TV Land’s Younger has just started its fifth season, with a sixth announced. The premise is pretty outlandish at first sight: Liza (Sutton Foster), a 40-something divorcée, lies about her age in order to get a job as an assistant at Empirical Publishing House.
Despite its over-the-top situations and characters, Younger proves to be a fun, breezy time. The in-jokes about publishing are witty and include satirical send-ups of trending celebrities such as George R.R. Martin, Marie Kondo, and Kellyanne Conway. The stakes are high as Liza’s secret is slowly revealed, to her colleagues, her friends, and her love interests. The fashion and sets are visually interesting. Not to mention, the show can be pretty damn sexy. The heart of Younger, though, is in the relationships between the characters, whether it’s at Liza’s workplace in Manhattan or in her neighborhood in Brooklyn.
But my favorite aspect of the show is Liza’s boss, Diana Trout, played by Jewish actress Miriam Shor. A high-powered career woman with the world’s greatest collection of statement necklaces, Diana represents what could have been for Liza had she not left her career to move to Jersey and have a family. Diana’s biting one-liners are laden with whatever emotion she’s feeling — generally disgust and/or exasperation — and even when she chooses to remain silent, her face says it all. It’s all part of what makes her a lady boss.
Much is made of Diana’s single status throughout the show. Her crush on Charles (Peter Hermann), the CEO of Empirical, is the butt of jokes in earlier seasons. Yet in spite of this image of her being a desperate spinster, there is never any question about how good Diana is at her job. Laugh all you like at the state of her love life, but even at her lowest point – manipulated into allowing a freeloader and his son to live in her apartment – she finds the strength to overcome her fear of being alone and get out of the situation. Her sexuality and femininity are celebrated (have I mentioned the statement necklaces?) but always in light of the respect she is due in the workplace. It’s not often we find a well-balanced female character that isn’t judged for her decisions.
Here are some of Diana Trout’s best lines:
1. “When I was your age I could run a 10K and rehydrate with White Russians.”
2. “The only way a good review by Michiko Kakutani could sell books is if her twerking ass caught fire.”
3. Diana: I have been given the prestigious task of introducing Charles at the luncheon, and I intend to shine. So set up a cut, color, mani-pedi, full wax: north pole, south pole, and the equator.
Liza: What about the Panama Canal?
Diana: I’m not a porn star, Liza.
4. “Can you make strong coffee, never wear perfume, and not annoy me?”
5. “He’s straight, handsome, intellectual, and available. Do you realize how rare that is? It’s like finding a snow leopard in your backyard… You have no idea what it’s like to be single and in your 40s. It’s like trying to rent out a beautiful apartment where a murder took place. Everyone is spooked. I could kick myself for all those years I wasted with Philip Roth. Did I mention that I was involved with Philip Roth?”
6. Diana: The rumors are true. Charles is getting a divorce!
Liza: How do you know that?
Diana: His doorman is friends with my dog walker. That’s why it’s important to stay down with the people.
7. “I’m laughing, but I’m not happy.”
8. Diana: You were insinuating that I am bad at my job. I will have you know I am the hardest worker here. When these lightweights go on vacation, I work. While you were Instagramming your way through India, I was working. And before that, when you were vaporizing on the quad at Dartmouth, developing your fondness for African literature, do you know where I was?
Liza: I’m gonna say at work?
Diana: And don’t you forget it!
9. Diana: You know, Liza, I take on many roles at this office. And one of those, if I’m not mistaken, is as a mentor.
Liza: Oh, yes, of course, definitely.
Diana: You are editing a tell-all book about the dissolution of your boss’s marriage. The stakes are very high here. You could blast off, or explode.
10. “Invest in yourself. Put everything into your career. It will pay off. Romance is incidental. But you work hard enough and you will always have a job.”
Header Image via Younger on Facebook.