TV Land pulled out all the stops for the New York launch party celebrating both the return of its hit series “Younger” and premiere of newcomer “Teachers” — completely taking over the bulk of the NoMad Hotel, including the NoMad Bar, the Library and the Parlour.
“I wanted to open up stories more to the ensemble,” said Star. “I think ‘Sex and the City’ is a good analogy: I felt like at the beginning, it was more about Carrie, and then you got to find out more about the other characters. And we have such an amazing cast on this show, that we wanted to tell stories about some of the other characters more as well. Of course Liza is front and center,” he added.
The show’s premise revolves around Foster’s character, who lies about her age to invigorate her career post-divorce.
Tortorella said he’s no stranger to the age difference in dating. “When I was 19, I dated a 33-year-old, which is actually the same age difference of Josh and Liza,” he recalled. “She’s actually one of my best friends. We dated for a couple of years. So I know that dynamic really well. I’ve dated older than that, too,” he added. “I never really looked at age as a thing. I think it’s kind of written in stone that men are supposed to look at the world as a specific thing, but I just don’t. I don’t look at the world like that.”
Foster gave background as to where the series would pick up: “Basically, we’re trying to see if Josh and Liza are real and going to make it — and how are they going to navigate this new dynamic, because now it really is a 26-year-old and a 40-year-old. And since it was based on that initial sort of lie, can Josh forgive it?” she posed. “Can he accept it? Can he move on?”
What does she predict? “I feel like I want Liza to own herself,” Sutton said. “And hopefully, one day, the show can exist where she can really be her age.”
Foster teased that characters finds out about her age this year, but fans will just have to watch to find out how.
“I think the question is, ‘Can the show survive without [Liza’s secret]?’” Star posed. “I think the longer the show’s on the air, the more everyone will be wanting to just watch these characters. Because it’s still about a woman in her forties, living in a world of twentysomething women and I think it’s hard,” he said. “The show’s sort of about these intergenerational relationships between women. You don’t necessarily know their different ages, but the fact is, it really is their friendship. Their friendship is based on something real and not their age.”
Hanging portraits of both casts were sprinkled about all the rooms, while a DJ spun in the center foyer. Also set up was a photo booth area where a photographer took guests’ school pictures — which many people got in on, including the “Teachers” cast. Foster and her date for the night, her father, Bob, even partook in the hashtag photo booth in the library.
“Teachers” brings together a Chicago improv troupe called “The Katydids,” whose female members have drawn inspiration from their own lives.
“Almost all the plots are pulled from real life,” said writer/actor Katy Colloton. “They’re not necessarily pulled from our childhood, but a lot of them are pulled from personal experience. Some themes covered include dating and sexism,” she said, “but don’t be mistaken, this is definitely a comedy.”
Said cast member Kate Lambert: “You think of elementary school teachers as sunny, and to whom all things are possible, and I wanted [a character] who was unable to do that, due to her own circumstances. And who was like, ‘men lie, fairytales are not real and we’re all going to die alone.’” Does she at least attempt to find romance? “Oh, she’s on all the dating apps,” Lambert said, “because she believes that if you want to find gold, you have to set up mining camps wherever you can.”
Caitlin Barlow didn’t have to look too far for inspiration for her character. “I was a teacher, so I kind of draw inspiration from how I was,” she said. “I had lots of posters of multi-ethnic children holding hands, and always made sure my students recycled everything, including dirty Kleenex.”
The Katydids also really love music, evident as they danced and sung their hearts out during the night (to Beyonce, Whitney Houston and Cyndi Lauper).
“Younger” returns Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. EST, followed by “Teachers” at 11 p.m.
(Pictured: Darren Star, Sutton Foster, and Nico Tortorella)