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The Untold Truth Of Younger

TV Land's longest running original show, Younger, is about to enter its 7th and final season. While the goodbyes will be hard, the Darren Star-minted show will always be there for us, should we ever want to re-escape to the ageist lies a middle aged mother is forced to tell in order to re-enter the working world as a millennial, fall in love TWICE, and a find a new lease on life. While all this amazing fun can be viewed onscreen in jam-packed 22 minute increments, there's a lot going on behind the scenes that few know about. For a show with a lot of lies flying about, now the untold truths of Younger can finally be told!

If this is all Greek to you, you're never too old to start watching Younger from the very beginning. But beware, many spoilers can and will be found below, as some truths are not always self-evident.

Life Imitating Art Imitating Life

Younger is based on a 2005 novel by former Glamour fashion editor Pamela Redmond Satran. She got the idea for the book after reading an article in Vogue on extreme plastic surgery and the lengths people will go to look...younger. 

Her (no plastic surgery required) heroine's name is Alice, as In Wonderland, and was renamed "Liza" for the TV show that took ten years to develop. Like Alice/Liza, Satran tried to reinvent herself in middle age, left her marriage and shifted careers by jumping from book writing in Montclair, New Jersey to television writing in Hollywood. And like Alice/Liza, she had to start all over again, taking classes with kids the same age as her own. And unlike Alice/Liza, she claims to have had far less sex in her life. 

In addition to Younger, the age-conscious scribe wrote the notorious Glamour list turned book 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30, as well as the best-selling youthful guide, How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Dope, Awesome, Or at Least Not Totally Lame. In 2020, she released a sequel to Younger titled Older, where Liza is about to turn 50 and her semi-autobiographical novel Younger is set to be turned into a TV show. The audiobook is narrated by TV's Liza, Sutton Foster! Life imitating art imitating art imitating life!

A Darren Star Search Is Born

Playing the loveable Liza Miller on Younger may appear to be the big breakthrough of Sutton Foster's career, but her star has long been shining. An acclaimed actor and singer on the Great White Way for most of this century, she has been nominated for 6 Tonys has won a pair (for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes). 

Foster has even appeared on TV before, debuting on Star Search in 1990, then playing the lead on the series Bunheads from 2012-2013. She's also had memorable gigs on a wide array of diverse programs, ranging from Sesame Street to Flight of the Conchords.

While she may not have nabbed a role in The Mickey Mouse Club or passed any of her 15 auditions for Rent, we don't expect her to ever be unemployed again. If acting doesn't pan out, she can continue to teach musical theater at Ball State University, who bestowed her with an honorary doctorate, or release albums, or paint, or crochet, or do her velociraptor impression, or pick her nose with her tongue.

Fair Gamer

Peter Hermann is the one cast member to work with Darren Star twice, AND has actual experience working in print media. 

Hermann previously was a Star man on both Sex & The City and Cashmere Mafia. On Sex he appeared as an eligible Jewish bachelor set up by his mother with the newly converted Charlotte (Kristin Davis). On Mafia, he played the cheating husband to COO Juliet (Miranda Otto). 

Before he jumped into the acting world, the Yale grad lent his talents to Teach For America, followed by internships at several publishing companies, and then a two year gig working as a fact checker at Vanity Fair. He even tried his hand at writing some pieces, including an ill-fated interview with Sofia Coppola that went so long that he ended up flipping his tape over twice and recording over the beginning of the interview. 

In 2018, Peter released the children's book If the S in Moose Comes Loose. While we all secretly wish the handsome wordsmith would marry Sutton Foster in real life, he is happily married to Jane Mansfield's daughter Mariska Hargitay. The two met on the set of Law & Order: SVU, and he asked her out on a date...to attend church!

Breast In Show

Former teen idol Hilary Duff has had a hard time shaking her perky clean Disney-Lizzie McGuire image and booking more adult rules. But in real life, she's quite the adult, having been married twice, a mother of three, and recently launching a partnership with Naturalena Brands to design and sell natural and plant-based baby and feminine products. 

Landing the role of Younger's millennial high-riser Kelsey Peters has helped to change viewers' minds and perceptions of how tall the 5'2" cutie can truly stand. It's Hilary Duff AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HER BEFORE! Climbing men and the corporate ladder, Kelsey/Hilary isn't afraid to do whatever is necessary, including baring her breasts. Speaking of, she's even shared a taste of her breast milk with co-star Nico Tortorella, who deemed it "delicious." 

With Younger coming to a conclusion, Duff has been in talks with Star to create a spin-off show for Kelsey. Lizzie McWho?

Girl On Girl Action

New York City born and bred Debi Mazar is no outsider to the LBGTQ community. A lot of her good friends growing up were gay, and she and her BFF Madonna were big on the '80s club scene alongside the likes of artists Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Studio 54 impresario Steve Rubell (who vomited all over her brand new Manolo Blahniks on Madge and Sean Penn's wedding day). 

