spend the night for the first time at Enzo's apartment. She doesn't know what to expect. And so, she packs a full suitcase believing she will have to make many changes in order to find it a suitable place to spend her time. That seems to define so much of this romance right now. Diana is dating someone she perceives to be less worldly and classy than she is but is then surprised by just how impressive he can be in his corner of the world as well. That pattern is going to get old fast.
  • However, Enzo also lives with his mother. That could potentially be setting off some red flags for Diana as well. Right now though, it's just important to see the two of them being able to go toe-to-toe. Diana speaks Italian because she visited Europe when she was younger. As such, she is able to push back once Enzo's mother is making all of these comments about Diana being too old and not being able to give her grandchildren.
  • It's also just such a huge accomplishment for Maggie to get this opportunity to showcase her work in a major studio. It's her big showcase. She is so excited. She is now getting the success she has always wanted in her career. Sure, nothing is really made of it in the moment. Liza and Josh are just there to celebrate with her. But it should be interesting to see how this develops into new opportunities for her.
  • It's fun that Lauren is just encouraging these new relationships for Kelsey. She sees it as her best friend being able to have fun and explore the world for a little while. She doesn't want there to be any shame with her returning home the next morning in the same clothes from the previous day. Of course, she also wants details about what happened. Fortunately, Kelsey is willing to share everything about both guys and her struggle to know what to do next.