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‘Younger’ Yanks the Rug Out From Under Viewers — and Star

‘Younger’ Yanks the Rug Out From Under Viewers — and Star
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Oh boy, that finale killed me. What were you thinking?

SUTTON FOSTER I really feel like this was our best season but also the most torturous one. The writers had been introducing the idea of Charles and Liza having their moment, and then for it to be thwarted by the wife, and then Liza was with Josh — everything is just a big mess, and that’s what’s exciting about heading into Season 5.

DARREN STAR I don’t think we wanted to abandon Josh. Liza is a woman who is in love with two men who are very different. And Josh has had a hard time getting over her. He’s young and a passionate romantic. And he may not have made the best decision to marry Clare, but I think he had to put a ring between Liza and him.

FOSTER The one thing that made me feel better about the finale was that the last thing you see is Charles calling Liza, and it’s like this little tiny promise.

What was he calling to say, Darren?

STAR I think he was calling to say … a lot. Let’s avoid spoilers and just say that he’s thinking of her.

FOSTER In my heart, I feel like that relationship is inevitable, right? They’ve got to explore it, because if they don’t people are just going to get mad. [Laughs]

STAR But there’s a fantasy aspect to that relationship, and I think Liza realizes that too. Their attraction for each other is real, but she has been lying to him [about her real age], and now he has a wife that wants to reconcile. This season has really been about Liza not being as selfish about what she wants in terms of romance, but thinking about what’s best for these men in her life. And she’s thinking it may not be her.

Why on earth did you introduce the wife?

STAR We pulled the rug out from under the audience, but there has always been a wife, and we’ve thought about where she is and what she’s doing. And Jennifer Westfeldt is an actress I’ve always admired. She feels smart, and I believe her as that woman. We didn’t want to make her a villain. And you understand that Liza can relate to this woman wanting a second chance, just like she wanted a second chance.

Like that scene where Liza gives up a relationship with Charles to edit Pauline’s book?

FOSTER It’s so tricky. I’m toeing this line because Liza obviously has feelings for this man, but she also has this incredible drive and determination, and she sees there’s this incredible opportunity. The way I looked at it was she chooses the book “over Charles” because she has to remove herself romantically from the situation because that’s the right thing to do for his marriage. If she had chosen that path [with Charles], that would have said a lot about her inner character. And that’s too messy. The compromise was to still be involved. So it was a little selfless and a little selfish.

Maybe a little too selfless.

STAR For this season. [Laughs]

Ratings are up nearly 30 percent from Season 3. .

STAR A big part of it is word of mouth. It was always going to be a show that needed to find its audience, and the audience needed to find the network, or find the show in a different way. We’re always the No. 1 comedy on iTunes. And now that the show’s on Hulu, we have a whole new audience that wants to binge it. It’s very much the “Sex and the City” audience. Women of all ages — and then the men that they get to watch it.

FOSTER And also, it’s not a cynical show. It’s a rom-com, it’s a little frothy delight, and no one’s blowing each other up or setting things on fire, and even the friendships are kind and genuine. It’s just a breath of fresh air.

“Younger” began with a lie. How do you carry that through a fifth season or possibly longer?

STAR This show was premise-driven at the beginning with a woman who feels she has a lot of integrity but needs to make one small lie to deal with a system that she feels is unfair. But ultimately it’s character-driven, and the audience is in love with the characters.

The lie will continue as long as it feels organically necessary. But a number of people do know, and the lie isn’t part of those stories anymore. So if it comes to the point that everybody knows the truth, there’s still a series here. I think of it more as an intergenerational love story about how people can have connections despite their age.



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