When cast as Younger's lesbian artist Maggie Amato, she wanted to do the community proud, and loud. Mazar and her husband, Italian celebrity chef Gabriele Corcos, are both glad she's sticking with her own gender, as neither wanted her smooching the opposite sex. 

"I'd much rather make out with girls than make out with guys, because I'm married, and I only want to kiss my husband," Mazar sweetly said. Mazar has put a lot of her scene partners at ease for their hook-ups, even giving kissing pointers by putting "our lips together and smash our faces together like they did in the 1920's movies. It doesn't have to be this groping, weird thing. Actors can make it look good if they know what they're doing. It's really about the suggestion of sensuality." 

Out of Sight, Out of Body

It's the BIG moment all Younger fans AND cast had been waiting for – when Liza and Charles finally became one, and sealed the deal. 

We all had to hold out until Season 5, Episode 8, to see the "Bubble" burst, and it was well worth the wait. The opening scene sexcapade was so touching and emotional, it still fogs up glasses at just the thought of it. 

The steamed-up scene was inspired by a similar one in Steven Soderbergh's 1998 modern noir classic Out of Sight. The coupling there was J-Lo and George Clooney, as they beautifully undressed each other with their eyes, and then slowly with their hands, complete with falling snow. If you watch the two scenes one after each other, you will love and appreciate the Younger montage homage even more. 

Darren Star laid it out like this, "Give the audience everything. The conversation, the physical intimacy, all at once. They were also enjoying the moment, like every other moment they've shared. It's wonderful to frame it with a lot of intimacy of looking into each other's eyes and looking at each other. It's not only about physical intimacy."

Not So Thinly Veiled Literary References

For a show about publishing, there's no reason to start from scratch when creating a back (and forward) catalog for your fictional company Empirical. While they have dropped many real life names and their works along the way, Younger is at its most creative when they borrow a book from the real world, and loan it out as something witty, outlandish and new. 

Lecherous, slobby behemoth Edward L.L. Moore (Richard Masur), author of Crown of Kings? Dead ringer for Game of Thrones scribe George R.R. Martin. Moore/Masur's four episode stint is both a riot and a laugh riot, where his needy demands end up getting Liza into a fur bikini as his Princess Pam Pam. Other authors getting the thinly veiled send up include organizer Marie Kondo, YAer with faults John Green, socialite Cat Marnell (an incredible F-you job by Justine Lupe), struggler Karl Ove Knausgård, hawkish Helen Macdonald, clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, sheep farmer James Rebanks (you'll never look at Matthew Morrison and a sheep the same ever again), and of course, Darren Star's Sex and the City source materializer Candace Bushnell (embarrassingly done well by Jane Krawkoski).

Novel-ty Items

A roadblock in the Liza/Charles romance was always the ghost of his wife, Pauline Brooks, who left her husband and two daughters to go find herself before the series began. In Season 4, estrangement no more! She's back, in the physical form of former Jon Hamm flame Jennifer Westfeldt, and she's got a hot novel that's ready for its own physical form – Marriage Vacation

A thinly veiled memoir of Pauline (named Kate Carmichael in the book) and Charles' life, and her holiday away from her family, its steamy details (read page 58!) and polished prose makes it hard for Empirical to pass on its publication, setting up the ultimate conflicts of interest. Liza loves and supports the book and its author, but as the buzz and bucks start rolling in, will Pauline be rolling back in on her own literary prize Charles? Speaking of physical forms, to coincide with their Season 5 premiere, the fake book was released as an actual real world one, but published by the real company Simon & Schuster

Not to be left out, Charles released his own novel too, The Miseducation of Henry Cane. Both books were ghostwritten by Jo Piazza. Simon & Schuster also released a historical romance novel by Jane The Virgin.

Tattoo You

In the Younger book, Liza's boy toy Josh is a video-game designer, but on the show, the hunky 26 year old with no last name was transformed into a Brooklyn tattoo artist with his own parlor. 

Makes sense, considering his screen body belongs to actor Nico Tortorella, who has plenty of tattoos to begin with. He got his first tatt at 15 and from there kept on inking, including his grandfather and brother's names, and a mother lion holding her baby cub (on the mother's shoulder is a tattoo anchor that says "Mom"). 

The tattoo within the tattoo is an "ode" to his beloved (living) mother. As for the fake ones he wears for Josh, Nico finds them "terrible," with his least favorites being "the dragon or the dolphin swimming to my wiener." The fake tatts take about 45 minutes to apply, and twice as long to remove. Not everything will end up on his permanent record.

A Heck Lotta Necklaces

"Neckwear should inspire envy, Liza, not seizures" -Diana Trout

Well said, Diana, like every pearl of wisdom that springs from your biting tongue. There are so many characters to love on Younger, but none are perhaps more loveable than the should-be-hateable chic boss lady Diana Trout, played to whip smarty-pants perfection by Miriam Shor (she was the original Yitzhak in both the stage and film versions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and worked on the short lived Darren Star executive produced series GCB:Good Christian Bitches). 

