Nico Tortorella can sum up in one word what being part of TV Land’s Younger has meant to him: a “blessing.”
“The show has given me space to have conversations about my own life and about the world and on my podcast The Love Bomb that people listen to,” the 29-year-old tells EW ahead of the show’s season 4 finale on Wednesday. “It’s given me another platform — an extension of the platform I already had — to just really get my message across. This message is a work in progress, but it’s still [about] love and acceptance.”
Tortorella’s on-screen tattoo artist Josh might be able to learn a thing or two from the Scream 4 star’s podcast, where he talks with friends, costars, and even people he’s been in relationships with, about “love and the labels associated with it.”
This season alone, Josh has dealt with the fallout of his failed relationship with Liza (Sutton Foster) — just as he was about to propose, Josh caught her kissing her boss Charles (Peter Hermann) — by dating (and eventually dumping) the deceptive Montana (Meredith Hagner), the new assistant to Liza’s artist BFF Maggie (Debi Mazar); kissing Liza’s work BFF Kelsey (Hilary Duff), who moves in with him after becoming enraged at learning Liza’s true identity (before eventually forgiving the 40-year-old mom for posing as a millennial to get a job); and then quickly becoming close to Clare (Phoebe Dynevor), a sweet and endearing local Irish bartender introduced to him by… wait for it… Liza.
And now, that blossoming relationship seems doomed: Clare has to go back to Ireland because of her visa situation. And that’s where we find Josh and Liza, as seen in the exclusive photo above, and another below.
So what’s Josh going to do? Tortorella analyzes Josh’s love life with EW as he teases what to expect in the upcoming final episode of season 4.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can we talk about that single tear you shed when Clare tells Josh that things have to end since she has to go back to Ireland?
NICO TORTORELLA: [Laughs] The single tear. It’s an art form, that single tear, let me tell ya. People have won awards from one tear. Wars have been fought over one tear. Love has been made over one tear. [Laughs]
All jokes aside, though, the reason for it is so heartbreaking. Clare says that things have been wonderful but it has to end. Josh has had such a rollercoaster season with his love life. What have you found most interesting in exploring that arc?
I think that what’s been happening with Clare is something that just keeps turning up for Josh. He keeps constantly getting heartbroken one way or another. I think Josh has this giant hole left in his heart from Liza and he is reaching to try to find something to fill it, whether it be Montana or Kelsey or Clare. When you need a certain type of energy or feed off a certain type of energy, you attract what you like, and I think Josh is attracted to this idea of this unobtainable person, in one way or another. I’m sure we all have a friend that has that same complex. Whether it’s conscious or not, he just keeps going after the wrong person. I really think Josh needs to take some time and do some work on himself. For real.
At the end of the previous episode, when Clare told Josh she’d have to go back to Ireland because her visa was expiring, there was a look you gave — it was obviously the wheels were turning, and I really hoped he wasn’t thinking what I thought he was thinking. Cut to the tease for the finale and we see Josh, in Ireland, in a tux at what is presumably his wedding. First, tell me about filming in Ireland and how it contributes to the episode and even your character.
It was so special. Historically, [series creator] Darren Star has always been limited to putting the cast in two locations, and it set up a completely different tone for the episode and it almost creates another character. New York City plays such a vital part in the show that when we go to a brand new city it just gives a whole new face to the episode. It was amazing, absolutely amazing.
So then, let’s focus on Ireland as it pertains to what happens in the episode. In the preview (above), we hear Josh on the phone with Liza saying “I kinda need you” and later telling her that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Is it an accurate assessment that this season finale is going to be pretty Josh-centric?
Yeah, it pretty much is a Josh finale. I think they’ve done a really good job this season of hinting at things that are going to happen and the finale comes out with a giant bang. Most of the episode takes place in Ireland.
When you say it is a Josh finale, you don’t mean it’s the last we’ll see of him.
Well, I definitely am coming back for season 5, so I’m not saying, like, he’s dead. [Laughs]
And he’s not staying in Ireland.
No, no, he’s not — well, who knows? We could be shooting season 5 in Ireland. I don’t even know what we’re doing for season 5 yet, but Josh isn’t going away.
How satisfying was it getting to punch Charles at the company picnic?
[Laughs] Yeah! It was very, very good. I love Peter, don’t get me wrong, but we had a lot of fun with that. For Josh, that was a huge f—ing win for the day.
Some think the show will end with Liza getting a book deal to tell the story about what we’ve seen on the show. My friend has a theory that what we’re watching play out is a book she has already written. I don’t know if you know where Darren is headed for a series finale — or even if he does — but do you find yourself thinking about the long game or is it better for you to not think about what may or may not happen?
Yeah, of course. We talk about it all the time, and to be honest with you, nobody knows how the show is going to end, I can assure you that. I can assure you Darren Star has no idea how the show is going to end. He doesn’t even know what we’re doing next season. He is so adamant on being so present in the way that he writes that there is no big master plan. He has a general idea, but everything can change. Here’s a funny story: Even the Kelsey and Josh stuff this year, it was just supposed to be that kiss — granted, it is just that kiss right now; there’s definitely nothing that happens between Kelsey and Josh in the finale — but after the kiss I went up to Darren and was like, “Darren, you know people are going to see the kiss and everyone’s going to want more, one way or another.” He was like, “No, no, no, no, no. We can’t do it.” And then after he saw the cut, he saw the chemistry between Hilary and I, and he was like, “Nico, you’re absolutely right. We’re going to have to do something with that.” He’ll change story lines depending on chemistry between characters. That’s how television works.
Lastly, will the finale leave us with a cliffhanger or will there be a bow wrapped around it at the end?
Uhhhh… a little bit of both!
The Younger season 4 finale airs Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 10 p.m. ET on TV Land.