The actor breaks down the series finale's 'full-circle' final scene and the reason why they hope Josh's story isn't done.
In the series finale, which dropped Thursday on Paramount+, Liza (Sutton Foster) and Charles' (Peter Hermann) rekindled romance fizzled after they came to terms with the fact that full trust would never be reached between the two in a romantic relationship. After Liza was promoted to Empirical's new editor in chief, Charles decided to take the professional leap as a novelist and Kelsey (Hilary Duff) made the move to Los Angeles with her new company, but what about Josh (Tortorella) and his future? As Younger's final episode revealed, the tattoo artist has been climbing the corporate ladder, experiencing success through his tattoo empire and even found him debating buying the apartment building he's called home all these years.
But the sweetest callback came in the series finale's very last scene. With seven seasons of history under their belts, the scene held much more significance than before. As Liza approached the bar, the same one in the series' first episode, and failed to grab the bartender's attention, Josh slipped in next to her and the pair -- though no longer in a relationship -- had the same flirty exchange as the one they shared back then. Of course, knowing the ups and downs they've faced as friends and as lovers, the open-endedness to the series' final scene left a lot of room for viewer interpretation. Does this mean Liza and Josh may reunite romantically?
"I've always spoken to the fact that there will always be hope for Josh and Liza. It may not be this idyllic Hollywood romance that people are looking for but they will always be in each other's lives in one way or another. They've spent a lot of time together and I don't think that friendship and that relationship is going anywhere," Tortorella told ET. "Does it mean they'll never have sex again? I don't know! Potentially, you know? Potentially there's room for an advanced, complex relationship but I don't think that that is what we're alluding to at the end of this show."
Following the Younger series finale, Tortorella discusses the poignant final scene (the last one they shot before wrapping), if Liza and Josh are meant to be together and why Tortorella is holding out hope for a Josh spinoff.
ET: Before we get into the final episode, there has been a lot of growth over the seven seasons for Josh. What has been the most satisfying thing for you playing this character and seeing him go through ups and downs?
Nico Tortorella: I would say having a baby, for sure. Josh definitely grew up and his priorities shifted when Gemma came into the picture. It was the first time Josh stopped relying on external validation from a female partner or a romantic partner, and stepped up to the plate and really started taking care of himself so he could take care of his daughter. For me that was like, OK, Josh is an adult now. He understands who he is and what he needs to do for the first time.
Josh also seemed like he had the potential to grow the most, just with where he started from and where he ended up. Did you feel the same way?
Yeah. I also think I look the most different than when we first started. (Laughs.) I straight up went through puberty on this show. I was 26 when we started and I'm 32 turning 33 next month, and just from a visual standpoint, I grew up the most. In terms of storyline, I think we kind of find Josh at the end of this series where we find Liza at the beginning of this journey. Josh is a single parent living in Brooklyn kind of figuring out the next step. I think that's a really, really beautiful mirror and I personally can't help but want more. I want to know what happens next. I want to know where he goes and what he's doing and how he raises his daughter and how Inkburg grows and who he starts dating and what his world looks like after this. That's where my head kind of lives. The journey doesn't stop. I kind of have a hard time looking back and reflecting on growth because we're all constantly growing and evolving every single second, every single moment, so it just kind of is.
You mentioned something I didn't think about until now, but it makes sense -- that Josh is at a similar point at the end of Younger where Liza was at the start of the series. But the ending was a nice callback to the first episode that started it all.
Totally. Word for word it is exactly the same scene and when I shot that scene initially in the pilot, it was the first day Sutton and I had met. When I shot this scene in the seventh season, that was my last day at work saying goodbye. So I got this full 360-degree circle with these two characters, both as Sutton and Nico and as Josh and Liza. I am so grateful that the writers were able to figure that out, that production was able to figure it out from a schedule standpoint that that was going to be my last day. It was just so beautiful. What are the chances that an actor on a television show gets that type of full circle?
That scene between Liza and Josh was incredibly sentimental yet had that signature flirtation between them. Viewers are going to read into the scene and what it could mean for the two characters down the line, but what did you make of that moment?
Josh kind of says it point black, that he's always been there. He has really never judged her. He has definitely told her how he feels about certain situations but I think that in this seventh season specifically, we don't get a lot of Josh and Liza together. Their romantic relationship is not even an option until that final moment. It's not even something that's alluded to. So I've always spoken to the fact that there will always be hope for Josh and Liza. It may not be this idyllic Hollywood romance that people are looking for but they will always be in each other's lives in one way or another. They've spent a lot of time together and I don't think that friendship and that relationship is going anywhere. Does it mean they'll never have sex again? I don't know! Potentially, you know? Potentially there's room for an advanced, complex relationship but I don't think that that is what we're alluding to at the end of this show. I think Josh is kind of the most forgiving, open-hearted, open-minded person on this show. He doesn't really judge anyone.
A lot of the drive behind Younger was whether Liza ends up with Josh or Charles, and it seemed fitting that it was neither.
I will say this, I do think that the nature of television in general creates this world where the writers of the show create one storyline and then the marketing department creates another storyline and the fans get something in between. I don't know that [creator] Darren [Star] was writing the show being like, "Is it Team Josh or Team Charles?" That was a marketing ploy that really worked. The show is obviously so much more than that but this season was all Liza and Charles. It was still a very big part of the show but it wasn't all of it.
Are you content with where Josh ends up?
Yes and no. Like I was saying earlier, I can't help but want more out of this. Hopefully we'll get a version of it, you know? I know they were talking about a Kelsey spinoff. I don't know if that's still happening or what the conversations were there. Full disclosure, did I send an email to the powers that be about a Josh spinoff? Yeah, I did. (Laughs.) I'll admit it, I did. I think there's more story to be told and there's a really compelling narrative there about a single father raising a daughter in 2021 and what that means living in New York City and owning tattoo shops. There's something there. I don't know about how realistic it is but I'm just letting people know that I'm opening the conversation. But who knows where the story would go. I'm definitely satisfied with the way in which all the characters got a button at the end of seven years. The writers did a f**king incredible job of doing that, for sure. But could we have used a little bit more Josh this season? I mean, sure.
The series finale was missing some key people, including Miriam Shor and Charles Michael Davis. Did you find yourself wishing you had one more scene with anyone in particular?
Debi [Mazar] and I didn't really get a goodbye at all. Neither did Molly [Bernard] and I. I think I maybe worked with Peter Hermann one day in seven years when I punched him in the face, that was the only thing. Peter is literally one of my favorite humans on this planet, I love him with all of my heart. Charles is another story. I wish I got to spend more time with Peter on set. But that wasn't an option. I did get to work with Janeane Garofalo this season, which was intensely satisfying.
It doesn't sound like you're ready to let go of the Younger world yet?
I'm refusing to let it go. (Laughs.)
A Josh spinoff does sound plausible with all the loose threads at the end of the series.
You heard it here first, ET. I think if enough of us start talking about it, it could happen. Let's make it happen! (Laughs.)
For more on Younger, watch below.
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