“This season, I’ve been accosted walking into grocery stores and yoga classes by people that have been very obsessed with this show and are suddenly taking their anger out on me,” Tortorella tells TVLine. “I haven’t had that experience on the show before. I know that Peter Hermann has gotten that a couple of times, but this is my first time getting anger directed at me. It’s been interesting to say the least. These people are like, ‘I’m literally about to throw my TV out the window if she doesn’t end up with Josh.'”
Fortunately for those impatient viewers, the series finale does end with a single Josh and Liza reuniting in the exact spot they met 83 episodes prior. They even exchange much of the same banter, which Tortorella and Sutton Foster deliver exactly as we remember it.
“That was my last day of working, so it was very emotional — I could barely get my words out,” Tortorella says of filming Josh’s final interaction with Liza. In order to accurately reenact their characters’ meeting in the pilot, Tortorella and Foster revisited the scene together, which only made them break down even further. “We’d been through so much together as Sutton and Nico and as Josh and Liza. Here are we, a full 360 degrees from the day we met to the day we’re saying goodbye. It was very intense. And how beautiful that we got to share that full-circle moment.”
Even learning about the ending proved to be a rollercoaster for Tortorella, who received the finale script on Jan. 6, 2021, just as news was breaking that the U.S. Capitol was sieged.
“So right off the bat, emotions were f–ing messed up everywhere,” Tortorella recalls of the “very intense” day, which ended with a virtual table read for the finale. “While we were filming, Sutton got the script on her phone and started reading it. She got to the end, she started crying, then looked at me and said, ‘It’s you and me, baby. It’s you and me.'”
Bringing Josh to life for seven seasons has been a dream for Tortorella, who reminds us that the character “was only supposed to be a guest star in the pilot,” and that they weren’t promoted to series regular until the second episode. But what does the future hold for Williamsburg’s hottest tattoo artist, with or without Liza? Tortorella has a few ideas.
“I’ve been the first one to say on a Zoom call or in interviews that we should do a movie,” they say. “And then we’ll save the reveal of Josh’s last name — which we still don’t know, by the way — for a spinoff or whatever. I mean, the landscape of television is so vast, and Younger is still thriving. Did I send an e-mail about a Josh spinoff to the powers that be? Yeah, I did. I miss Josh, I miss Younger, I miss Darren [Star], I miss Viacom, I miss Paramount. I really think there’s an amazing story that could be told about a tattoo artist raising a child as a single father. How realistic is it that it’ll happen? I don’t know. But I’m trying to start conversations.”
What did you think of that final Josh/Liza scene? And would you watch a Josh-centric spinoff? Grade the finale below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.