Time is not on Liza Miller’s (Sutton Foster, “Bunheads”) side on “Younger,” a breezy new sitcom from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star, premiering Tuesday (March 31), on TV Land.
Fifteen years after giving up a high-powered executive position in New York to raise her daughter, Liza now finds herself 40 and recently divorced, her husband having left her for a younger woman. She wants to re-enter the work force, but the young 20-somethings doing the hiring regard her as a relic. After a handsome, 26-year-old tattoo artist (Nico Tortorella, “The Following”) makes a pass at Liza in a bar one night and guesses she is about his age, however, her best friend, Maggie (Debi Mazar), urges Liza to tell prospective employers she’s only 26.
Thus, after a styling makeover and a crash course in pop culture from Maggie, Liza finds herself interviewing to be the assistant of Diana Trout (Miriam Shor, channeling Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”), the head of marketing at a publishing house. Diana, a bitter divorcee herself, is just three years older than Liza, but only grudgingly gives Liza the job, since Diana sees her much-younger office colleagues — including junior editor Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff) — as her adversaries.
The central comic hook in “Younger” is that Liza — who brings more life experience and job savvy to the company than most of her younger colleagues — has to conceal those very strengths in order to hold onto her job. That same lie also complicates her growing romance with Josh, the aforementioned tattoo guy, who is drawn to something indefinably … different about Liza.
Foster was only 38 when she filmed the “Younger” pilot early last year, but she recently passed her milestone 40th birthday in real life. She’s thinking a lot about her age these days, mainly because of this show.
“I don’t work a 9-to-5 job and in my life, which is mostly in theater, I haven’t really experienced ageism yet,” the two-time Tony Award winner tells Zap2it. “But that is beginning, because I’m also transitioning in my career in terms of the roles I play. I’m aware that now occasionally I’ll look at something and think, ‘Oh, I’m too old! I can’t play that anymore!’ There’s a whole new generation that is coming in and those roles are going to them because they are more age-appropriate.”
“Liza is an interesting character for me to play right now, because I get to toe that line where I get to play 40 while also reliving my youth, in a way.”
Foster says she hopes “Younger” enjoys a long run, but wonders how long Liza credibly can keep spinning her lie.
“Yeah, that’s something I worry about,” she concedes. “I mean, certain characters are going to have to figure this out. I can tell you that during this first season, this central lie starts to unravel for Liza.”