TVLand's Younger has gone above and beyind its initial premise of a divorced, 40-plus-year-old woman (Liza, played by Sutton Foster) who lies about her age to score an assistant gig in the publishing world. The series — which was just renewed for season 6 ahead of its fifth season premiere — frequently makes nods to what's happening in the cultural zeitgeist, from Game of Thrones (in this universe, Crown of Kings) to women's social club The Wing, a.k.a. The Nest. It also features plenty of empowered women, from imprint co-founder Kelsey (Hilary Duff) to Liza's artist BFF Maggie (Debi Mazar). It's fitting, then, that season 5 of Younger would also feature a major #MeToo storyline.
While it's unclear if one of the women of Younger will tell her own #MeToo story, a significant character will be the alleged predator.
"[The alleged perpetrator is a] major character who’s been there all along," Foster told TVLine."[The situation] affects absolutely everything."
Actor Peter Hermann, who plays Charles, Liza's boss and (one of her) love interests on the series, added:
"Between Seasons 3 and 4, we had the election, and between 4 and 5, we had #MeToo and #TimesUp. We come back to a different world and a different show," Hermann told the outlet. "And the show takes itself to task for behavior that we excused at the time with all the same bullshit everybody uses to excuse bad male behavior. You can’t underestimate how hard it is to weave that into a romantic comedy."
Given Hermann's statement, it's worth wondering if Charles himself could be at the center of a #MeToo storyline. Charles and Liza's arc is definitely played for romance, but he is her "much older" boss and in a power position. Is it possible that someone, maybe even Liza herself, comes to find Charles' advances inappropriate? It's easy to forget that Charles thinks he is pursuing a 20-something assistant when we know Liza is really a mother in her 40s.
If this is the case, the show will have to handle it quite delicately, given that Charles was, at least at one point, the frontrunner in Liza's love triangle, also featuring her tattoo artist ex Josh (Nico Tortorella).
Perhaps the #MeToo moment isn't with a main character, but with someone who will affect everyone at Empirical. The publishing house is the place where Kelsey, Liza, and Charles work and where much of the drama takes place.
My theory? That the person in question is Edward L.L Moore (Richard Masur), author of Younger's Game of Thrones parody Crown of Kings. He has been around since the beginning, and the season 4 finale teased we would see more of Moore: At the end of the season, it was revealed that Empirical finally got Moore back from a competing publishing house.
As their highest-earning author, Empirical has looked the other way in the past when faced with Moore's gross behavior towards women — but, in a post #MeToo world, maybe no longer.
So will Moore be called out for his bad behavior, or will an even more surprising character reveal themselves to be a predator? No matter who it is, or what kind of a #MeToo story the show plans to tell, Younger is smart for not ignoring such a major cultural movement.
Tune in when season 5 of Younger premieres Tuesday, June 5.