Warning: Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s finale of Younger. Everyone else, you may proceed…
Younger created a delightfully bigger mess for Liza after Wednesday’s season four finale, which saw Josh becoming a married man (to Irish bartender Clare) and Charles in the throes of a possible reconciliation with his ex (and soon-to-be hotshot author), Pauline. But there was a brief glimmer of hope for Liza and Josh, who spent much of the season apart, before the flame was extinguished: The night before Josh’s Irish wedding day, he drunkenly confessed to Liza that she was always the one and that he was calling off the nuptials. When he didn’t, we were just as stunned as Liza was.
“It was a tumultuous season to film, because I started off the beginning of the season in turmoil with Kelsey. We were fighting and at odds -- even Hilary [Duff] and I were like, ‘This sucks!’ And then I finally have a moment with Charles and they bring in the ex and torture me,” Sutton Foster, who plays Liza, said with a laugh as she reflected on the season during a recent chat with ET. “Then Josh falls in love with this Irish girl, who I set him up with and he impulsively decides to marry her. Liza can’t help but get in the way. It was a roller coaster.”
That doesn’t even begin to describe the season that was for TV Land’s salaciously addictive Manhattan comedy. Foster, who is as invested in her character’s tangled love life as loyal fans of Younger are, broke down the biggest revelations from Wednesday’s season four finale, from Liza and Josh’s steamy bedroom scene to Josh and Clare's surprising wedding, and reveals why she’s all in on a Liza and Charles romance and the big moment that wasn’t in the original script.
ET: What have you embraced about playing Liza this season compared to the previous three?
Sutton Foster: She’s definitely evolved over the four seasons, and in this one, she’s a little all over the place. Each person who finds out her truth -- Josh finds out and then she tells Kelsey -- it’s like she’s able to relax a little bit more and evolve into who she really is. Although, that line got very [blurred]. In season four, it’s been an interesting journey for Liza with these men in her life who are causing her such grief and frustration. (Laughs.) As I was reading the scripts, I was like, oh my god, she’s crying her eyes out because she loves Charles, and then in the next episode, she’s crying because she’s losing Josh. She’s in love with two men and she ultimately makes big sacrifices for both of them, but it’s also torturous. I think she’s trying to double down and remind herself why she’s doing this: It’s not for any of these guys, it’s for my career. It was interesting to film because I had to navigate all these feelings and relationships and keep track of where everything was. But ultimately, she loves these two guys and she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She was impulsively acting with her heart.
You mentioned the roller coaster ride that Liza was on this season. Was there a decision that she made that you personally didn’t agree with?
All the stuff with Pauline. I was like, “What is Liza doing?!” I was even saying to the writers, “This is crazy.” And in my mind, I was trying to justify why she was [helping Pauline]. You have to remember that Liza was married and has a kid, and Charles has two daughters, so Liza understands Pauline -- even though you want to rip your hair out. I think that’s where Liza’s maturity came into play, even though it seems insane, because she knew she had to step out of the way.
We have to talk about the finale. What was your initial take on the episode?
I remember reading the finale and I was like, “It can’t end this way! This is crazy.” They ended up adding that last image of Charles calling Liza on the phone. It was originally going to end on Liza’s face watching Josh get married.
There was the big moment between Liza and Josh in the bedroom, where it seemed like they were finally going to get back together and Josh was going to call off his wedding to Clare. He even drunkenly admits to Liza, “It’s always been you.” What was going through your mind when you read that scene?
When I read the piece about Josh, what I found interesting about this season was that Liza and Josh don’t spend a lot of time together. We had very few scenes, but yet you still root for them. I had all these scenes with Charles, but the way the writers peppered in Josh, you just still couldn’t help but think: What about Liza and Josh? When he goes through with the wedding and says he had to marry this girl to get over Liza, which is crazy, we were all kind of like, oh my god. Because you don’t think he’s going to [get married] and then he does it -- now what? The writers have created this delightful mess, so I’m curious what season five might be.
There was a chance that it could have been Liza walking down the aisle instead of Clare. Does Liza regret how Josh’s near-proposal last season went down?
It’s tricky. I think Liza knows that -- I think Liza made the right… (Takes a pause.) Ugh! I’m afraid I’m going to say something… I don’t think Liza would have said yes. I don’t think Liza would have married Josh, even if he hadn’t had caught her with Charles -- at least not then. I think she knows that Josh is young and Josh is impulsive and that they need more time, just to develop as a couple, and they have things they need to work out. But I think in that moment, even though she sees that he was planning to propose to her, I don’t think she would have said, “Yes, I’m going to marry you,” because right now, marriage for her means something different. She doesn’t have those little girl marriage dreams. She’s coming at it from a different perspective. She’s able to go, “Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah.”
Liza watched Charles’ joint TV interview with his ex, Pauline, and the finale left off on Charles calling Liza’s phone in the middle of the wedding. There’s Charles on one end of the spectrum and Josh on the other. Where’s Liza’s headspace at this point? Do you think she needs to take some time for herself?
I will say that I think Charles and Liza are inevitable. I feel like there’s something there, just like in the weird way that Josh and Liza are inevitable. But I think the Charles and Liza of it all needs to be explored. It still hasn’t been. It’s been thwarted every time. They’ve had all these moments where they come together and then something comes up. What I’m hoping is that season five will give them a shot and we’ll see what that is. I can’t say that’s the end of Josh, so I don’t know. It’s Younger. You know they’re going to be pulling some crazy sh*t out, so I can’t try to predict it! (Laughs.) People are invested and have lots of opinions. Hopefully, we have many, many seasons to go and if we tied it all up in little bows, that wouldn’t be fun to watch. We may torture you a little bit, but we guarantee some good entertainment.
How important is it for Liza to reveal the truth about her age to Charles, especially if they do seriously explore a relationship of some sort?
I think it’s important for her, especially if they become intimate and they take their relationship to another level. She almost revealed it to him this season. The writers are clever, unless something happens where she can’t -- yes, he’s her boss; god, it’s so complicated! I do think it’s important. Even though Liza is lying, I don’t think she’s a liar. In her core and her truth, she’s a really decent, good person and this isn’t what she anticipated going into this charade. Now, she’s like, “Oh sh*t, how do I navigate all of this?” If things do move forward with Charles, I think he needs to know and how he finds out, we’ll see.
What was the coolest part about filming on location in Ireland?
Just like New York plays a character in the show, it was the same way with Ireland. We shot there for four days and it was awesome; I’d never been to Ireland before. It’s interesting, to get the bedroom scene with Liza and Josh, we needed to be somewhere else. We needed to be out of New York, far away in a distant land. Magical things happen when you get people out of their comfort zone, and it was very, very cool that we got to do that.
A Kelsey-Josh romance was briefly explored this season. Is that nipped in the bud for good? What is your opinion on that pairing?
I don’t know! I guess that could come back. It doesn’t feel right to me, but that could be my own jealousy of “He’s mine!” I don’t ultimately see that relationship. I appreciated them exploring it, I thought it was interesting and I liked how they handled it. I see them as friends, I don’t see them more than that, but again, I could be wrong.
Have you broached the idea with creator Darren Star of tapping into your Broadway talents and doing a Younger musical episode or number?
One of the things that I told Darren when we first met was no singing. I don’t think Liza can sing, I really don’t think she has any hidden talents. We joke around and we sing a lot when the cameras aren’t rolling. For me, it’s been really great to have a job where I’m not breaking out in song and dance. It’s been really fun to explore a character who doesn’t sing, but we’ll see. We might have to do something behind the scenes for a Younger musical. (Laughs.) But I don’t know if it’ll be a part of the storyline.