SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the series finale of “Younger,” streaming now on Paramount Plus and Hulu.
Team Charles or Team Josh? After seven seasons, “Younger” fans finally got the answer to Liza’s love life — well, kinda sorta.
The series finale of Darren Star’s “Younger” put an end to Liza’s (Sutton Foster) love affair with Charles (Peter Hermann), while giving the hope of a happy ending with Josh (Nico Tortorella). The central relationship of the show between Liza and Kelsey (Hilary Duff) also saw a breakup of sorts with Kelsey announcing her move to Los Angeles, leaving both ladies with separate career greatness ahead of them.
Though Charles opted not to go to Mustique with Quinn (Laura Benanti), after giving it one last go with Liza the on-and-off couple came to a mutual decision that they weren’t going to make it long-term.
Taking a page from Liza’s playbook, Charles decided it was time to pursue his creative dreams and set out to be an author, rather than spend his whole life as a publishing executive. In doing so, he gave Liza the reigns at Empirical — ultimately bringing her from a publishing assistant in the series premiere to the boss at its end.
As for Kelsey, the sassy millennial decided to bring her publishing hub out on her own, and she set out to find investors to help make that dream a reality. Ultimately, it was Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine that made the best offer. Kelsey ended the series with plans to move out West, which would have perfectly paved the way for the potential Kelsey-centric spinoff. However, Variety has learned that that spinoff will likely not move forward, as Duff has signed on to star in the “How I Met Your Father” series at Hulu.
With both women reaching their career dreams — a far cry from the series premiere when they were just getting started — their love lives also seemed to settle nicely into place as the show signed off for good.
To put things in her own words, Kelsey came to terms with the fact that she chooses terrible men, and she ended the series single and stronger than ever. Meanwhile, Liza’s love triangle seemingly wrapped up with Josh on top. Giving a nod to the pilot, in the very last scene a newly Charles-free Liza ordered a drink at the bar when Josh approached her from behind to say, “I’ve been here all along.”
Here, Foster talks with Variety to dissect the event of the finale, whether she is Team Charles or Team Josh and what she’ll miss most about “Younger.”
Are you happy with how the show ended?
I’m so happy. I had no idea how it was going to end and I remember reading the finale and I was like, “Oh my gosh, it couldn’t end any other way.” I felt very satisfied. It felt true to the character, and it was not without sadness. I really felt like Darren just nailed it.
What was your favorite part of the finale?
I’m most proud of how they handled the Charles relationship — even though I’m sure people will be upset that they don’t end up going off into the distance together. I feel that the way they handed was incredibly mature. I love the scene in the bedroom where Liza says, “We’re not going to make it, are we?” The maturity of them just being able to realize that, and then the generosity of both of them in their futures, I thought was really beautiful. The way we were equating it is that Charles is now having his reinvention moment; he’s almost Liza in Season 1, starting off on his journey as an author. I loved the way they dealt with that all.
We’re you surprised that Liza didn’t end up with Charles?
Darren doesn’t tell us anything. I was always like, “How is it going to end?” And he was like, “You’ll see!” But here’s what I knew — the only thing that Darren told me is that she doesn’t end up with anyone and that she ends up being the boss at the end. And I was like, “What! How are we going to get there?” I didn’t know about the final scene.
When did you find out that Liza would end up being the boss and wouldn’t end up with Charles?
He told me earlier on in this season.
Were you upset that Liza didn’t end up with Charles?
I knew she wasn’t going to end up with Charles, but I was like, “Oh my god, is it really just going to be like, ‘Ugh! Fucking Quinn!’” And I was like, “Nooooo!” So, I’m glad that Charles and Liza could have one last moment before they ultimately realized that Liza’s lie does have consequences — it’s why ultimately, they will never work. It broke my heart, but it felt true to the characters.
Now that the series is over, can you now say if you’re Team Charles or Team Josh?
I blame the writers and I blame Nico and Peter because both roads were viable and both roads made sense. It’s not like they gave me one horrible person and one great person. I totally get why there were teams. For me, I ultimately just had to be in love with both of them. They’re so different. It was interesting because it could have ended either way, and I think it ended the right way. But if it ended with Liza and Charles, that would have felt right, too. It was amazing because I think that’s why it was able to sustain for so long. Both options made sense, but I think for the truth of the show, I think Josh — that’s what the show is ultimately all about. But it’s hard. Even now, I can’t look back and pick a team. I believe that it ended the way that it should have. It sounds like I’m copping out, but truly, that’s how I navigated playing the character — she was just as confused as I was as an actress. She truly, I think, loved both men. It was hard for her to choose. Although she ultimately does choose Charles for a while, I think she always truly loved Josh. It’s very complicated. But it was fun to play.
