Younger TV’s Liza & Josh: Age really Is just a number…or Is it?

This post originally appeared on the Heroes & Heartbreakers Blog on March 7th. Click here for the original post.

Since then, season two ended March 23rd. Did I call it or what? Between Josh coming back and Charles' kiss, we have the perfect romantic conflict cued up for season 3 with “Team Josh” and “Team Charles.” I love this show, especially since it confronts the issue of romance between a younger man and an older woman, who is sexy, smart, and the anti-cougar…just like Jillian.

One of the things my husband and I do together is find shows and binge-watch them—On-Demand is our passport to a world of discovery. In early January, we stumbled across Sex in the City creator Darren Star’s new series,Younger. I was a huge Sex in the City fan, and convinced my husband to give it a try. The show features an older woman/younger man romance with a significant age gap, a relationship set-up of particular interest to me. Why? Stay with me to find out.

Though dubious, my husband agreed to watch the first episode. That’s all it took. We were both hooked, binge-watching the entire first season in one night and gearing us up for Season Two.

Hillary Duff and Sutton Foster in TV Land's Younger.

Hillary Duff and Sutton Foster in TV Land's Younger.

Coined a “dramedy” by Hillary Duff, who plays Kelsey Peters (friend and co-worker of main character Liza Miller),Younger raises real problems in an often hilarious way. The storyline centers around Liza Miller, a divorced 40-year old New Jersey housewife, who poses as a 26-year-old in order to fight the ageism she finds in publishing. She’s trying to reenter the workforce after staying home to raise her now college-aged daughter, Caitlyn. Lucky for Liza, she has a natural, fresh, young look which, paired with a creative makeover from her friend Maggie, allows her to pass as a millennial. No surprise, she’s hired as an assistant to 40-something, elitist Diana Trout at Empirical Press. However, Liza soon makes fast friends with Kelsey, a 20-something on her way up, which makes the job bearable.

But looking 26 and being 26, as Liza finds out, are two very different things. Liza not only has to pretend to be a millennial, she needs to understand how to be one. Between social media, personal grooming, hip vocabulary, and dating, she enters a new and vibrant world in an effort to support herself and her daughter.

One night at a Brooklyn bar, Liza meets 26-year-old tattoo artist, Josh, who tries to pick her up, thinking she’s a woman his age. The fact that he’s mistaken her for someone younger is not only flattering; it’s the impetus behind her journey.

Josh is hot with a capital “H.” He’s the right mix of sexy and adorable, but it takes some thought on Liza’s part before she takes him up on his offer.

The show, even though written as a comedy, quickly dredges up our age biases as it applies to romance and veers into the dreaded “cougar” territory. Liza’s daughter is appalled when she spies Liza kissing Josh, and decides to go live with her father.

A fourteen-year age difference between an older man and younger woman barely raises eyebrows, but done in reverse draws all kinds of criticism. In the “Truffle Butter” episode (Season 2, Number 5), Liza’s 40-ish New Jersey friends—a married couple—discover via her daughter’s Instagram account that mom is dating a much younger guy. So they show up at the Brooklyn bar where Josh’s band is playing to check him out. Before the night is over, they invite Liza and Josh to their New Jersey home for dinner. Though Josh is world-traveled, he’s never been to New Jersey. But curious about Liza’s life before Brooklyn, Josh says, sure, why not?

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