Oh, to be young — to see the possibility for reinvention, and to seize it. In TV Land’s single-camera comedy series Younger from Darren Star, Liza Miller, a 40-year-old divorced mother, does just that.
Based on Pamela Redmond Satran’s novel, the series — which has finished its second season — follows Liza (Sutton Foster) as she makes the unorthodox decision to reinvent herself as a 26-year-old career woman in the publishing world.
Following an AwardsLine screening of Season 2’s final episodes, Star and his stars — including Foster, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Hilary Duff and Peter Hermann — sat down with Deadline’s Dominic Patten to discuss the series’ arc, an evolution that begins and ends with Liza.
“Reinvention is a beautiful, wonderful thing,” said Foster, who made the transition from Broadway to TV in recent years. “In many ways, I’m living a parallel life to Liza, because I’m reinventing myself too. I feel like I’m in a whole new chapter of my life, my career.”
Said Duff, who plays Liza’s younger co-worker, Kelsey Peters, “I think the first season is a lot of the setup — it is kind of a complex show, so with the second season, it was nice to delve into the different characters.” Expounding on her character’s path recently, Duff explained, “Kelsey got a lot more confident in work, where she was standing her ground and knowing her worth. That was a cool way to start the season, and it will hopefully inspire young people to follow suit, and know that what they say should be heard.”
Said Mazar, who plays Maggie, the equally older friend of Liza who also enables her in the Faustian experiment: “For me, it’s interesting to see how all the other characters are coming out of their shells. Maggie’s waking up a little bit through Liza’s journey. I think part of the freedom of being older is that you have more freedom; you don’t give a sh*t anymore.”
Quipped Star: “That’s going to be the spinoff, by the way. It’s just, Older.”
And then there’s Shor’s Diana Trout, Liza’s boss at the publishing house Empirical: “I broke a man’s penis this season,” the actress said to great laughs, “So that was an arc.”
Foster’s Liza ultimately falls for her boss Charles Brooks, played by Peter Hermann. Star said that was an easy story line to hammer out thanks to the actors’ chemistry. When the characters, “said hello to each other, the air was so thick. The audience was like, ‘They’re getting together!’
“We have to follow that lead,” said the Younger creator.
Not unlike other series creators like Matt Weiner on Mad Men or Ryan Murphy on Scream Queens, Star has made a practice of not sharing future scripts and season ideas with the cast.
“It doesn’t matter who we try to sugar up to — we get nothing!” Duff joked.
“Do you know how hard it is not to know anything?” Hermann asked dramatically, panning to the audience. “I had somebody come up to me on the street and she was like, ‘Do you end up with her?”, he recalled, channeling his most grumpy and frightening voice — to which he simply and truthfully said, “I don’t know!”
In regards to Season 3, Star joked, “It wasn’t a dream — how’s that? No Bobby Ewing.” Then he teased: “If everyone ends up happily ever after, there’s no show. Give that some thought.”
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