Thursday, March 26, 2015

Darren Star & Patricia Fields...with Hilary Duff, are back with TV Land's "Younger."

By Laura Medina

Sutton Foster, as aging in reverse Liza,

Pamela Redmond Satran's novel, "Younger," is a Gen-X spin on the traditional mid-life crisis when today's Gen-Xers are forced to reinvent themselves after doing what society orders them to do, quit your glam job when you get married then put yourself out to pasture after  having the kid.  As the previous generation of Baby Boomers will tell you, you hit 40 then real-life happens: your kid is off to college/India; your husband left you for a younger woman then you realized you can't afford the mortgage on the house. 

The previous generation of women hitting 40 only had two choices, either you deal with it as a doormat or you puts yourself out to pasture because you accept that society rejects you.

The novel, "Younger," is the Gen-X's take on that mid-life crisis which is ripe for social commentary for Darren Star, Patricia Fields, and TV Land.

If Darren Star's "Sex and the City" is social commentary on accomplished career women, from all walks of life, going through different stages of life...until they meet or marry "Prince Charming," then "Younger" is a social commentary if you did all that, and it doesn't work out.  What now?  Well, rolling up and die isn't the answer.

Sometimes, the best answer is a rebirth, or do what Younger's title soundtrack sings about...St. Vincent's "Birth In Reverse," rising up from the ashes of disaster and reborn like a phoenix.

That's what "Younger" title character, Liza, did and had to do.  She did what society instructed her to do, quit her former glam magazine job to marry and raise a family out in the New Jersey suburbs.  Liza was on cruise control, getting cozy and comfortable until turning 40 jolted her out of her existence.  Her kid is old enough to fly off to India; her husband jilted her for a younger woman then Liza found out she couldn't afford the suburban house she's been raising her family for the past fifteen years.  Time for a rebirth.

Force back into Manhattan and the job and meat market, "Younger" hits at the real issue that affects anyone over the age of 30, age discrimination or what society calls ageism. As one real-life journalist said, "We're adults living in a kid's world."

Dejected by a pair of twenty-something Millennials at a job interview for a job that Liza used to have before she got married and started a family, Liza was commiserating with her Brooklyn hipster-artist friend, Maggie (played by wise and snappy Debbie Mazar) at a Brooklyn hipster bar when Liza was picked up by a much-younger 26 year-old tattoo artist who mistook her for being a fellow-Millennial.  

This revelation she could "pass," gave Liza and Maggie an idea, why not?

In one night of a mother of all makeovers, Liza is now a single, 26 years-old hipster, not the 40 years-old discarded wife and mom.

In that one night in that first episode is where costume consultant, Patricia Fields (no different from "Mad Men" Janie Bryant) uses clothes and makeup as psychology.  Out with the preppy shift dresses, the cardigans, and mommy blouses. In with the highlights and juxtaposition of mixed-media prints and textures.

Reborn, Liza returned back to that magazine job interview then got the job!

Of course, reality smacks back.  Now as a "Younger" Liza, she's exposed to being bossed around by a boss, who's the same age but went down a different track, and now, Liza has to adjusted to being treated like underling like her fellow co-workers while rebuilding her life.

Hilary Duff rocks it as Kelsey, the sassy #20Something editor at Empirical Publishing.

Liza finds a new ally in sharp-tongue, savvy Millennial, Kelsey played by Hilary Duff.

"Younger" is also a re-birth for Hilary Duff, after revealing she's now a divorced mom; and she, too, has to reinvent herself.

The book and the tv show, in a French perspective, represents different stages of a person's life.  They don't take mid-life crisis laying down.  They relish it then master it which is a totally new concept to youth-preoccupied Americans.

If "Younger" is a "do-over" or a second chance to take that different path that you always wonder about or wished that you had, it has a more significant message that is quite simple.  It is a mere stage in life that the wise French had known all along and that life doesn't stop nor completed at that wedding and Prince Charming.  It is life, after all, and how you deal with it that defines you as a person.

"Younger" premieres next Tuesday, March 31st at 10pm on TV Land Network then continues to air on Tuesdays at 10pm.

Now, all you mid-life crisis Gen-Xers can commiserate together then learn how to deal.

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