Aussie Writer Joe Murphy Explains Why 'Younger' Is The Unlikely Feminist Hero Of 2019

Addictive for all the right reasons.

If you’re like me and have dedicated all your spare time to binging the last six seasons of Younger, I have two questions for you. One, are you on Team Josh or Team Charles, and two, what did we ever do without this show in our lives!?

If you don’t watch the show (shame on you – it’s a cracker) it follows the story of Liza, a 40-year-old single mum who after being mistaken for much younger than she really is attempts to reboot her career, and love life, as a 26-year-old. 

It’s not always easy. Credit: Giphy

It might sound like the kind of chick flick you’d watch on a Saturday night while inhaling a bottle of red and copious amounts of Indian takeaway, but it’s far more than that. Younger, which is now airing on Stan, has gained a cult following, covering everything from ageism to sexism, and how to navigate through a difficult decade of relationships, friendships, and career.

It’s this real life currency that Australian Joe Murphy clearly loves about his job as a writer for the hit show. 

Joe Murphy

Murphy comes from Tangambalanga, a small town with a big name in north-eastern Victoria with a population of around 500. Before moving to the Big Apple, Murphy worked as a writer on Deal or No Deal, where he said colleagues made him a t-shirt which read, ‘From Tangambalanga to New York, the road never travelled.’ 

Perhaps it’s this humble beginning that has allowed Murphy to relate so personally to the characters on Younger, and put women first, which he says is a priority.

Yes, queens. Credit: Giphy

“We’ve got a fantastic feminist overtone,” he says of the show. “It’s really enjoyable to always make sure the women come first in the scenes – to understand what their headspace is, what their emotional journey is.”

“We always try to find ways to do it so it’s never a woman tearing another woman down,” he added, referring to writing scenes for one of Younger’s most pivotal characters, Diana Trout. She’s the Head of Marketing at a huge publishing company, and according to Murphy, “can come across as being callous and pretty savage, particularly with Liza.” But Diana is the perfect example of how layered we are as humans: while she can be brittle and cold, “there’s so much more going on under the surface.” 

Diana is an ICON. Credit: Giphy

Another defining aspect of Younger are the many literary and pop culture references expertly woven throughout the show. No trend is spared, from nods to real life icons like Hector & Dorff (Viktor & Rolf) and Edward L.L. Moore (George R.R. Martin), to trending concepts like Pinx Underwear (Thinx) and The Nest (NYC social club The Wing).

Edward L.L. Moore bears striking resemblance to George R.R. Martin
Credit: IMDb

Seriously, there are entire articles dedicated to picking these references out. 

In the first episode of season six, Liza and Kelsey meet with an author about a business book called The Glass Cliff, which Murphy explains is about the real phenomenon that “women can be put in places of power, but only when a company is failing.”

“We used that to heighten Kelsey’s insecurities that she’s not going to be good enough to be publisher.” Murphy added that Younger writers are in constant contact with a publishing consultant who helps them nail the references and make sure the show stays grounded in reality. The cheeky Easter eggs are also the result of creator Darren Star’s love of reading and “having his finger on the pulse in the publishing and literary world.” 

A good question. Credit: Giphy

He might be the creator of Younger, but Darren Star is perhaps best known for being the mastermind behind Sex And The City which was also originally adapted from a book. While the shows are similar in many ways, Murphy makes it clear that they’re worlds, or more specifically decades, apart. “Social media has changed so much between Sex And The City and Younger.

He says “it’s tricky to compare them because they were reflecting culture at a very different time,” however notes characters like Lauren as 2019’s answer to Sex And The City’s Samantha. Like Samantha, Lauren works in PR and acts as what Murphy refers to as the “shepherd” of the group, directing them to the “latest cool place.”

Samantha quotes are the best.
Credit: Giphy

The only difference is, “Lauren is pansexual, she’s non judgemental, she’s a huge advocate for her girl besties,” which immediately brings Younger into this decade. “SATC was 25 years ago, we’ve all matured and become more woke.” 

