SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the Season 2 finale of “Younger,” which aired on March 23.
TV Land’s critical darling “Younger” wrapped up its second season Wednesday night, and while the ladies’ friendships all ended on a high note, Liza’s (Sutton Foster) love life is at an all-time high of complexity.
In the aftermath of Thad’s (Dan Amboyer) sudden death, Kelsey (Hilary Duff) is shaken up at her fiancé’s funeral and matters only get worse when Liza comes clean about knowing that Thad was cheating on her. Kelsey blows up at Liza who handles the fight by quitting Empirical Publishing to start a new life and give Kelsey her own space. By the end of the episode, Liza and everyone around her realizes that leaving Empirical is not the answer and — probably coerced by her boss Charles (Peter Hermann) finally kissing her! — she returns to her career and Kelsey.
Grieving from the funeral, Liza and her 20-something ex Josh (Nico Tortorella) wind up in bed together to ease the pain of Thad’s death, even though Josh is still with his much younger girlfriend Greta. But, in the end, Josh comes running back to Liza, telling the 40-year-old that he misses her, sealing it with a big kiss.
Here, Foster and “Younger” creator Darren Star tease Liza’s love triangle, Kelsey’s new single life and what more to expect in Season 3 — plus, Star breaks down that Matthew Morrison episode. (Foster and Star spoke to Variety in separate phone interviews.)
How did the decision come to kill of Thad, and have him die by a construction accident?
Star: Ultimately, I think he was the wrong guy and we could have played it out in many different ways for that wedding not to happen, but about a year ago, I was reading about all of these construction accidents in New York and it just seemed to be this big, prevalent thing. Even though it’s definitely a random act, it’s something that seemed very New York-centric to me.
There was some resolution in the finale, but how will Thad’s death affect Season 3?
Star: It has further ramifications for a lot of the characters. I like the idea of what happens when someone tells a small white lie — which I think is the premise of the show — and how it has ripple effects, so really it’s also about raising the stakes of this little lie. We’re always asking ourselves what is the necessity of Liza to maintain the lie? What’s at stake for her if she tells the truth? And what’s at stake for the other characters if she tells the truth? Sometimes you’re lying to protect people in a way.
Foster: This episode didn’t tie everything into little bows. There are still things unraveling.
Who knew Thad had a twin brother! The Chad character was hilarious. Can we expect more Chad in Season 3?
Star: I’m sure Chad will make in appearance in a later season. I think his thread to Liza has not completely been eliminated.
Not to be insensitive to Thad, but Kelsey is single now. Should we expect a new love interest or for her to be dating in the new season?
Star: She’s on the market right now. One thing that I will say about Hilary Duff’s character is that our most sort of eligible star of the show had a boyfriend from the very beginning so it certainly gives Kelsey an opportunity to be single in her 20’s. We look forward to having fun with that. There’s the reality that she’s basically a widow at the opening of the third season, but life must go on.
What about Liza’s love life? Is there going to be a Josh-Charles love triangle coming up?
Star: I think we have a lot of balls in the air — no pun intended — that really came to her in an honest way. She has two men in her life that represent two really strong facets of who she is. They’re [both] right for her and wrong for her at the same time.
Foster: I don’t think Liza is done with Josh. I’m really curious. I don’t think they’re going to be skipping down the fields together because I think everything’s changed. And I think Liza will be curious to play the Charles card now. That has been initiated, and I think that’s definitely on the table. It’ll be interesting to see how she manages that — he’s still her boss so that’s tricky too. Even though at that moment [when he kissed her] she wasn’t technically working for him, how is that going to affect everything?
Where will Liza’s career go in the new season?
Star: The challenge is going to be that the bigger her career and success becomes, the more she has to lose. I think the stakes get higher as she becomes more successful, but at the same time, the more successful she gets, the more satisfaction she gets out of what she’s doing.
Foster: I have no idea. They’re in the writers room right now so they’re working away. Professionally, I would love to see her find more of a voice as a writer. She kind of started to do that, but it would be great if she decided to write a book. Maybe she writes a book about her story, maybe she tells her tale. I feel like she’s a writer and that’s really where her talents lie.
Are there plans for Liza to tell more people her secret in Season 3?
Star: No. Well, perhaps. We’re developing the season right now. The central premise of the show on the surface is about a woman who lies about her age, but really to me, the central premise is about friendships within people of different generations when you take out the idea how age creates a barrier — to me, that’s what the show is about at it’s core. How the premise of the lie is not necessarily wedded to that, but at the same time, story-wise for Liza, it still feels like she has strong reasons not to blow up her lie. But, at that moment before Thad got unceremoniously killed, she was ready to tell him. She wasn’t ready to compromise any of her moral principals to maintain the lie. When pushed to the wall, she was prepared to come clean.
Is there a world in “Younger” where everyone knows Liza’s real age and it’s no longer a secret?
Star: I think the show completely works on it’s own. Most TV shows are about strong characters and strong actors, and we certainly have those. Right now, there’s an element to this show that’s based on the premise of this woman and how important having work is to her and what she has to overcome just with the prejudices of ageism, and I think that’s still real in this character. This is a show that’s also about relationships, but it’s also about people who love their work and find it important to them. They have a real love of their jobs and they have real passion for their jobs, and I think in Liza’s case, it all started because it was like, if I have to lie to do work that I love then I’ll do that, so I don’t think that part of the equation has gone away from her.
Foster: I would love to see a world where everyone knows or her lie is used as a tool by Diana (Miriam Shor) or something. The show is about this conceit, but I think it expands beyond this because it’s really about relationships and multi-generational women and men relating to each other. It has evolved into something more than that. It would be great to have a world where everyone knows.
What do you want Liza to accomplish in the new season?
Star: I just really want to continue deepening the bond between our characters. I feel like these are all women who have each other’s backs — even Diana. This group of women have become friends based on this lie and otherwise, would never be all thrown together. The idea that they’re learning from each other because they bring different life experiences and different stages of their lives to their relationships, digging deeper into all of that is really what we’re looking forward to thinking about.
Foster: I would love for her to find love and happiness, especially after her marriage dissolved. What’s so great about Josh is that she’s able to re-live this part of her life that she missed out on. Personally right now, I want to see her explore and have fun and really focus on her career — it is a rom-com, but it really is about strong career-driven women in business. I’m not ready to see her settle down, at least for now. I’m very protective of her. I want to make sure she’s okay!
Before you move onto Season 3, I have to ask how that Matthew Morrison sheep scene came about…
Star: Basically, the idea was this was a one-off episode for Liza — finding someone who seems so off the grid but so perfect for her, and how could he pull the rug out from under her in an outrageous and unexpected way. Matthew Morrison wasn’t cast at this time, unfortunately. I would have loved to have Matthew Morrison as a character that we could bring back or recur, but I think he really had fun with the idea that he would play this character.
So was he really grooming the sheep or not?
Star: There’s still the question of did he or didn’t he? It’s not entirely clear. Whatever you decide to believe he was doing, he was doing. It’s left to interpretation. And for those who were offended by it, I would say, he was absolutely grooming that sheep.
Since you’d love to have Matthew back, perhaps his character can stop by Season 3 to give a clear answer?
Star: He can open a dog grooming facility in Manhattan so we know for sure that he was grooming the sheep.