(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode of “Younger”)
“Younger” is all about age and how it affects relationships in and out of the workplace for women. It’s a theme that’s close to Miriam Shor’s heart, as she plays the intimidating and statement-necklace wearing Diana, boss to Sutton Foster’s Liza, who lied about her age to land a job at a publishing house.
In Season 4, which had its finale Wednesday night on TV Land, we get to see the unflappable, middle-aged Diana navigate her way out of a relationship — but don’t for one second feel sorry for her newly-single state.
“It really pisses me off when people look at women who are older and are not in a relationship as somehow sad or missing something, because they certainly don’t look at men that way,” Shor told TheWrap in a phone interview ahead of the finale.
“It was very important to me in the episode that she breaks up with Richard that we not paint it as this sad and desperate moment — that she was gonna be alone, and that that’s somehow pathetic,” Shor explained. “I honestly think it cost her emotionally, she loved him … but I wanted to see this as a moment of empowerment.”
“It felt victorious” to shoot the breakup scene, Shor said. While her own relationship is one of “greatest things in my life,” she stressed it was important to show “how empowering it was for her [Diana] to regain her sense of self [after the breakup], and that it was a positive thing … there’s nothing sad about knowing that and owning it.”
All of Diana’s relationship drama happened in the penultimate episode, and in the finale, Shor said she was right back to her old self. “She just sort of instantly owns whatever space she’s in,” Shor said. And being newly single means that Diana can again flirt with abandon with Charles, the office heartthrob played by Peter Hermann.
“My favorite moment for Diana [in the finale] is not a big moment, but it’s a tiny moment and it’s … it’s very telling when she reaches out to touch Charles and is like, ‘ships in the night,'” Shor said with a laugh, referring to a scene in which Diana pulls Charles aside to reassure him that she and Richard are over. Diana’s office crush on Charles is one of the best running jokes on the show. Despite Charles’ involvement with Liza and his complete disinterest in Diana, “she still thinks he might be holding a torch for her.”
The Charles crush isn’t all silly one-liners, though: “she really sees him as her equal, and that’s a rare title she will [bestow] to anyone.”
Diana’s relationship with Richard, and her growing mentorship role with Liza, have softened her character slightly this season. “She’s definitely evolved and in great part I think because of her relationship with Liza,” Shor said. Her mentorship “speaks to the best person she can be when she’s trying to show someone what they can do. And instead of just being the asshole boss, she gets to show this person–this person she thinks is a young person — how to navigate this world and be successful and she feels valued.”
That value she gets from Liza helped her through her turbulent relationship with Richard. “Obviously, it takes over your life when you’re in a relationship,” Shor said, adding that while Diana is good at compartmentalizing work and love, it helped to have Liza around to talk about it.
If you’re bummed that “Younger” is over, don’t worry — it’s been renewed for Season 5.