Since Younger premiered in 2015, fans have debated whether Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) would end up with publishing magnate Charles (Peter Hermann) or tattoo artist Josh (Nico Tortorella).
The “who-will-she-choose” trope is a tried and tested one that has proven successful in shows such as The Hart of Dixie (Wade or George), Sex and the City (Aiden or Mr Big), Dawson’s Creek (Pacey or Dawson) and, my personal favourite — Beverly Hills 90210 (Brandon or Dylan). It’s also proven to be a successful device in the Darren Star created series, with the audience genuinely not knowing who Liza might choose, but having very strong opinions on who she should.
Here’s the thing though, why should she have to choose anyone? Wasn’t her story supposed to be about the fact that life can start at 40 and that it can certainly continue after divorce and raising a child? Would Liza choosing her career really be that much of a catastrophe? Or could it be a profound feminist statement that reaffirms the fact that women don’t need a romantic partner to feel fulfilled?
However, because Younger is a fun and frothy show that is akin to an elevated soap opera with soul the debate naturally rages on about whether Team Charles or Team Josh will reign supreme, a fact that even Star has been surprised by.
In an interview with TVLine the executive producer said, “We always wanted to move beyond the binary choice for her, ‘Team Charles’ or ‘Team Josh.’ I think the show is ultimately more than a choice between two men.
“In terms of how that sort of happened and how it got so identified that way, that was a surprise to me. I feel like the audience decided that there were teams here. I didn’t even really think about it that explicitly.”
Admittedly, both men have undeniably attractive qualities — not least because they are both so damn…you know, attractive.
Sidebar: having lived and dated in New York City for 12 years I am here to tell you that having the choice of even ONE semi-decent looking dude is a damn-near miracle, having two to choose from would be nothing short of an actual miracle on 34th Street. However, for the purpose of this article, I shall refrain from harping on about this fact.
Of course, Josh is free-spirited, open-minded and loved Liza despite her lie. He introduced her to a world she missed out on the first time around as she was in New Jersey raising Caitlin instead of galavanting around Williamsburg being young and carefree.
Meanwhile, Charles is stoic and sexy and shares Liza’s passion for books. He’s “age-appropriate” for those who believe in such a thing and understands the demands of parenting (although now that Josh is a father he could also tick this box). On paper, they have way more in common than Liza and Josh but then again, there is a great argument for opposites attracting too.
So, who will she choose?
I’m just going to go ahead and say it — I think she will choose herself and the more I think about it, the more I love the idea of this ending.
Now, please stop reading if you’ve yet to watch the first four episodes of the seventh and final season because there are some spoilers ahead.
This season, we are seeing a different side of Liza — one who seems to embody the best of both the men who have captured her heart. She doesn’t want to be defined by labels such as marriage but wants to enjoy a happy and stable relationship. She is able to shake off her doubts and the inner voice of reason to have hot, meaningless sex with newcomer Kai Manning while still excelling at her career and in her friendships and dammit, so she should.
At the end of the day, Liza set out to prove that age is irrelevant and to escape the label of being “too old” or “too out of touch” so it makes perfect sense that she should want to also eschew the label of “girlfriend” or “wife”.
In an interview with The Latch, Molly Bernard who plays Lauren gave fans a hint of what to expect for the show’s ending, revealing that she too has fluctuated between being ‘Team Charles’ or ‘Team Josh’.
“Sometimes I go, in previous years, I’m ‘Team Liza’ because I am, but what I will say and tease is the way that the writers end this series, I am team that,” Bernard said.
In perhaps a very subtle hint at what’s to come she also added, “It’s so good and fans are going to have their heart broken and then have their heart burst open with joy.
“It’s such a sweet, perfect ending and I really can’t wait for you guys to see it.”
The seventh and final season of Younger is now streaming on Stan, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.