“Younger” recap (1.9): I’m With Stupid

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The beginning of this episode is almost like a dream by the time we get to the end. Liza runs into Charles at breakfast, who as we know, is Diana Trout’s number one. But it really seems like there’s foundation-laying happening between Liza and Charles. Yeah, duh, of course—Liza and Josh are hot and heavy, but they’re also not in a completely honest relationship, due to Liza’s undercover age test, which has essentially turned into what could be epic method acting for, say, Sofia Coppola’s next big hit about a woman coming of age, the Liza way.

Something’s piqued Liza’s interest this morning at work. In the ungrateful “slush pile,” where all manuscripts apparently go to die, Liza plucks out The Scarf and reads the first few lines. She takes it home and ends up reading the whole damn thing. Kelsey’s unconvinced that Liza could’ve possible found anything that’ll sell. She likens the possibility to having better luck meeting Ryan Gosling on Tinder—which is kind of ironic, since you can meet Hilary Duff on Tinder!

Josh isn’t totally interested in Liza’s book crush; it’s not that he doesn’t dig how into it she is, it’s just that there’s a major game of dodgeball about to go down. Liza didn’t exactly realize what she signed up for, as per usual, and we can already smell the chance at a black eye a mile away. (Let me tell you something: Middle school P.E. is unforgiving. I too have been knocked out a dodgeball and then suffered even deeper mortification after a group of popular girls flocked to me to see if I was okay.)

1Younger9.1 Kelsey should get Hilary Duff to write a Tinder tell-all….

In Liza’s case, she gets hit—three times. After the game, everyone gets together to drink it off at the bar, but Liza’s face is busted and all she wants is sweatpants and Netflix. Josh on the other hand would never leave the bar at this hour, so he’s off to get her a baggie of ice. While he’s gone, dodgeball aficionado Jen rolls up to take credit for her three hits on Liza and to warn her that Josh is certainly “gorgeous, but dumb as rocks!” Liza smiles on, as if Jen’s words are stamping in something Liza already feared—that Josh is dumb.

She has this sudden vision of him coming back to the table with ice, but he’s tripping out on the ice and acting stoned about it, saying, “Is it ice, or ices…? Whoooooa!” When she snaps to, Liza’s now stepped into that self-doubting, murky water we’ve all waded in before, where immediately following someone else’s forwardness about a partner we’re seeing, we insert that comment into our personal suggestion box to either obsess over it, or we pretend it isn’t shedding even a ray of light. That’s the gross power of other women “warning” women though—the intention is laced with a desire to see that other woman fail and fall, since being blindsided or getting hurt after seven years, or hell—seven months even, can be an ego-buster for a girl like Jen. Liza should know Jen’s motives are only meant to break her. Jen is not Liza though. But does Liza get that? Some girls just love to be the bearer of this bad news.

1Younger9.2 Ice, ice, baby.

Kelsey is still on the fence about Liza’s love of The Scarf but after hearing her talk it out more, she encourages Liza to pitch it if she loves it. Diana could care less, but Liza sees an opening when Kelsey mentions the influence of middle-aged suburban housewives. Liza knows just what she needs to do to get this book noticed. She calls her old friends and schedules a Book Club meeting, hoping these ladies will actually do the reading and not just look up margarita recipes online. “If you can get the housewives, you can get a bestseller,” says Kelsey. Maybe all this preparation for a night with old friends has Liza in the zone—plus Jen’s comments are getting to her, big time. Josh seems to recognize that Liza is not acting like herself.

Her words are interrogational—she’s trying to figure out if Josh ever went to college, why he stopped, what he did, and if he has plans to go back. He knows where this is going. It’s about him not being into books. Josh thinks Liza sees him simply: Tattoos, no college, and just traveled for a while. But he says there’s way more. So he plays bad music, and he loves listening to the Train, likes sunsets, smoking pot, and chooses to experience the world rather than looking at it. His words almost seem like an oxymoron though (no offense, Josh—you’re not a moron). It’s just that seeing something is an experience. And poor Liza must know somewhere in her experienced mind that he just has yet to really get that about life.

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