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"Younger just killed off the 'Cool Pixie Girl' and I couldn't be happier."

This season, Younger is tearing down romantic comedy character tropes faster than Donald Trump embarking on a slightly inappropriate Twitter rampage.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with one of Stan’s most popular and binge-worthy shows, Younger is a comedy-drama series that centres around Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a recently divorced 40-year-old single mother who passes herself off as a 26-year-old in order to snag a job in a glamorous book publishing house.

Along with its frothy New York backdrop, and while rolling out an endless stream of will they/won’t they love stories, Younger has managed to upend a female character trope that has plagued movies and TV shows ever since the day Audrey Hepburn first stood outside Tiffany’s and slipped on Holly Golightly’s sunglasses.

In Younger season four episode two, Maggie (Debi Mazar) and the audience meet the newly introduced character of Montana (Meredith Hagner), a seemingly cool and creative artist who spends her days working as a barista and sweetly sneaking the odd customer a free coffee while she works on making her art dreams comes true.

Montana is a seemingly cool and creative artist. Source: Stan.

Both delighted with and accepting of the world around her there in the urban jungle of New York, she is a warm, interesting ray of light. Someone whose over familiarity, quirkiness and eccentric life choices are seen as alluring rather than odd. All thanks to her thin, blonde and Caucasian conventional beauty. If this was an early 2000s rom com, she would be the prize that our unlikely bumbling hero would be attempting to win.

By introducing Montana into the season four mix, Younger essentially married together two types of female archetypes that often show up on our screens in order to push along a male character's storyline and agenda.

Listen to Laura Brodnik explain why Younger season four is the one TV show you should be watching right now on Mamamia's TV podcast The Binge. Post continues... 

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The first is the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" a term coined by film critic Nathan Rabin that is used to describes a bubbly, cinematic creature who has eccentric personality quirks and is unabashedly girlish. Think Penny Lane in Almost Famous, Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown and even Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

The second archetype mixed into this tasty character cupcake is "The Cool Girl" a term originated by Gillian Flynn in her best-selling book turned critically acclaimed film, Gone Girl.

In Flynn's own words, "Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football" and "Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want."

The Montana character in Younger, with her namesake state artfully painted onto her coffee shop uniform and her sweetly budding romance with the heartbroken Josh (Nico Tortorella), taking up the majority of her storyline, was seemingly being built up into the perfect amalgamation of these two ideals, the 'Cool Pixie Girl', if you will.

That is, until season four episode two, where it all just came crashing down.

Maggie unmasked Montana on Younger. Source: Stan.

It was in this recent episode where we learned that Montana was not, in fact, the quintessential 'cool girl' that the writers had been building her up to be. In fact, her name was not even really 'Montana', it's actually 'Amy', and that was just the beginning of the web of lies that quickly untangled.

We discovered she was not a scrappy, struggling artist, but a woman with incredibly well-to-do parents who paid for her pricey education (and her numerous art related law suits, more on that in a bit) and whose sprawling country estate she uses as a studio.

This in itself would not be such a deal-breaker for our current Cool Pixie Girl, except for the way it feeds into the second part of her narrative.

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Montana is not the sweet, creatively driven artist we've come to expect in our romance-driven movies and TV shows. In fact, these days, having an artistic passion and side-hustle is almost mandatory for our Pixie Cool Girls, as it exists as a way to elevate them above the other more dreary, ordinary female characters whose stories are less likely to be told. Think Drew Barrymore's "Lucy" in 50 First Dates or Emma Stone's "Mia" in La La Land. 

And just like the idea of the Cool Pixie Girl herself, Montana's perfect persona is not what it appears to be and is certainly not a look to be coveted.

Emma Stone's La La Land character is an artistic Pixie Cool Girl. Source: Summit Entertainment.

Her "artistic" shtick actually turns out to be built on the appropriation and theft of other artist's work. As in, she befriends more talented artists than herself until they gift her one of their own artworks, which she then marks with a painting of the state of Montana and proceeds to pass it off as her own.

Everything about her perfectly quirky and alluring persona is fake and built upon the essence of much more interestingly developed characters. Much like the ideal of the Pixie Cool Girl herself, below the surface, she's just not that interesting.

Which is why I couldn't be happier that the Younger team have unmasked her and killed her off (not literally, of course, she is currently very much alive. But her time on the show appears to have died a quick death.)

But let's hope that's the end of the Cool Pixie Dream Girl ideal from the small screen, at least for the time being. There are better women's stories to tell.

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