I had the honor of sitting down at the 2017 ATX Festival with the crew from TV Land’s Younger! The series returns for Season 4 on June 28th, but I was able to get the scoop a little early from Molly Bernard, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Alison Brown (writer/producer), and Darren Star (creator/EP)! We chatted about the new season, new relationships, and yes… even geeked out together over Game of Thrones. Take a look at my exclusive interview with them below – which I have to say is one of my all time favorite interviews.
What you guys can talk about for this season especially romantically with your characters, given where last season ended. What are you able to tell me?
Peter: It’s a big story line. Yeah. You know I certainly think that try as you might, I think that Charles can’t evict Liza from his heart. And I think that he certainly negotiates within himself to see how far to open that door. But it is just neither in life nor on TV ever uncomplicated. I think that’s why the show is, in that sense, true to life. The path to true love never did run smooth for anybody, or for probably about 99% of the population. Charles’ life is not uncomplicated, and so then there’s a significant event and obstacle that appears which is really beautifully written, because it’s something that grows organically out of the seasons that we’ve seen, and I think when it happened it’s just very, very beautifully done.
Nico: I think Josh is destroyed right now. We get a really nice chance to see him working that out with himself and with other people. I think him and Kelsey have an incredible friendship that sparks since they’ve both been heartbroken by the same woman. And I don’t know… What I love about the show is that as important as the romantic relationships are, the friendships on this show are, if not more important … And that’s so true in my life, and it’s nice to see on television, because you don’t really always see that, especially female relationships.
With Kelsey knowing the truth now how is that going to affect the female friendships on the show? Is that going to provide any weirdness?
Miriam: What’s interesting is Diana knows that something is going on. Obviously she doesn’t know what it is. So she is sort of surmising and trying to figure out what’s going.
Molly: But then she kind of thinks she knows.
Miriam: Oh she’s pretty sure.
Molly: She’s pretty sure she knows.
Miriam: Then she just kind of writes it off. It’s so interesting. But she does think it’s something that Liza should get over, she’s like it’s not the most important …. She thinks it’s a boy thing. She thinks it’s like, and it kind of is, but that’s not all.
Molly: And at the moment she kind of asks Liza about it and Liza is maybe going to tell her but Diana cuts her off.
Miriam: Exactly. Yeah it’s true.
Molly: Lauren is so self involved, she doesn’t understand what’s going on. I don’t think she sees him. Also I’m surprised Kelsey doesn’t confide in Lauren but I understand why. Lauren would capitalize on that in a heartbeat.
Alison: Yeah we talked about that a lot because we were like well she’s going to tell Lauren. But because they’re not living together now, may be easier.
Miriam: Also it’s a threat to her company. It’s not just like a secret she has about her friend.
Alison: And making it that I think helps, helped us.
Miriam: Yeah it was very clear.
Mollu: Well with the stuff that happens a little later in the season there’s now potential for Lauren to work in a different capacity for-
Miriam: Which is my dream come true, because it would facilitate this.
Molly: I know. We’ve never done the same thing. That would be too much.
With the addition of Millennial to the show, what kind of avenues is that opening up to you as far as tackling current issues or evolution with the characters?
Alison: We are always trying to do that. That’s one of Darren’s things. We need to stay in the zeitgeist and we do that this season I think.
Miriam: Well the first episodes.
Alison: At least we do in the first episode. Yeah.
Miriam: Brilliantly. I was so taken with that when I read that episode. First of all, I was so proud to be on the show. Second of all, I was like that was an alchemy, to be able to talk about what’s happening but keep it completely within the realm of this world and still make the show the delight that it is, but have that thread.
Molly: But it is the show, it is the show.
Miriam: It’s about truth and lies, yeah it really is, which is interesting.
Alison: I love when Charles says you know I didn’t buy the book because the truth is important.
Miriam: And any time that’s brought up you see Liza have to question what she’s doing.Because we all have a tenuous relationship with the truth at some point. We’re all culpable on that level so you have to examine what truth is and how important it is. So it’s a delightful confection of a show that’s actually about something.
Molly: It is kind of crazy that we are on a show about lies and truth and we’re living in post truth America. Oh my gosh. Literally sick to my stomach.
Miriam: Speak truth to power.
If you guys could offer Liza really any advice at this point would you kind of tell her to engulf herself in her work, or what would you as individuals offer like life advice to her at this point?
Peter: Live her truth, you know? “Come clean” is the first thing that I would say.
Nico: Hmm. Be unapologetically yourself, and own that shit.
Darren: I would say unequivocally you’ve gotta tell the truth. Unequivocally. And then I think that she would likely explain the circumstance, and I would go, “Huh, okay, it’s actually not that simple.” It’s a little more complicated than that. And I think I would probably marvel at the person that she is.
Nico: Yeah. I would tell her to actually start a Youtube channel and tell the entire story on Youtube, blast it out to the world, and then you could just start making money that way.
What can you two [Miriam and Molly] tease for next season? Because both of your characters had some major growth last season and where does that leave you guys?
Miriam: Also we’re both in relationships.
Molly: We are. We are.
Miriam: Isn’t that interesting? Obviously our show is about relationships and delves into the complexity of those relationships. Things aren’t going to stay hunky dory in every which way or it wouldn’t be an interesting story. But I love that.
Molly: I love it too. What can we tease? I can tease that Lauren may or may not stay heterosexual. She may or may not continue her trajectory of self actualization in a myriad of other ways.
Miriam: I’m going to tease the same things for Diana.
Alison: It’s true though, a little bit.
Molly: I don’t know. I feel like Lauren can’t be contained and I feel like Lauren is very busy trying to stay how she fits in what boxes. I guess.
