Many consider Memorial Day the unofficial start to the summer, but Younger fans know the return of our favorite TV rom-com is what truly ushers in the sunny season. Sure, our Younger crew is sporting winter coats — very unsettling, no? — but their adventures remain as flirty and fun and DRAMATIC as ever. Man, it feels good to be back.
Liza has returned from that horrid trip to Ireland and is ready to get back to work. To her credit, when Kelsey gets all up in her business about why she didn’t stop Josh and Clare’s wedding, Liza does not start yelling about how it made zero sense for Liza to go and it was Kelsey, Josh’s roommate and dear friend, who should’ve been there to put an end to the ill-advised affair. Liza is a stronger person than I. She also forgets to mention the pre-wedding makeout session she and Josh engaged in, which is most definitely not an old Irish wedding tradition (that I know of).
Regardless, all of the Josh/Clare/Ireland drama will have to wait to be unpacked because there are some major goings-on at Empirical Press. Charles needs to see Liza in his office ASAP and sadly it is not so that he can swipe everything off his desk and promptly smash faces with her. Charles has been taking a look at everything that’s gone on at the Empirical offices over the past year and has realized Liza may have been put in a compromising position — he wants to know if Liza has ever felt like the victim of inappropriate behavior. Liza assumes Charles is talking about their situation and she launches into this whole speech about how everything that has happened in his office has been incredible and she has real feelings for Charles, but she won’t stand in the way of him reconciling with his wife, if that’s what he wants.
Well, this is awkward.
Charles is actually talking about Edward L.L. Moore, skeezy author of the Crown of Kings series, being inappropriate toward Liza. Honestly, Charles could not have been more misleading if he tried.
Empirical is getting ready to announce a Crown of Kings prequel series, The Pam Pam Chronicles, which would bail the company out of its current (and infinite, it seems) financial woes. There is a major problem, though: There have been a few accusations of sexual harassment directed at Moore. Charles wants to know if Liza, who had to don a Princess Pam Pam fur bikini and deal with the ogling of Moore not too long ago, feels the same way. Bless you, Younger, for making Peter Hermann deliver those incredibly awkward lines in “cronish.” Bless you for so many things.
Liza tells Charles, Zane, and Diana that Moore is simply “a flirty old man.” They should go forward with the launch of the new series. Still, Empirical will have an HR seminar on appropriate workplace behavior for good measure. The meeting features a surprise appearance from Charles’s lawyer Bob, who also happens to be the father of Caitlin’s college roommate and knows exactly who Liza really is. Her worlds are colliding. Thank goodness then that Bob apparently suffers from some sort of temporary blindness and he doesn’t see Liza sitting directly in front of him at the table or notice as she crawls out of the room to escape discovery. Seriously, that conference room is small! How does Liza’s commotion not disrupt things? I am happy to believe everyone on this show believes a 40-year-old is a 26-year-old, but I have to draw the line somewhere! The line is here! In this conference room! Open your eyes, Bob.
Diana notices, and she follows her millennial assistant into the bathroom to make sure she hasn’t been “triggered” by the discussion in the conference room. Miriam Shor and Sutton Foster are separated by a bathroom stall door for this entire scene, yet still their comedic chemistry is perfection. I missed it so!
Diana tries to chat with Liza about sexual harassment in the workplace, or, as they used to call it in her day, “business as usual,” and Liza futilely attempts to get Diana to leave. The real kicker comes with Charles shows up, worried that Liza got upset over something having to do with their relationship. Liza is forced to walk out of the bathroom and announce she simply had a bad case of diarrhea. Liza’s had to do some terrible things to keep her secret intact, but this one might win an award.
The Empirical HR seminar seems to have absolutely zero effect on Zane, who is continuing to torture Kelsey as Empirical’s newest editor. Zane has always walked the line between smarmy and charming, but he is most definitely the former throughout “#LizaToo.” Kelsey is extra angry at Zane today. When Pauline swings by to open the first copies of Marriage Vacation, Kelsey discovers they’ve been printed under Empirical Press, rather than Millennial Print. Charles and Zane explain that Marriage Vacation will have a much bigger launch on Empirical thanks to the new Pam Pam series. Later, Zane takes his gloating to a new level and shows Kelsey a huge Times Square billboard bought to advertise Pam Pam and basically just bask in the glow that is his awesomeness. He also makes some pretty inappropriate comments about her legs and length of her skirt. He obviously learned nothing today. At the very least, it’s nice to see Kelsey can give it back. Is this still flirting? It’s pretty terrible.
All of this brings us to the big Comic-Con launch of The Pam Pam Chronicles. Liza is geared up in her fur bikini once again and Moore is there, as creepy as ever. The whole situation makes Liza reconsider her “he’s just a flirty old man” stance and she has a little gather-round with all the other former Pam Pams in attendance. Each one has a story about a lewd remark Moore has made. She tells Charles, who knows exactly what he has to do in front of a live, rabid audience of Crown of Kings superfans. Unfortunately Moore is lowered down from the ceiling in dramatic fashion just as Charles is announcing that they will not be publishing Pam Pam due to harassment allegations. The whole thing is a fiasco.
Back at Empirical, the team is scrambling to do damage control. The company is going to lose a lot of money over the Moore allegations. Not to mention — there’s that Chronicles of Pam Pam billboard looming over Times Square for the foreseeable future. At least Liza can help fix the billboard issue. She gathers the gang, including Pauline, in Times Square and shows them her big idea: She had the billboard changed from Pam Pam to Marriage Vacation (now a Millennial Print book, thank you very much). That’s some huge press for their little book.
Before Charles can celebrate by having a conversation with Liza about those feelings she spoke of in his office, he gets a call from Moore. The disgraced author wants to meet with Charles ASAP. He has some interesting news for the guy.
Moore has files on most of his accusers and thinks he is able to discredit several of them. One of those files belongs to an accuser who Moore believes has zero credibility. She has been parading herself around as a 26-year-old, when in fact, he has the birth and marriage certificates to prove that the woman is actually a 40-something divorcée from New Jersey. Moore has a file on Liza and he hands it over to a visibly distraught Charles.
Holy hell, you guys: Charles knows.
• Miriam Shor’s delicious line reading of “Do you want to say something, Liza? It could destroy the whole company, but we’ll support you,” was the perfect way to bring Diana Trout back.
• Diana learns about appropriate workplace touching — use the back of the hand — in the HR seminar and demonstrates on Charles. It’s a truly magic moment.
• “Rising skills, falling breasts, amirite?”