“Younger” made both its television and ATX Festival debuts in 2015, and both the series and the panel featuring it at ATX enjoyed a much stronger presence in its sophomore season. Whereas last year saw only series star (slash Broadway powerhouse slash “Bunheads” alum) Sutton Foster representing the show for the ATX crowd, this year TV Land brought out nearly the entire “Younger” cast (save Hilary Duff).
The panel, which included an encore season of the game-changing second season finale (“No Weddings and a Funeral”) that aired earlier this year, featured creator Darren Star (the mind behind “Sex and the City” and “Beverly Hills, 90210”) and cast members Foster, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Molly Bernard, Peter Hermann and Dan Amboyer and played to a packed house at the Alamo Ritz.
The single-camera half-hour comedy-drama tells the story of 40-year-old Liza, who, upon finding herself divorced and jobless, reinvents herself as a 26-year-old publishing assistant, navigating the balance between Millennial and mom while keeping one of her identities secret to most of the characters. In season two, hipster boy toy Josh (Tortorella) comes to terms with the truth of Liza’s life and lies, creating a rocky course for their relationship over the course of the season that ends with a romantic declaration and a kiss. Also vying for Liza’s affections is publishing house head honcho Charles (Hermann), the age-appropriate choice who also happens to be a divorced parent but who unfortunately still thinks Liza is two decades his junior. Charles also planted a steamy lip-lock on Liza in the finale, so it’s anyone’s guess what will happen in season three of the show, which TV Land has already renewed.
During the panel, the show’s stars tackled the Josh vs. Charles debate while Star stayed frustratingly mum. Shor, who plays the multilayered ballbusting boss Diana to perfection, questioned why Liza should have to choose and also enjoyed a suggestion from the audience that if Liza ends up with Charles, Diana should get to have a fling with Josh. Hollywood vet Mazar who has had an endlessly fascinating career (and the best Top Shelf on Into the Gloss I’ve ever read) rattled off a hilarious string of answers to an audience member’s question about whether she ever lied to get a job (pro tip: You might want to check your dental assistant’s credentials before the laughing gas kicks in), while Amboyer talked job security after his character Thad’s shocking demise in the penultimate episode and then reappearance as (possibly sinister?) twin Chad.
Overall, the “Younger” panel provided frothy fun, bits of gossip, crazy anecdotes and a strong sense of community for fans of the TV Land series. I hope ATX Fest brings this cast back again and again.