‘Younger’ makes worthy return, complicates plot with interesting love triangle

"Younger" (Airs 9/28, 10pm ET/PT)
TV Land /Courtesy
"Younger" (Airs 9/28, 10pm ET/PT)

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OK millennials now let’s get in formation. Darren Star’s refreshingly smart comedy “Younger” made its epic third season premiere on TV Land, and bless our nostalgic hearts — Hilary Duff is back!

Centering on the double-edged life of Liza Miller, a 40-year-old single mother living in New York City, “Younger” examines the trials and tribulations of a woman re-experiencing her 20s as she re-enters the world of publishing under the guise of a 26 year old. Miller, played by Tony winner Sutton Foster, manages to pull off this masquerade by deceiving loved ones and learning to embrace millennial life. To make matters interesting, the third season finds our protagonist disarrayed in a love triangle more complicated than the one between “The Twilight Saga’s” Edward, Bella and Jacob. Between her 26-year-old tattoo artist beau and her age-appropriate colleague at Empirical Press, Miller is one major hot mess blown out of proportion.

Based on Pamela Redmond Satran’s novel of the same name, “Younger” packs a unique punch that easily distinguishes itself from other sitcoms. For starters, no one understands millennials better than series creator Darren Star. With a wealth of work featuring beloved television classics “90210,” “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City,” it’s no surprise that Star’s latest cable series features cast members from Generation Y, great fashion and a beautiful New York City backdrop. What’s more exciting than watching young adults navigate the challenges of existing in the “real world” while slaying New York City in style?

Then there are the countless pop culture references specifically directed toward millennials. Throughout “Younger,” we see Miller transform from a middle-aged woman experiencing the harsh realities of ageism in corporate America to a young, pill-popping, Harry Styles-loving marketing assistant at a notable publishing company. From social media and “Topless Tuesday” hashtags to the sexual implications of “truffle butter” and marijuana-infused lollipops, “Younger” continues to transcend boundaries and go where no network sitcom has gone before.

Which leads to what really makes “Younger” a truly successful, creative force: its dual audience. The series is relatable to millennials and Generation X individuals alike as it addresses topics of identity, love, divorce, independence, female empowerment, friendship and professional success. Whether you’re a recent college graduate working a full-time job and hanging with your squad, or a person of a particular age that has experienced the struggles and joys of life, love and family, “Younger” caters to a diverse demographic that varies in age across the spectrum and produces content any age group can resonate with. Mind you that TV Land has rebranded itself from “original sitcoms” to “younger-skewing single-camera originals,” according to Deadline.

Aside from the grace and charm of Sutton Foster, “Younger” would not be the acclaimed show it is without its chief token millennial, Hilary Duff. Long gone are the days of “Lizzie McGuire” and throwback Disney as we know it. Throughout her illustrious career, Duff has moved up in the world, and the same can be said for her lovable character, Kelsey Peters. Fresh out of college, Peters began her journey at Empirical as an assistant before becoming junior editor. As Miller’s co-worker and close friend, Peters keeps the assistant on her toes while delivering clever one-liners that no other character on “Younger” has had the fortune of doing. For instance, only Peters could effortlessly say “I didn’t mean to shit in your cheerios” without batting an eye.

Season three of “Younger” picks up from the funeral of Peters’ fiancé, Thad. Peters finds herself having mixed emotions over Thad’s death as she buries herself in work and tries to move on with her life. The premiere also finds Miller exploring her newfound inappropriate relationship with colleague Charles Brooks. Brooks, played by the suave Peter Hermann, admitted his feelings for the single mother at the end of season two and invited her out on a date in this season’s opening. Worried about the difficulties of their relationship and the potential sexual harassment lawsuit, Brooks calls off his attachment to the utterly confused, and romantically unavailable, Miller.

Suitably named, “Younger” centers on a senescent woman posing as a younger version of herself to survive in an ageist world. “Younger” is an impressively witty comedy worthy of becoming your next binge.

“Younger” airs Wednesdays at 10PM on TV Land.

Contact Jordan Joyner at [email protected].