In this ‘Golden Age of TV’ we’re all living in, a show is only as good as the conspiracy theories that surround it.
Which is why, even with a seemingly light-hearted show like Stan’s Younger, we’re constantly combing the screen in order to suss out clues to tell us what’s about to happen next.
Now, if you’ve been living in an apocalypse proof bunker and have somehow missed out on the true magic that is Younger, let me catch you up.
Liza (Sutton Foster) is a 40 year old single mother with a daughter in college who struggled to get back into the workforce following her divorce. Since she is blessed with super youthful looks, her best friend Maggie (Debi Mazar) suggests that she reinvent herself as a 26 year old. This ruse works and she lands a job as an assistant at a New York publishing house. As you can imagine, the pressure of keeping up her secret teamed with the highs and lows of her love life and career lead to a few wacky hijinks.
We are now four seasons into Younger and at this stage of the plot, only three of the main cast of characters know about Liza’s true age. Her roommate Maggie, her ex-boyfriend Josh (Nico Tortorella) and, as of just last season, her work wife Kelsey (Hilary Duff).
The two biggest player players in the show, the two people who must be kept out of the secret at all costs, are Liza’s boss Diana Trout (Miriam Shor), and the owner of Empirical Publishing, Charles (Peter Hermann).
Listen: The Binge hosts Laura Brodnik and Clare Stephens unpack the biggest moments of Younger season four with special guest Miriam Shor, the actress who plays Diana Trout herself.
The budding relationship between Liza and Charles is where things are currently getting a little bit sticky. Not only is he her boss, but he’s currently in the midst of maybe working things out with his estranged wife and mother of his children. Plus, there’s that whole thing where he’s well into his 40s and he believes that Liza is only in her 20s…
OR DOES HE?
You see, until recently, I believed that part of the reason why Charles was being so hesitant about starting a relationship with Liza was due to their substantial age gap (even though they had that hot and heavy desktop make-out session in season four) and was completely in the dark about her real life.
But it turns out, that may not be the case.
This weekend, I was discussing the ins and outs of Liza’s love life with my sister Lucy (don’t judge, we’re living in a post-Younger world now and are all just trying to do the best we can to survive) when she dropped a bombshell that has changed the way I watch the show.
Lucy pointed there is proof that Charles is already aware of Liza’s secret, and the proof is right there on screen for anybody to see. And has been for years.
You see, in season three, episode eight “What’s Up, Dock” Liza is in hospital after flying off the bike she was returning for Diana. Charles comes into her hospital room to visit her and, as she is high on the pain relief medicine that’s just been administered, she’s not quite as guarded as she normally is about keeping her real date of birth a secret.
This is where the “blink and you’ll miss it” plot twist comes in, and if my sister hadn’t paused the show at exactly the right moment and pointed it out to me, I would have missed it completely.
You see, Charles is sitting by Liza’s bed and he reaches out for just a brief moment to squeeze her hand.
As he does this, his hand brushes against the hospital ID bracelet on her wrist….the very same hospital band she had worried about briefly earlier in the episode because IT HAS HER REAL DATE OF BIRTH ON IT.
And, as Charles is holding her hand in his, he looks right down at the bracelet, his eyes lock in on it for the briefest of moments and then he looks back up at Liza in shock. All because he's just discovered her real age.
If you don't believe me, jump onto Stan and see for yourself.
Now, I think the reason I never picked up on this moment, despite the fact that I've watched the entire Younger series through in full about three times, is because everything I know about the inner workings of hospitals comes from the early seasons of Grey's Anatomy, where they lie less about their birth dates and more about who they are sleeping with.
My sister Lucy, on the other hand, is a real life doctor who wields a stethoscope on a daily basis. Therefore, she has spent many long years at university studying how medical bands affect the plot-lines of fictional characters (....I may not be super across what goes on in medical school, but that sounds about right). And Dr Lucy confirmed that a patient's date of birth is always printed on their hospital ID bracelet.
Look, sure, this could all be a big plot misdirect. It could be a story thread that was set up and then abandoned by the writers. Or it could have been just a casual glance downward that we're reading a whole lot more into because we're deep in Younger withdrawals and need something to desperately cling to.
And yet....the facts (and above screenshots) all point towards one conclusion. That Charles is well and truly in on the secret.
But with Younger not due back on screens until mid next year, the world's biggest mystery will go unsolved until then.
You can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor and host of The Binge podcast Laura Brodnik on Facebook.
Have you watched Younger on Stan? What do you think about this possible plot twist?