‘Younger’: Miriam Shor on the Season Finale, and How Diana Might React When She Learns the Truth About Liza

Courtesy of TV Land
Miriam Shor of Younger. Credit: Courtesy of TV Land

No comedy creation on TV is more delicious than Younger‘s Diana Trout—aka Trout Pout—the self-absorbed Manhattan publishing exec played with genius-to-spare by Miriam Shor. While Diana hopelessly continues to carry a torch for her debonair boss Charles (Peter Hermann), and she still has no idea that her loyal assistant Liza (Sutton Foster) is lying about her age—by 15 years—there is a startling new development for Shor’s character in Wednesday’s two-part season finale. Diana is actually, truly, finally in love! But can the guy be trusted? Shor gave us a preview.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re rooting for Diana—we really are—but isn’t this romance with Richard the therapist (Mather Zickel) cause for concern? The guy doesn’t even have a place to live. And now he wants his own key to her fabulous apartment! Talk us off the ledge here.
Right now it’s working out for Diana. I don’t know how long it will work out. We’ll have to see what happens next season but, yes, it’s happening and this guy seems good for her. My sister loves Younger and she always says, “Diana is a smart, capable woman and I’m really getting annoyed that things never work out for her. What’s up with that?” Well, right now Diana has one of the happiest romantic relationships on the show. [Laughs] Finally! But, yeah, it is a little scary. Diana wants to protect herself but then she’s, like, “You know what? I’m going for it!” I imagine there will be some kind of comeuppance at some point—for the sake of good dramedy—but for now she’s in heaven.

You want it to stay that way?
I want the writers to do whatever is the most precarious. I like that they take big chances with our characters. We don’t sit back and make it easy for the audience. We’re like, “OK, so you like this character? Well, we’re going to challenge that!” The people we play make some pretty wild choices, and they’re not always good-guy choices—particularly with Liza in the season finale. We take a hard look at what happens when the lie you’re living starts hurting people.

Yet the show somehow never gets cynical. It’s such an incredible tonic in these weird, shaky times.
There is a lot of cynicism these days. [Laughs] Listen, I’m a very cynical person so I know from cynicism! It requires no talent. It’s very easy to be that way. But our show is deeply intelligent and doesn’t take that route. We have sardonic humor, for sure. But we present a world that’s a little more hopeful, and that’s very refreshing.

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Diana won’t find out about Liza’s lie this season but when it does eventually happen—and we know it will—how do you predict she’ll react?
What I would like to see happen—what I think would be the most fun to play—is this: Liza finally tells Diana the truth and Diana’s response is, “Yes, well, I knew the minute I met you that you were lying about your age. If that’s what you have to do to get ahead, fine by me. Now, are we done with this subject? If so, go get me my coffee.” I think Diana would totally understand the need for a woman in her 40s to lie in order to succeed in today’s business world. I’d love to play that she was actually smart enough to see what Liza was up to.

But what if she wasn’t smart enough? What if Diana was truly hoodwinked? How would she react then?
I think that’s a totally valid way to go. Diana is supremely intelligent but the big problem with that woman is her narcissism coupled with her insecurity. She doesn’t see what’s going on around her sometimes because she’s so wrapped up in her own drama—which is like most people, really—and so there’s that very real possibility that she might not have noticed or guessed that Liza is much older than she’s claiming to be. And when Diana finds out she’s been duped? Well, we all saw what happened to Oprah when she was duped by that lying author. It was not pretty.

But, on the upside, Diana would have a comrade-in-arms at Empirical Press. She wouldn’t be the only older woman in a sea of hot-to-trot young ones.
She’d have a partner! There is an understanding between them that is kind of confusing to Diana. It’s like, “Why do I connect so well with this young person?” It’s a wonderful relationship. [Laughs] When, that is, Diana’s not being an a–hole.

And there have been so many times when Liza had Diana’s back—like when Diana got stinko drunk and had to be helped home, and when she nearly got fired because of her age by that young, nerdy financier. Or does Diana not remember that stuff?
Oh, I think it takes quite a while for Diana to learn from things like that, or to really internalize them. She sticks with what works for her. It’s very difficult for her to acknowledge these young ones and to try to conform to a newer world when she knows that what she does and the way she does it works so damn well. It’s hard for her to let go of that. In her mind, she’s always right.

And her fears are very real. Not only is her job precarious, but so is the entire book-publishing industry.
I am a huge lover of books and I find it so interesting—and so very scary—what’s going on in the real publishing world. And I love that Younger reflects that world. We can be great soapy entertainment that’s lots of fun and very light-hearted and we are also a defender of literature. What other TV show does that? [Laughs] I love that we find so many great ways to talk about how the old and the new are constantly battling each other. As much as I love that Diana has a boyfriend, I also love that she has no real personal life. She comes home from work and has a stack of books she needs to read. She’s working even when she’s not working. She is absorbed by her job. She is all about finding quality and excellence. She is a defender of books! How cool is that?

There’s one more issue we have to talk about and it’s a big one: Charles.
Yeah, I know.

No matter how Diana reacts to Liza’s lie when the time comes, she is not going to deal well with this brewing romance between Liza and Charles.
That is going to hit her in a very sensitive place. That will be tough. It’s really going to bruise. I’m very curious as to how the writers will deal with that. I’m dying to know!

Does Diana really think she stands a chance with Charles?
Well, on paper it makes sense. She’s a very smart, successful person who shares so many of his interests. And she is confident that she is attractive, you know? So why not?

Here’s why not: He noticeably recoils whenever Diana gets flirty.
True, he has never given her any reason to think she has a shot with him. But she is persistent and will go after what she wants, to a fault. In her career, that tunnel vision has been nothing but successful for her. But in her personal relationships, well, she could use a softer touch. But Charles is that person she can’t quite give up on. She keeps beating and beating that dead horse. [Laughs] And she’s like, “Why can’t I stop?”

Because he’s such a dreamboat?
Oh, he is soo good looking! In real life, too. It could be that I just saw Peter Hermann yesterday, and I will still gasp if I see him today. [Laughs] Every time he walks into the makeup trailer, I’m like, “Good God, man, put that away! That aura of handsomeness! It’s completely inappropriate at 5 a.m.!”

Younger, Season finale, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 10/9c, TV Land