Alison: I feel like we don’t want to contain her at all, the writers. We don’t want to contain either of these two. They’re are fun single, I hate saying it, but it is true.
Miriam: Which is not to say that anything happens to their relationships… I really love it and I think it says some things about women in relationships that I’m glad to hear. A lot of times story telling seems to be obsessed with which guy and sometimes I like to hear another version of that which is like, is that the only story that’s important in a woman’s life or is there other, you know?
Alison: But you did say that to us and we were like listen, yeah that does make sense.
Miriam: Well I don’t think it’s a sad thing for a woman to not be in a relationship if she doesn’t want to be. I feel like nobody looks at men who aren’t in relationships and like, I don’t know. It seems to be something looking at women like oh that’s sad. But you have to look at what they want out of their lives. We write the strengths of these characters. So I love that. But I love the relationship with Richard too because it really did challenge her in some awesome ways. In particular ways more recently that I felt were hilarious. One in particular that was shockingly hilarious.
What is the heaviest necklace that you’ve worn?
Molly: Oh that’s a fantastic question.
Miriam: Well there’s one in that first episode that literally got audible gasps. That is a real, that is a necklace that went down a runway.
Molly: Was it heavy?
Miriam: That one was heavy. It was a rock. It was an actual piece of stone.
Miriam: So that was, there was a pair of earrings that they gave me that I could not wear. They were too heavy. It would’ve ripped them. I was like that’s not worth it. It’s a fun show, I love everyone, but I want my earlobes intact.
I mean beauty is pain but.
Miriam: But come on.
You gotta draw a line somewhere.
Miriam: Yeah. That one might’ve been one of the heaviest ones. There’s often times when you guys write jokes about them and there was one where they sewed two necklaces together.
Alison: Oh that’s funny, which episode was that?
Miriam: The one where it looks like I’m putting on, it was last season, it looks like I’m putting on a little necklace and whacka chunk [turns the necklace around].
Alison: Oh my God. I’ve wanted to do that joke in so many seasons.
Miriam: There’s more necklaces.
Alison: What about that big heart one, have you worn that one? That’s in Diana’s closet?
Miriam: Oh the huge one? No.
Alison: The huge one? No never have?
Miriam: It’s huge. I mean it’s huge to the point where Diana is like well that’s big. You know it’s big. I have some crazy earrings this season too that were like, what is happening right around your face? She could carry them. I could never carry them off.
Miriam: I’m sure I can’t.
Molly: I feel like you could.
Alison: Yeah. You could.
Molly: I’m thinking yeah.
Alison: I mean we’ve all seen you do it. I mean.
Miriam: It’s different.
Congrats by the way on the early pick up for next season! Knowing that before the season ends – since you guys are still filming – does affect how you guys approach production or potential story lines for the finale?
Alison: We hadn’t broken episodes nine, 10, 11, or 12 and we had broken season five. We had an idea and we were like oh this would be an amazing season five, we’ll do this, this and this but we were like okay but first we have to focus on these four. But yeah there’s sort of an obstacle.
Miriam: Step gingerly through this minefield.
Alison: Yeah I know.
Molly: There’s some crazy stuff that happens in season four. Honestly, it’s the craziest yet by far. By far.
Alison: We can tell you where there’s a journey that people go on. They go to Ireland.
Molly: Last episode takes place in Ireland. Dublin, like around Dublin.
I just went there in April myself.
Miriam: Really? Oh my God. That’s awesome.
Molly: Where’d you go?
So I flew into Dublin and actually did a road trip up from there and did a bunch of Game of Thrones stuff.
Molly: Oh my gosh.
Miriam: That’s awesome!
Alison: Oh we’re using their crew.
Miriam: Did you see how our heads snapped? Our heads like literally just whiplashed over to you.
Game of Thrones fans I take it.
Miriam: I’m angry at them right now though. Because I’m like really? It’s like when you know someone likes you but they wait two weeks to call you. It’s like why do you gotta play these games of thrones? You know?
Four months of waiting.
Miriam: Just call. Well it doesn’t, there’s no need for that.
Molly: There’s no need for that.
Alison: We find a dragon egg in the last episode.
Miriam: Diana is wearing it as a necklace.
Molly: Lauren creates a Twitter account for the egg, calls it dragon egg.
Alison: And it’s a picture of an egg, right?
Did the impending writers’ strike cause a challenge for you this season?
Peter: I know, it’s like that was just crazy. I mean, for everyone. For us specifically.
Nico: For all of television.
Peter: For all of television, but because we were really deep in production, and we had to get almost all of our scripts done, just to be sure.
Darren: And it was the first time we got all the scripts within the first night we were shooting.
Peter: It was the first day.
Nico: Was it?
Peter: Because we were not actually … It was like, they just sort of went out … It was such chaos going on. It was just like, oh, everybody got the scripts. Everybody. Okay …
Darren: I think it’s really nice sometimes for the actors not to … not to sort of see what’s coming in every episode because I feel like you guys are able to then sort of be more in the moment with shooting the … You know. Being in the moment with the shows you’re on.
Peter: I’ve never been on a show where there were that many episodes ahead to begin with, so it was never an issue if you handed your show’s episodes to everybody. Suddenly we had like a glut of scripts that we had to finish.
Did you guys read them all right when you got them?
Nico: Hell yeah. [crosstalk 00:11:50]
Peter: I’d drop everything and read it. Absolutely.
Darren: It’s really an incredible thing to be shooting a season knowing that there’s gonna be another one. Because usually you find out at the end and it’s such a luxury to know already, and it’s great.
Younger returns on June 28th on TV Land, and you can catch up on the previous seasons now on Hulu!