What was your initial reaction when you read the final script?
When I was reading the final two scripts, I was filming a scene with Nico, and when I got to the end, I turned to him, and I was like, “Oh my god! It’s you and me! It’s you and me in the end!” I love the bookend, and how the end mirrored the pilot. They’re not riding off into the sunset, but there’s a hint of a something. What is it? We don’t know. But I loved that moment. When I read it, I burst into tears. I thought it was an incredible way to end it because it was always Josh who set this whole train in motion, so to have it end that way, I just thought was beautiful.
The ending seems like it’s supposed to be up in the air and left up to the viewer’s imagination. In your mind, do Josh and Liza end up together?
We’ll have to see when we do the reunion in five years! [Laughs] Nico and I have so much love and respect for one another, and it was Nico’s last scene so he was a bawling mess. I would be lying if I said that as we were playing the scene, there wasn’t a hint of familiarity, affection and possibility. I don’t know. I love the line where he says, “I’ve been here all along.” Like, yeah! He has. He’s been there the whole time. So, I don’t know. I think Darren intentionally left it open-ended, which I love. It really is up to the viewer to decide what they think. I don’t know what Darren’s intention was. I think he really purposely wanted it to be left as a possibility.
I know you’re joking, but speaking of a reunion, is there any chance to see a reunion or movie or anything of the sort?
Nothing official. It’s just all of us hoping because we love each other so much. We all feel so lucky to have had this world. If we ever are so lucky to return to the world of “Younger,” I can only imagine that everyone would be game. It really was a very special place. It was a really remarkable show to be a part of — cast and crew — I would love for their to be a reunion special. We’ll have to put that out there into the universe now.
I’ll print it, so we put it out into the world.
Yes, would you do that for me? [Laughs] Wouldn’t it be fun? But no, there is nothing official in the works.
Well, Kelsey is moving to L.A., which is the perfect setup for the spinoff in development. Hilary is very busy, so who knows. But, do you want it to happen?
All of us are like, “We’d love to go to L.A. and be in the spinoff!” Kelsey definitely needs to check in with Liza, right?
The show was always celebrated for focusing on career women and putting their professional goals and friendships at the forefront, not just glorifying romance. With that in mind, what do you think about the ending for Kelsey and Liza, in terms of their careers?
They both end up the boss. They’re both in charge. [Kelsey] was ready to branch off. But Liza, not so much because her love for that company and her love for Chrarles, really, is what keeps her there, as opposed to Kelsey. They both end up on top, and that’s incredible. They’re not together, but they always will be. I don’t worry about Kelsey and Liza. I feel like they will always help each other and have each other’s backs. They’ll be more of competitors now, but they’ll always take care of each other.
Why do you think the show resonated with audiences for all these years?
I think it was a good-natured show that was about reinvention, about multi-generational relationships, about women supporting women, and it’s also a fantasy. It celebrates New York City, the fashion is awesome and it was an escape. Darren and the writers, they create these ridiculous and fun storylines, and the cast had a really special chemistry, and every episode, they leave you having to know what happens next. I loved getting the scripts because I couldn’t wait to see what the writers came up with. Our viewership grew as the seasons went on, and I still have people who are just discovering it. I think it’s a word-of-mouth show. We were this slow burn. We weren’t this hit out of the gate. It grew.
I know that you shot this last season during the height of COVID-19 in New York City. Speaking of being an escape, was bringing the pandemic into the storylines ever a consideration?
We shot during COVID, but they decided not to include COVID into the storyline — they thought about it this season, but they decided not to because they wanted to keep “Younger” this place where people escaped to, and I get that.
“Younger” is ultimately based on a woman lying about her age, so that she can land a job that usually goes to a younger woman. That draws an unfortunate parallel to ageism, especially in Hollywood. How do you think the industry has progressed for women?
When I look at TV or movies, there is a lot more variety out there, as far as age and types and looks and diversity. It’s an exciting time and I think we’re making a lot of progress. There is always work to be done and there is always improvement. I’m 46-years-old and navigating my career and I’m excited about what that looks like. I look at programs and I go, “Wow! This is a whole show about women in their 40s.”
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