Younger started off with Liza as a liar, liar, pants on fire. I mean, it’s the whole premise of the show. At first, Liza was sure that her little white lie of fibbing about her age wouldn’t hurt anyone but the ageist and sexist policies she was set out to beat, but in reality, Liza’s lie has created a lot of collateral damage. What’s more is that she didn’t seem to care for way too long. But now, at the end of Season 5, Liza’s eyes have opened to the problems that her 26-year-old self is causing to the people around her, people she’s come to care about, and she’s proposing she take herself out of the equation. Liza’s leaving the Millennial imprint on Younger is the first selfless act she’s done in the five seasons of the show.
When the Empirical Publishing gang ran off to the Frankfurt Book Fair, a very big and very real publishing convention, it didn’t seem like everything was going to go so awry so fast. But then Cheryl Sussman (Martha Plimpton) from Plaza Publishing showed up — remember her? She was the one that tried to blackmail Liza early in the show’s tenure because Cheryl had worked with Liza at her days at Simon & Schuster. Cheryl is back, and she, as she says, “remembers everything.” Millennial is doing really well for itself, and perhaps that’s why Cheryl remembers that she wants to offer Liza a big-time job at Plaza Publishing.
Liza’s life has been one big minefield for the past five years, and after a particularly disastrous press conference in which one member of the German press keeps harping on the fact that Liza does not look like a Millennial, she gets it. Too many people know her secret, and she’s putting Kelsey’s future and the future of Millennial at risk by being a lying liar. And so, Liza decides to take Cheryl’s job offer. Hey, at least Liza won’t have to hide at this new job. It also helps that she can be open about her relationship with Charles if she's not working for him.
Liza originally spun her lying about her age as a way to inspire Caitlin to work hard and not take “no” for an answer, but even as the stakes rose higher and higher, Liza stuck to her guns and her own selfish needs to keep her secret just that. Kelsey, Josh, and Charles were all unhappily surprised by Liza’s being 40 years old, and Liza’s machinations, while helping make Empirical a success, could cause it to fail at any time. Remember the dog book that she had to publish so her secret wouldn’t get out? Or how about the fact that Cheryl Sussman seems ready to pull the trigger on Liza’s age at any moment? Kelsey and Liza almost lost their Reese Witherspoon deal because Liza’s secret popped up again — one of these days, it’s going to be for real. That's a lot of stress.
That’s why Liza firing herself is so important. After choosing herself time and time again, she’s instead seeing that what she’s doing is harmful and fixing it by removing herself entirely. On Younger, Liza has shown that she can — and tends to — land on her feet. Millennial can go on without Liza, but if it leaks that she’s 40-ish and built the whole company, Millennial loses all credibility and goes down, and Empirical with it. She’s finally not willing to risk it. It's about time.
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