The final season of Younger has landed on Paramount + and it’s hard not to compare it to creator Darren Star’s other current show. Emily in Paris. On the surface, both seem similar: shiny, stylish, fleeting comedies about professional women in beautiful, glamorous cities. In reality, however, they are very different shows, and in fact they are Younger is very much the show that Emily in Paris tried (and failed) to be.
The fundamental difference between Younger and Emily in Paris is his heart, plain and simple. Even in the early seasons, when Liza was deep in her escalating web of lies, there was, paradoxically, an emotional honesty for everything. Despite Liza lying to everyone, the show tried hard to make it clear why she was doing it and to build sympathy for her situation. Their love for their friends and their love interests was real; The only thing that wasn’t real was her lie about her age. The heart of the show has always come before its humor (though there are plenty of both); Emily in Paris often seems too anxious to be really vulnerable, and the result is a show that feels emotionally flat, even – or especially – when trying to be emotionally deep.
The other big difference? Younger seems to care about its characters primarily while it’s hard not to feel like it Emily in Paris it’s all about aesthetics. Youngerlike with Star Sex and the City before that, a love letter to the glamor of New York City and the women who live there. There’s no shortage of beautiful, Instagram-perfect locations as the impeccably dressed characters stroll through town, but it never overshadows the characters and their journeys. Emily in Paris I always feel like the “Paris” part is more interested in exploring than the “Emily” part, which leaves us with characters that are hard to like when their bad choices take over.
YoungerOn the other hand, it has managed to create a range of characters whose flaws are not annoying but deeply human. In the final season, these themes are explored in more depth, with the “themes” and themes closely tied to the characters’ journeys rather than just being put in for reasons of relevance or nervousness. When two characters hit a dead end because of the concept of marriage, it’s understandable where they’re both from, and it’s heartbreaking that they can’t see eye to eye. The flaws in all of these characters – Charles’ stubbornness, Kelsey’s trust in the wrong people, Maggie’s negligence – all come home to settle down, but it never makes them unlikely. Why? Because the show is careful to make them three-dimensional characters and really fight. They don’t giggle and wipe criticism off with a self-deprecating joke, like the heroine of Emily in Paris tends to do. Instead, they screw up and hit and get called and find out their stuff, all with the help of the people they love. That is why it is so satisfying when, towards the end of the season, these characters are able to prepare for the happier future that we have chosen all along.
That real feeling of love may be what does YoungerThe brand of escapism is so special. Younger is a show about love: love for the real self, love for friends and yes, romance too. It’s the true love between characters that really hurts the show’s betrayal, rather than just feeling like twists and turns that the writers thought would make for a good “OMG!” Moments. Have been shown that they love each other instead of just being told. More than ever, the last season is about it, because friends support each other through personal and professional exams without worrying. Gone are the days of secrecy and persistent violations; This is a group of people who really love each other.
The show’s Gal-Pal-Comedy-meets-Rom-Com vibe features some of the best moments of last season – it’s tropical, but in a playful, warm-hearted way, rather than trying too hard to tick off “relevant” topics (and condescending) without detailing any of them – see Emily’s “Surprise Influencer” story in Emily in Paris). This is what great escape means: home cooking, something fun, warm and stylish, but also something that represents the kind of life one can dream of. Sure, I would love to live in Emily’s Paris, but I would much rather live in the world of Youngerand have a loyal, loving support system like her.
Let’s be fair too: Younger has some of the same cracks in his escapist glamor as Emily in Paris. Here’s definitely something to say about how this particular brand of glamorous, glitzy escapist food mostly focuses on almost entirely white performers, and that can and should change. But when it comes down to it, escapism shouldn’t just be about aesthetics – it should be about the warmth and joy of the characters and the stories, and right here Younger Shines and other potential escapist shows should be noted.