*Nic Note: Sorry I missed posting yesterday! It’s been raining here, and there’s something about rain that makes it feel like it’s raining in my brain, so all of my concrete thoughts sort of get washed away and well… you get it, now it’s Tomorrow. So here: Blog. Go. Read.
TV Land, that wonderful retro network known for playing all-day marathons of I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, and Three’s Company, has recently branched out into creating its own original series. One of these shows is the silly Hot in Cleveland which is responsible for giving Betty White something to do when she is not accepting awards for “Everyone’s Favorite Actress Over 90.” The latest TV Land creation is a frothy little endeavor called Younger.
Sutton Foster, veteran Broadway star and all-around likeable actress (Rest in Peace, Bunheads, you were gone too soon!), plays Liza, a 40-year-old former publishing assistant soon to be divorced from a lying, cheating, gambling husband. Her daughter is spending the year in India for a study abroad program, and in order to pay off her ex-husband’s debts, Liza has to sell her house and reenter the workforce. She moves in with her best friend (Debi Mazar, who should be everyone’s best friend in every show ever) in Brooklyn and sets out to pick up where she left off in the publishing world approximately 15 years ago.
Except, she can’t.
Because New York is ever changing and has seemingly been invaded by Millennials (who are considered to be probably the most obnoxious, age-ist people on the planet- or so I’ve heard…and read…and, well it’s kind of everywhere…sorry on behalf of all of us!), Liza can’t get a job anywhere. She doesn’t understand social media and barely understands the questions and references posed by the 20-somethings interviewing her.
Drowning her sorrows in a bar with her friend later, Liza is hit on by a young tattoo artist who figures that Liza is approximately 26-ish. Liza sorta-kinda blows him off, though the flattery is nice. Back at the loft (we are in Brooklyn, you know) later, Debi Mazar, always the voice of reason, suggests that Liza pretend to be 26 so that she can get a job. Sutton Foster is a perpetually age-less pixie, so if anyone can pull it off, it’s her.
Hilary Duff (whose character, Kelsey, is pretty much “Lizzie Maguire Grows Up”) plays a new friend at the office, who also has no trouble believing Liza is 26. It helps that Liza has essentially stolen her daughter’s identity and explains away the gaps in her media-frenzy knowledge by recounting how she has spent her time since college volunteering in rural India.
This show is adorable, maybe because Sutton Foster is adorable. I happen to be 26, and while I wouldn’t necessarily believe Liza is actually 26 too, I wouldn’t think she was older than 33, tops. In real life, Sutton Foster just turned 40 herself.
What’s funny to me, as I sit watching this show, is how I feel more like 40-year-old Liza than 26-year-old Kelsey. Debi Mazar (who is 50 and incredibly hip, both in real life and as her character) and Hilary Duff (who is 27) are like my personal gurus, teaching me the ways of the mythical “typical” 26-year-old lady. Of course it is all stereotypical (I hope) and exaggerated (I really hope), but it’s still kind of an anthropological study into a culture I feel particularly detached from.
When you have a chronic illness (or other high-stress, atypical life event), your chronological age and your internal age get all screwed up. You age faster in some respects and slower in others. You can feel like you are missing out at the same time that you are really glad that you got to skip <that part>. It’s hard to remember how old you actually are, and it’s hard to describe how old you think you actually feel. For me I feel 80 (I go to bed before 10 and enjoy what I call “Grandmotherly Pursuits” a.k.a. knitting and crocheting), and 15 (it still weirds me out to see my friends driving because some part of me has yet to accept that we are old enough to legally operate motor vehicles), and 40 (I’m so over other people’s judgements), and 12 (sometimes I am not so over other people’s judgements).
I know that all of you non-Chronics out there are going to tell me that at some point everyone feels that way, and that age is just a number and all that, and ok, sure. But I would like you to understand that it’s different when something interrupts your natural growth process. It can make you stuck in one place for a longer period of time than you would “normally” hang out there. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t feel a day over 25,” than to say, “I’m having trouble functioning as a 26 year old because my developmental brain is trapped at 17.”
So there’s that.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that this show is fun and you should watch it. You can see it for free on TVLand.com. When you do, I’d love to know your thoughts- if you’re 26-ish, do you feel like the writers get you? If you’re a Chronic who read my above few paragraphs and said, “Thank goodness I’m not the only one who feels all weird about my age!” what age do you feel like? Did you get stuck somewhere? Are you super old and super young when you should just be plain in the middle like me? And just for fun, would you believe Sutton Foster was 26?