Will Forte recently lamented that should Fox fail to renew Last Man on Earth, history would likely remember the Season 3 finale as “the worst last episode of a show ever,” adding, “It’s like the exact opposite of the Breaking Bad finale.”
He was not kidding.
Sunday’s closer wrapped with a doozy of a cliffhanger: As the survivors prepared to flee the looming nuclear holocaust by boat, crazed and royally pissed-off Pat (Mark Boone Junior) dropped anchor with gun blazing. But before he had a chance to pull the trigger, he was shot dead by Kristen Wiig’s Pamela Briton — leaving Tandy & Co. both relieved and gobsmacked.
Below, Forte — who also serves as Last Man‘s creator and EP — breaks down the finale’s big twists and offers a timely update on the bubble comedy’s renewal prospects (hint: things are looking up).
TVLINE | You weren’t kidding when you told me this would make a terrible series finale.
[Laughs] Right? I’m always honest with you.
TVLINE | Was part of this your way of making it really difficult for Fox to cancel the show?
No. We never think like that. We just try to make the best episodes we can… episodes that make you want to come back and see how it turns out. So, I guess indirectly we’re trying to do that. We really just enjoyed that ending.
TVLINE | The finale obviously sets the stage for Kristen Wiig to have a sizable role in a possible Season 4.
Everything is subject to her schedule. But certainly the plan would be to pick up exactly where we left off. But she [may just] come back, say, “Well, nice to meet you!” and get in her Ferrari and take off; time will tell. She can come be a part of the show for as long as she wants. She’s the funniest person in the world to me.
TVLINE | Erica gave birth and Carol is about to. If there is a Season 4, how do you avoid the show being overrun by babies?
We kill the babies. Baby murder-suicide is a definite ratings bonanza. [Laughs]
TVLINE | It’s not like you can ship them off to day care or boarding school or to Grandma’s house. You’re gonna be stuck with two infants and, as I understand it, that can be challenging for a TV production.
There are ways around it. There are such tight restrictions on babies who act. They’re such divas. In a way it keeps you on your toes. There’s no wasted time. It can make the day go faster because you’re forced into a type of efficiency. Also, the babies don’t have to be shown on screen. You can have a crib that has a little sun shade over it and add some baby sounds and then the baby is in that scene without being in it.
TVLINE | Your Boris Kodjoe impersonation was spot-on.
[Laughs] Oh my God.
TVLINE | Did you have to get his permission to use his likeness?
[Hesitates] No. That’s funny because I thought about that. I was like, “Does he get paid for this?” I don’t know [what the rules are]. Something tells me that he’s not going to sue us.
TVLINE | The nuclear meltdown plot was a very timely and unsettling twist given what’s happening in the world. Was that a coincidence?
Total coincidence. There was no statement on the current state of society. When we first started doing the show we read books on — or somebody read books on and then told us [Laughs] — about everything that could happen [in an apocalypse], like when power would shut off, when water would shut off. And [a nuclear meltdown] was one of the things. In most cases it would actually happen earlier than it did on our show.
TVLINE | Fair to say Season 4 would take place largely on a boat?
I don’t think so. If we were going to do that we would really want to shoot on the water and [that would be cost-prohibitive]. And when you fake too much stuff it’s really horrible. So we won’t be on a boat for too long.
TVLINE | What was ailing January Jones while you were shooting the finale? She sounded terrible.
She had a cold. I think her [real-life] son had a cold that she got. You could not even hear her voice. It was so raspy. A lot of [what you hear] is ADR [automated dialogue replacement]. Her voice had just completely given out for a couple of days.
TVLINE | Did you ever consider writing it into the script?
There was so much else going on we decided just to commit to [doing ADR]. We didn’t have time to throw in this last-minute subplot of her being sick.
TVLINE | What is the latest you’re hearing about a renewal?
It keeps going back and forth. I think the latest is that there might be some hope. I was feeling kind of pessimistic a few weeks ago and now I feel like, “Oh, we might have a shot.” I got together with [Fox CEOs] Dana [Walden] and Gary [Newman] and told them what we wanted to do in Season 4; we had a really nice lunch. I understand the position that they’re in. We have [unspectacular] ratings. I think they like the show creatively, but they have to run a business. So I just told them how I thought we could improve the show for us on the creative level.