Pamela Redmond’s 2005 novel Younger is about Alice, a 44-year-old divorcée and mother whose best friend Maggie convinces her to pretend to be 29 in order to reenter the publishing industry she left 15 years prior, when she got pregnant.
Redmond became a New York Times best selling author, and about a decade later, TV Land and Darren Star (best known as the creator of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City) adapted the book for television.
Younger the TV show premiered in 2015 to rave reviews and has gone on strong ever since. Last season (Season 6) was especially stirring, though, given that Liza’s incredible lie about her age was revealed. It also ended on one hell of a cliffhanger when Liza’s boss-turned-boyfriend Charles Brooks (Peter Hermann) proposed marriage.
Season 7 was supposed to begin production in spring 2020, but it was shut down with the rest of Hollywood by the Covid-19 pandemic. Production is not expected to start up again until March 2021, according to star Debi Mazar’s Instagram… which means you, me, and even Alice-a.k.a.-Liza’s creator herself have time to ponder what turns Season 7 could take.
Redmond, for her part, isn’t involved in the TV series, but that doesn’t mean she’s done with Liza or her double life.
This fall, Redmond will publish a sequel called Older, which takes place far enough in the future that it doesn’t conflict with the TV show’s timeline. Older the book will focus on 50-year-old Liza who, after publishing a somewhat autobiographical novel about her life called, you guessed it, Younger, leaves New York for LA to help Kelsey Peters (who else) turn Liza’s book into a TV show. This is all becoming very meta.
In Older, Liza meets the charming actor who’s cast as her boss on the show … but things are still unresolved with Josh, back in Brooklyn.
(It’s worth mentioning that Redmond changed the names of her book characters to match their TV counterparts because, as she tells me over the phone, “Most people at this point are more familiar with the characters from the show than they are with the characters from the original book.” Also worth mentioning: Charles was a creation of the Younger TV show and wasn’t in Younger the book, so Liza’s love interest in Older is a sly nod to the other side of the TV show’s love triangle. Told you it was meta.)
Anyway, even though Redmond has been busy writing Older (it’s slated to drop this September), she’s had time to keep up with the TV series. Below, she shares her thoughts on if Liza will say yes to Charles, what’s next for Kelsey, and whether Younger should acknowledge the pandemic.
Liza Living Without Her Lie
The last third of Season 6 began to delve into the fallout of Liza’s lie — she earned back her friends’ trust and justified her decision to work with Infinitely 21 by convincing them that age is not a number, but a mindset.
“I thought it was really fascinating in the show how the writers explored the situation and the challenges inherent, even after people know,” Redmond says of Liza’s age reveal.
“So she’s not just a 42-year-old woman, she’s a 42-year-old woman who told this big lie to people who she was really close to, and hid these facts about herself from her employers, from her lover; and that alone, certainly with Josh, has been a major source of conflict, and [one] that transcends age. I think the TV show, more than the original book, really has explored the ramifications of her telling that lie,” Redmond tells me.
Fans are looking forward, if not apprehensively, to what a lie-free show looks like. Andrée-Anne Proulx, an expert fan and one of the administrators of the Younger Fan Group & Watch Party Facebook group, is unsure how this all plays out.
“Now that everybody knows about Liza’s age, I don’t know where the show will take us because the secret/lie was the purpose of the show,” she tells me. “But I think it’s just a relief to Liza to live without telling lies.”
That life might not necessarily mean swinging from one extreme to the other, says fellow admin Natalie Harman: “I don’t think she has to act her age [but] rather, integrate both worlds together into an authentic whole.”
But this weight off Liza’s chest doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for her in Season 7. She’ll have to do exactly what she sought to avoid in the pilot: Move through the publishing world not as a twentysomething, but as a middle-aged woman.
The Year of Kelsey
Millennial’s own #girlboss — and Empirical’s short-lived publisher — had a long way to fall in Season 6, but Kelsey’s perseverance and grit was in keeping with the incredibly ambitious character that Redmond originally envisioned.
Redmond wrote Kelsey as a twentysomething who’s impatient for her grown-up life to begin, whether that be nabbing promotions or a husband, and the show built on this baseline.
“She’s more blatantly ambitious than Liza,” Redmond says of Kelsey. “You know, Liza’s goal is, ‘I just want to get back in, I just want to be part of this.’ In the book, she never wanted to be head of the company, she just wanted to work again, and wanted to restart her life; and in the show, it kinda feels the same to me,” she tells me.
“She doesn’t seem like she wants to be the head of Millennial. But Kelsey does, and that’s great. That’s definitely an interesting thing to explore in terms of — obviously women at work, but women and age and work,” Redmond continues.
At the end of Season 6, Charles convinced Kelsey to return to Empirical with a stake in the company — a move that will hopefully allow her to continue to move up in her career without too much of last season’s baggage. “Given how Kelsey has handled responsibility in the past, I’m intrigued to see how this opportunity goes for her,” Harman says.
