Younger premiere recap: Tattoo You / The Mao Function
Liza and Josh deal with her real age...and her daughter
One gift that tattoo-loving, washboard-playing Josh definitely didn’t get in his stocking this Christmas? A copy of Lynne Truss’ irreverent reference Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Josh, babe, proper punctuation is hot. Proper punctuation is sexy. And proper punctuation will save you from accidentally breaking up with your girlfriend via text.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself (call it premature exposition). Younger is back! And the major plot development you need to remember from the end of season 1 is this: 40-year-old Liza, who had been posing as a millennial to get an entry-level job at a publishing house, finally revealed to her younger boyfriend, Josh (he of the poorly punctuated text messages), that she’s just a smidge older than he thought she was. And while it looked like all hope was lost for this May-December romance, Josh decided to give it another go.
…Bringing us to the season 2 premiere! Which picks up the very next day with Liza holding a “Welcome Home” sign for her daughter. Yeah, remember exchange-student Caitlin? Apparently the mother-daughter duo will now be boarding together in Maggie’s Williamsburg loft like some Hipster Gilmore Girls spin-off. And if you thought Liza learned her lesson about honesty last season, well, you don’t know much about sitcoms, do you? Liza tries to tell Caitlin about what’s been going on since she left, but her ham-fisted attempt only leads Caitlin to assume Liza’s transitioning. (“Dad always said you had man hands!”)
Speaking of man hands, Liza’s work-wife, Kelsey, is trying to pitch a Tumblr-to-book property that also involves men and, well, a very different part of the anatomy. It’s called “100 Things Women Think About While Giving a Blow Job” (perhaps inspired by this Elite Daily piece). But the olds just don’t get it, even after Liza’s very succinct tagline: “It’s like Goodnight Moon. For adults. With blow jobs.” And it’s a real bummer because the rights later get purchased by Little, Brown.
But forget blow jobs, and say hello to Bobby Flay! Charles recruits Diana (sporting a fetching new bob that I love) for a wine-and-dine evening with the celebrity chef in order to acquire his new cookbook. And poor Diana misconstrues the invitation for something resembling a date. Things take an even sharper turn for the awkward when Diana chips her tooth on a piece of meat at the restaurant and has to be rushed to an emergency dentist. A really cute emergency dentist who clearly has emoji-heart-eyes for Charles. But, the fiasco also lands them the book deal — mostly out of pity.
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Liza has an awkward date that night, too, made awkward by the fact that Josh just doesn’t show up. Two hours after their agreed-upon meeting time, Liza finally texts. (I wouldn’t have waited more than 15 minutes, let alone 120!) His response? “Sorry can’t make it work.” So not only does he rudely stand her up, but he also seemingly breaks up with her via text. (Although Liza probably should have sent a clarification text because that’s a pretty darn vague message.)
And if that weren’t bad enough, Liza’s daughter has a surprise waiting for her: She’s gotten a tattoo! A very large, underboob tattoo that means “Namaste” in Sanskrit. But, wait, it gets better. Josh is the one who did the ink! Liza stomps over to Josh’s and gleans two important bits of information: 1) He had no idea that girl was Liza’s daughter. 2) He didn’t actually break up with Liza. The only thing he’s guilty of is sloppy texting. (The message should have read: “Sorry. Can’t make it. Work.”) Again, never underestimate the appeal of a well-placed period. The two kiss and make up — with an audience: Caitlin’s peeking through the window.
NEXT: Not with my daughter
So maybe my fantasy about Hipster Gilmore Girls was just that — a fantasy. Because no sooner does Caitlin unpack her knapsack then she’s being whisked back to New Jersey by her dad. Her mom’s “mid-life crisis” — as she calls Liza’s relationship with Josh — is making things a little awkward, so she decides to give her some space. (Dispatching the daughter so quickly feels a bit like lazy storytelling to me, but also this isn’t supposed to be Shakespeare, so…)
Back at Empirical, Kelsey’s dealing with a departure of her own: Her top “sick-lit” author, Rob Olive, has been wooed away by Hachette. Time to look for another terminally-ill-teen-genre writer? Not so fast. A few days later, Rob asks Kelsey to lunch. He has a new book in the works and wants Kelsey’s help — not as an Empirical editor but as an Hachette editor. The rival publishing house is going to make her an offer that would be pretty dang hard to refuse. (Because: $$$$$$$)
And now we’ve reached the portion of the evening I’ll call “Liza Is Old AF.” She and Josh meet for bar trivia, and of course, she’s the only one in the room who knows what a Kato Kaelin or Jeff Gillooly is. And, later, when the couple is in bed, Josh starts comparing Liza’s age to his mom’s age, which is a surefire aphrodisiac. And, in fact, he can’t quite seem to, uh, get it up, blaming “whiskey dick.” Is he just not turned-on by Liza anymore?
Kelsey’s still mulling the Hachette offer when word gets to big boss Charles about the competition’s poaching. He seeks Liza’s advice (and stirs up a bit of sexual tension) late one night when she’s dropping off the latest Laura Hillenbrand manuscript. Liza smartly keeps Kelsey’s confidence but reminds him that employees always like to feel appreciated. So Charles shows his appreciation the only way Empirical’s budget will allow: He offers Kelsey her own millennial-skewing imprint! Of course, she accepts.
With Lauren’s advice about getting “aggro” with Josh ringing in her ears, Liza goes over to his place to tell him he should really be with someone his own age. Someone who will “put his penis in a cage.” As lovely as that all sounds, Josh is all in on Liza. But he doesn’t want to keep lying to her friends. And it looks like Liza may finally (finally!) learn her lesson about honesty when she starts to divulge her secret to Kelsey. Except she’s interrupted by Kelsey’s big news about the imprint and how Kelsey wants her on her millennial team.
Liza will lie to live another day.