Season Five of Younger tackles heavy subject with a deft hand

Younger is having its #MeToo moment.

When it comes to popular culture, finding ways to tackle the contemporary moment, and its global movements, can be fraught with peril. Do you ignore it and risk being branded ignorant? Do you brush over it and risk being branded insensitive? Or do you tackle it head-on and risk being branded hamfisted, ignorant and insensitive?

Younger manages to maintain the comedy yet still finds a way to address the global elephant in the room.

Younger manages to maintain the comedy yet still finds a way to address the global elephant in the room.

The first episode in season 5 of Younger (Stan, Wednesdays) tackles sexual harassment and while it is a big subject to bite off in a 22-minute episode, and some of the bits might get stuck in your teeth, the show's depiction of what many women face in the workplace isn't ham-fisted at all.

In the offices of Empirical Press, the curmudgeonly novelist Edward L.L. Moore (Richard Masur​), the writer of the fantasy series Crown of Kings, is king. His book series is one of the struggling publishing house's best sellers and the latest hotly anticipated instalment in the hugely popular series (think Game of Thrones) is about to be released.

But in the lead-up to the book's launch it becomes apparent that Mr Moore has been far from appropriate with a number of female staff members, including the show's heroine/anti-heroine and book editor Liza (Sutton Foster).

Cue an awkward discussion between Liza and her boss-cum-paramour Charles (Peter Hermann) where he has to deliver a HR-approved monologue asking if she has been made to feel uncomfortable while performing her duties.

There follows a moment where Liza thinks Charles is talking about their budding love and you can see how romantic-drama-comedy (a ramedy if you will) might stumble, trip and barely catch itself when trying to tackle one of the most significant social movements in history.

But the writers at Younger are smarter. Indeed, you only have to look at how they have managed to make an entire series about a 40-year-old woman, pretending to be a 20-year-old woman in order to get and keep a job, not only absolutely believable but eminently watchable.

Younger manages to maintain the comedy yet still finds a way to address the global elephant in the room. It can be funny, silly, but it also delivers a reasonably powerful message. Whether #MeToo is going to be the theme of series five isn't clear from the first episode, but the writers are certainly using it as a way to drive the storyline forward. The opening episode delivers a true hand-to-mouth-in-shock moment and is a perfect example of why this show, that is all froth and bubble on the surface, has viewers coming back again and again each week.

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