She's the most put together, fashion forward of the bunch, and no part of her wardrobe gets more attention than the statement necklaces ringing around her collar. Over 6 seasons and 72 episodes, she has sported well over 100 necklaces on the show, which run the gamut of what she's dubbed "Flavor Flav" to one that "looked like the medallion from Indiana Jones." In real life, her tastes in jewelry are "the polar opposite," as she barely wears any, not even her own wedding ring. Truly a Shor thing!

Fan Mail Dreams Come True

No character and cast member exudes more confidence, fervor and words out of their mouth than pansexual Lauren Heller does, played to a boil by Molly Bernard. She steals any scene that she's in, and is always down to party. Come on, who wouldn't want to attend her Hot Mitzvah

While Molly's family pedigree runs deep in acting and Hollywood (her grandfather Joseph was a teacher under Lee Strasberg and founded his own acting school, and father Sam wrote many screenplays, including the 1986 BMX bike film Rad), she has a lot of fear, anxiety and doubt in her own acting abilities. Luckily, she got a mentor in Sutton Forster, twice! 

When she was 14 years of age, Molly was obsessed with the Broadway show, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and wrote her first (and last ever) fan letter to the show's Millie – Sutton Foster. Sutton replied with a kind note, telling her to follow her dreams. It was a dream come true for Molly when the two worked together on Younger – "I learn so much from her every day. She has a lot of responsibility on this show. She is pretty much in every scene and she navigates it so well. She was an inspiration at 14 and continues to be!"

Younger Fiona to Younger

As you just read, some Younger connections run old. 

On the show, Liza's daughter Caitlin is studying abroad in India, leaving mom to roost around an empty nest. But not for long, as her idle hands get itchy and she leaves the nest too. Well the two birds who play mother and daughter, Sutton Foster and Tessa Albertson, are no strangers to one another. They both crossed paths and scripts on Broadway in The Shrek Musical, based on the Dreamworks movie from 2001. 

Foster played the jolly green giant ogre's love interest Fiona for the show's entire run from 2008 through 2010. While not the original cast member to play "Teen Fiona," Tessa joined Foster and the production in 2009. It was in Shrek that Tessa truly fell in love with performing and wanted to do it as a career, and is thankful to have Sutton be there with her then and now, adding "If this world's taught me anything, it's that our paths will cross again."

Twin Billing/Killing

Dan Amboyer has a very familiar, pretty face. Some may know him best for playing the titular future King of England from the Hallmark movie William & Catherine: A Royal Romance, while others from his 12 episode residency on Younger, and a bonus 3 episodes on the same show...as another character. 

Yes, for Seasons 1 & 2, Amboyer slinked into the role as Kelsey's not so super boyfriend Thad Steadman. Thad learned of Liza's "old" secret late in Season 2 and planned to blackmail her, but Liza had her own dirt on the two-timer. Luckily for Liza, her problem was solved when a construction beam fell and crushed the snooty Ivy Leaguer to death. That was an end to Thad, and the beginning of his twin brother Chad. 

Star loved working with Amboyer so much that he drummed up the twin to keep him employed on the show. Chad, of course, turned out to be just as much of a cad as Thad, and prior to the show's timeline, pretended to be Thad and bedded an unsuspecting Kelsey. Luckily a third twin brother hasn't shown up yet, but if he does we're guessing he'd probably be named Brad.

Adios Cuba, Hello Hamptons

One of the most memorable episodes of Younger was the penultimate one of Season 3, where our team of Empirical Pressers headed to Montauk for the Hamptons Book Fair. It was a well-needed field trip away from the midtown Manhattan office, where everyone let down their hair, and their guard. 

Josh was ready to propose to Liza, but after having their collective breaths taken away at a Berlin concert, she and Charles shared a moonlit kiss, unbalancing their work/life relationship forever while breaking poor Josh's heart. The Hamptons seemed like a natural fit for the NY-based show, but Miami was the destination the production previously had in mind for the shoot. Thanks (or NO thanks) to Zika, they had to scrub that idea and think locally. And before Miami, they thought even bigger – Cuba! 

The episode was supposed to be a writers and artists conference, with a plot about uncovering a long lost Hemingway manuscript. This initial locale was also scrapped due to Zika. Don't worry, everyone eventually got an out of state, out of country work trip out of the deal anyway, as they filmed the Season 4 finale in Ireland!

A Whole Lotta Leos

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, and covers those who have birthdays between July 23rd to August 22nd. Leos are lions ruled by the sun, and are known to enjoy the spotlight and being the center of attention. They have a lot of passion, ambition, self-esteem, creativity and are dramatic by nature. How fitting, then, that the series' creator (Darren Star) and six cast members (in order of birth: Debi Mazar, Peter Hermann, Miriam Shor, Michael Urie, Nico Tortorella and Tessa Albertson) are all Leos!

"I'm a Leo, so I have a lot of pride," - Debi Mazar

In case you were curious, Sutton Foster is a Pisces — who are known to be smart, emotional, intuitive, selfless, empathetic, and good at adapting to their surroundings. Just like Liza!