Younger has been dancing around a big secret for years — and now it’s finally out. In the season-five premiere, Charles (Peter Hermann) finds out that Liza (Sutton Foster) is not the millennial editor she claims to be, but a 40-something divorced mom from New Jersey. Damn!
Obviously, Younger has many questions to answer about such a big twist. How will this affect Liza’s job? Will Charles’s estranged wife Pauline (Jennifer Westfeldt) find out? When will Liza and Charles make out again?! At Vulture Festival last month, during a panel Q&A with series creator Darren Star and the entire cast, we kicked things off with a discussion of the season premiere and that big cliff-hanger. Below, hear what Star, Hermann, and Foster had to say about the decision to finally reveal Liza’s secret to Charles.
Why start the season with Charles finding out?
Darren Star: We wanted to start the season with a bang. Last year, we dealt with the idea of truth and post-truth. This year, with everything going on with the #MeToo movement, we looked back and we were having a lot of fun with a character like Edward L.L. Moore and really played it for laughs and now realizing, “Wow, we wouldn’t find that funny anymore.” So, that’s our jumping off point. We wanted to shake things up and this seemed like a way to do that in a surprising way where it felt very organic to our world and our characters.
Sutton and Peter, what was it like when you read those scripts? What were your first reactions?
Peter Hermann: I read it and I thought, ‘Oh my, did they send us the last script of the season by accident?” Then I just thought, “How are we going to get out of this?” I think it’s so great when writers paint themselves into an impossible corner, especially early on, so I picked up my jaw off the floor and went to work.
Sutton Foster: I thought it was ballsy. I was like, “Alright, here we go!” What an exciting way to start a season and the whole season is such a roller coaster.
What kind of topics are we going to explore in season five?
Star: It’s always been about how a small lie can grow and grow and grow and the ramifications it can have in people’s lives. This season, we thought, “Let’s just get more real with the characters.” The Liza/Josh relationship benefits so much from Liza finally being real with Josh. That relationship became real. If we wanted the Liza and Charles relationship to be real, the truth has to come out. Otherwise, it’s just based on a fantasy. In order to explore that relationship in a truthful way, we have expose Liza and see not just how that affects the relationship, but how that affects a lot of work issues down the line.
This interview has ben edited and condensed.