Lauren is everything. Credit: Giphy

Working on Younger sounds like a dream job for Murphy, but it’s something he believes all young Aussie writers can do. “Write and keep writing, never stop writing, and apply for the Green Card in the lottery because that’s what I did, and I won!” 

“Americans love Australians – we can thank Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman for that. We’re hard-working, we’ve got the right attitude, and we’re fun to be stuck in a room with.”

We also love Younger and now we can rest easy knowing it puts women first, there’s even more reason to binge watch. 

TEAM JOSH, every day. Credit: Giphy

Oh, and as for Liza’s on-again, off-again relationship with her younger ex Josh, Murphy says they have a “lovely moment this season” (soz, Team Charles). “A big part of their relationship not moving forward was this constant nagging fear she was holding Josh back from being a father, and having that pathway…she couldn’t get past her guilt.”

Spoiler alert: Josh became a father this season, so watch this space! 

Game Of Thrones' Showrunners Have Bailed On Comic-Con And Look, We Don't Blame Them

No one wants a "shame bell"

If the end of Game of Thrones ruffled your feathers, I’m very sorry to break it to you, but you won’t be able to shoot daggers the showrunners at this year’s Comic-Con.

In a last minute tweet from the GoT account, it was announced that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss will not be attending their Comic-Con panel this week. That also includes director Miguel Sapochnik and actors Iain Glen and Nathalie Emmanuel who have also bailed on the event.

While Jacob Aderson, John Bradley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Liam Cunningam, Conleth Hill, Maisie Williams and Isaac Hemsptead Wright will still be in attendance, fans suspect the dropouts are because of bad press. 

HBO didn’t give any specific reason for the change, but Twitter is busy speculating and the Game Of Thrones memes are RIFE. I’m not entirely surprised – the final episode of the hit show was dragged within an inch of its life online, and a petition to have it rewritten by “competent writers” now boasts over 1.5 million signatures. 

According to Cinema Blend, one Reddit thread called for the showrunners to be punished with a “shame bell” during their Comic-Con panel as a cheeky nod to one of the show’s previous episodes. 

During a recent fan convention in Nashville, Tennessee, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was forced to defend the show, telling the audience: “Everyone on Game of Thrones, and there are thousands, we worked our asses of to make the best show we could for the ending.”

Despite all the criticism, GoT has cleaned UP when it comes to Emmy nominations. The show is up for a whopping 32 awards, three of which were successfully self-submitted by actors Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, and Carice van Houten.

As the old saying goes: if the Comic-Con fans won’t back you, you’ll just have to back yourself. Touché

The NRL's Finally Putting Women At The Centre Of The Game And Bob Katter Isn't Happy About It

He dropped the word "sheilas" a lot.

According to Bob Katter, “nothing is sacred anymore” when it comes to female referees in NRL.

The politician and Akubra enthusiast appeared on TODAY, where he was asked for his thoughts on Belinda Sharpe’s recent appointment as the first female referee in NRL history.

Congratulations, Belinda!

After dropping far too many “sheilas” for anyone’s liking, Katter tried to make the point that he was “very handsome when he was younger,” and that “we don’t want women playing football, because they’ll have a nose like mine.”

We’re confused as well.

Host Allison Langdon, author Nikki Gemmell – and the rest of Australia – were left in utter disbelief from Katter’s strange and rather offensive comments, but it didn’t end there.

With one final flourish he said: “It is a bit hard to see how you can referee properly if you are not playing football,” completely ignoring the fact that women’s rugby league is a thing that well and truly exists here in Australia.

In 2018, a new era for Women’s Rugby League began, with the formation of the Elite Women’s Squad, multiple events including the Women’s National Championship, Women’s Premiership, and Women’s State of Origin, not to mention that fact that girls’ rugby league is becoming the fastest-growing sport, according to

Yeah the girls.

Let’s not forget it’s not Sharpe’s first time as a ref, either. She became an NRL touch judge in 2014 and officiated in that capacity at the 2017 World Cup.

“If my role in just doing my job week in week out can inspire other people to become involved, particularly other females to become involved as referees, then that’s something I’m proud of,” Sharpe told SMH.

It’s something we should all be proud of. Hats off to her.

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