Every once in a while, there comes an episode that sheds light on how dense progressive politics can be. The latest episode of TVLand’s Younger steps up to the plate by daring to call the new LGBTQ-whatever terms “confusing.” Throw in a little mockery with a fake term and this episode could wind up getting people arrested in Canada.
The July 10 episode “Big Little Liza” starts with Lauren (Molly Bernard) getting a new, young intern. She introduces the intern saying “their” name is Tam and scolds her friend Josh for initially calling Tam a “dude.” After all, she comments, “You can't just assume everyone's pronouns.” Even though you can assume about 99 percent of the world’s pronouns and it makes no grammatical sense for one person to use a plural pronoun, that seems to be where Lauren and Tam stand, much to everyone’s dismay.
The scenario becomes even more confusing at a gala that Liza (Sutton Foster) and her lesbian roommate Maggie (Debi Mazar) attend where they also meet Tam but don't understand what "gender-queer" means. This leads to a brief and perplexing lecture on LGBT-XYZ terms that manages to baffle even Maggie.
Liza: Ooh, do I eat it or wear it?
Tam: I'm not here to tell you what to do.
Maggie: I'll try it. I'm starving.
Lauren: Aren't they great?
Lauren: Tam, my assistant. You just met them.
Maggie: I only saw one person.
Lauren: Tam is gender-queer.
Liza: Gender-queer? Oh. Oh, so he's bi?
Lauren: Oh, my God. Liza, no. Please, do not--no, do not use that word here. Tam's pan-sexual, homo-romantic, and their pronouns are they, them, and their. All right, no more questions. It's offensive. The LGBTQIAPK community has been through enough.
Maggie: You lost me after T.
Lauren: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pan, poly, kink.
Liza: Thank you.
Lauren: You're welcome. Please keep your mingling to a minimum.
Maggie: Ooh, I was less confused in the closet.
Thank goodness someone’s willing to at least call all this confusing. At the rate things are going, it could actually become illegal to go that far anymore even in the United States. Younger should probably stay off Twitter for awhile after this.
But it doesn’t stop there. Liza uses her newfound knowledge about the term “queer” when she is questioned on her real age. (The concept of the show is that although she is a 41-year-old woman, Liza pretends to be in her late-twenties to secure a job at a trendy publishing firm.) When she’s put on the spot, she invents the new term “age-queer” to keep up the charade so people don't find out she's not a Millennial. The best part is that it works.
Kiara: Liza, how old are you?
Liza: I'm... age-queer.
Liza: I'm age-queer. That fact-checker was trying to age-shame us for being young, so I told them I'm old in protest. And it's, like, who cares? I don't identify as any age.
Kelsey: Neither do I.
Liza: They were so focused on how successful we were for our age, and it shouldn't matter how old we are.
Kelsey: Exactly. Screw them.
Kiara: Who's them?
Kelsey: The patriarchy.
Liza: So I told them I'm 41. And let them think that for all I care. We're post-age.
Kiara: But how old--I'm confused.
Kelsey: It's confusing, but it's not wrong.
Kelsey: Every time you get a bunch of strong, powerful women together, it's their looks, their age. They're too young. They're too sexy.
Liza: I mean, what are they gonna do, throw us in "The Handmaid's Tale"?
Kelsey: Under his eye, girl.
Assistant: Kiara, it's the fact-checker again.
Kiara: I'll handle them.
I unfortunately can’t judge whether or not that term would work in real-life, but I surely appreciate a show like Younger inventing the ridiculous scenario. Give everyone a chance to laugh at it before the using the terms seriously inevitably becomes the law. Even then, I’ll still be laughing.