In its fifth season, “Younger” is taking the #MeToo movement head-on and taking a new approach to a character it introduced much earlier on in the show’s run because of the current climate.
In the season premiere episode, aptly titled “#LizaToo,” a famed science fiction author and top client at the publishing house Empirical Press within the show, was outed as a sexual harasser right on the eve of his next book’s announcement.
“He had previously been there and really inappropriate with Liza’s character, and we were just talking about Harvey Weinstein and the hashtag ‘me too’ [in the writers’ room],” executive producer Dottie Zicklin said at the ATX Television Festival Sunday. “It was already part of our world — that we kind of laughed at for the first couple times he was on the show and we thought we had to do a little penance and deal with it the way the [real] world is dealing with it.”
In the show, publishing boss Charles (Peter Hermann) heard the accusations, believed them immediately, and dropped the book — at severe financial detriment.
“Everyone on our show had to reevaluate everything they thought was so funny and what they were saying,” series star Miriam Shor added. “I thought there was such a deft touch to it.”
Hermann added that series creator Darren Star often says they’ve “gotten very lucky in the way culture has given us these” tough topics of which to explore the nuances. What is most important to the team, though is to be able to “weave it into the show elegantly,” he continued.
When Charles dropped the author Edward L.L. Moore (Richard Masur), he came back with a list of allegations against his accusers, trying to discredit them to salvage his own career. In doing so, he revealed to Charles Liza’s (Sutton Foster) big secret — that she is actually a 40-something year-old woman pretending to be in her 20s to get an assistant job at the publishing house.
“Darren said whenever Charles finds out, he should find out without telling anyone he’s found out because we haven’t played that before,” executive producer Eric Zicklin said.
Faced with proof from Moore, Charles will now face a double-dilemma in the season. First, there is the concern over Liza’s credibility because of that lie, should she ever have to publicly tell her #MeToo story. But also, there is the fact that he is now conflicted over what to do with his newfound knowledge about her overall.
“Five seasons in there are more consequences, there’s a whole lot more stacked up,” Hermann noted.