Kelsey’s got a lot of staying power, and a lot of star power (thanks, Hilary Duff) and — according to The Hollywood Reporter — Younger creator Darren Star is currently developing a potential Kelsey-centric spinoff for ViacomCBS, with which he just signed an overall deal.
If the spinoff gets picked up, Younger Season 7 could set Kelsey up for a big life change. “I hope there is a spinoff in the works,” Harman adds, “because I can’t see the main series going for much longer.”
So far, there’s been no word on whether or not there will be a Younger Season 8.
A Career, Not Just a Job, for Liza
“It really makes sense that Kelsey is the one who’s more serious,” Redmond says. “Liza’s still kinda a newcomer and kinda a dilettante in some ways, and I don’t think she’s had the opportunity, maybe, to have the kind of serious career as Kelsey.”
In Season 7, Redmond says, “I would like to see Liza maybe take charge of her career in a bolder, more ambitious way. It seems like [she’s always approached it as] ‘Now I’ll just try to keep this job’ but not ever saying, ‘This is what I want, and this is how I’m gonna do it’ and really facing all the challenges inherent in that.”
If Season 7 sets Kelsey up for a spinoff, that might push Liza to be more proactive in her career and potentially move up to being a big boss herself.
Redmond always saw Maggie Amato (played by the incredible Debi Mazar) as a character who sacrificed a lot of her personal life in favor of her career, and she wants to see Maggie’s character find a partner worthy of her creativity and no-nonsense attitude.
In Older, Redmond says, “Maggie has it all!” That is, she’s married and has a stepson, in addition to her daughter from the Younger book.
That’s quite a leap from where show-Maggie is, so her happy ending in the TV series could look very different. But viewers (and probably readers) just want one thing: their fan favorite to get more screen time.
“I just want to see her happy and living life,” Harman says, and she’s even got a suggestion for how that might be: more Lauren Heller, played by the hilarious Molly Bernard. “It would be nice to see her reconnect with Maggie. I felt they would have been great for each other,” Harman tells me.
Team Charles, Team Josh… or Team Liza?
“I thought it was really interesting that Liza was kind of uncertain about whether she should marry Charles,” Redmond says of Season 6’s cliffhanger proposal. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve been hoping for this the whole time, why is she so reluctant?’”
Redmond is Team Charles, even though she wrote the Liza/Josh romance in the book. (“I wish [Charles] had been my character!” she laughs.) But, reading commentary on the show has gotten her thinking about how Liza might feel about becoming a wife again.
“She’s been married, she’s had the whole family thing, and the idea of going back into that again is not so appealing for her, when she had to struggle so hard to move out of that,” Redmond says. “And so I guess I’m more interested as a viewer to see Liza struggling with the question of, maybe not Charles versus Josh, but Charles versus not being attached to anybody.”
The fans echo this sentiment, and are very much on Team Liza. “I would rather see her stay single and grow as a person,” Harman says.
“She totally needs to be alone, like, 10 minutes, all by herself!” Proulx agrees. “She doesn’t need a man to know her own value.”
Younger In a Post-Pandemic World
While Season 7 was mapped out before the pandemic forced many people to stay at home, the extra time before production resumes raises the question of whether or not the writers will incorporate this life-changing period of our lives into Season 7.
Especially because, as Redmond points out, Younger takes place in one of the hardest-hit epicenters of the United States: “Having a New York show, how do you deal with Covid? I don’t know. It’s certainly something my writer friends and I talk about, whether it’s just an episode in the show, or does it take over the whole season, or do you just pretend it didn’t happen?” she says.
Furthermore, the publishing industry was hit hard early on by the pandemic; annual conferences were cancelled and many publishers furloughed staff. But even if the show doesn’t address the pandemic via publishing, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the different ways in which Younger’s characters might cope with Covid.
“It would be interesting to see how characters’ relationships evolved (or not) if they were in lockdown together,” says another Younger Fan Group & Watch Party admin, Sarah Jensen. “I’m wondering about Liza’s daughter [Caitlin] and whether she could come to her mom’s to wait out the pandemic. Most of these characters live separately from one another. Did they create Covid bubbles for the duration, or did Liza and Charles not see each other for months? This could be a whole series in and of itself!”
Imagine it: Lauren becomes an essential worker and picks up every gig economy job there is. Diana bedazzles her masks to match them to her outfits, and her statement necklaces. Josh has to find income, and a source of entertainment, while his tattoo parlor is shut down.
And as for Maggie?
“One sure thing,” Jensen says, “Maggie would be doing a lot of amazing cooking.”
Until then, Older is available Sept. 8 from Gallery Books, and Younger the TV show is set to resume production in March 2021.
Feature Image: Screenshot, TVLand