‘Last Man on Earth’ Finale: Kristen Schaal explains Carol’s decision

Boris Kodjoe versus Will Forte.

It's a romantic choice very few of us ever have to make, but it was the decision facing Carol Pilbasian in Sunday's (May 3_ season finale of “The Last Man on Earth.”

Or, to put it a different way, Carol had to decide between Phil Miller and Phil Miller.

And, as the episode concluded, Carol chose Phil “Tandy” Miller, driving away from Tucson with her ex-husband heading who-knows-where with a guy who many, many fans found themselves really disliking around midseason. 

Has Phil changed just because he wrote a romantic song for Carol? Or was this just the latest example of Phil craving something he couldn't have?

We'll see in Season 2.

Last week, after watching an early screening of the “Last Man on Earth” finale, I sat down with Kristen Schaal to talk about Carol's choice, which the “Bob's Burgers” veteran is totally in favor of. 

We also discussed working with Boris Kodjoe, how co-star Mary Steenburgen references her Oscar and why Schaal isn't hoping for more screentime with the cow.

Click through for the full Q&A…

HitFix: How well do you feel like you understand the decision that Carol makes at the end of the finale?

Kristen Schaal: Oh, very well! Because I really, really wanted Carol and Phil to be together. It was one of those things where obviously Phil… Should I call them Phil and Tandy? This is very confusing. Which is easier? I could call them Boris and Will?

HitFix: Sounds good!

Kristen Schaal: Like clearly Boris really likes Carol for Carol, but he's a bit of a killer. He's like a machine. He sees a weed and he picks it out of the community and it goes. But Carol puts on a lot of makeup for Boris. She puts it on. But not for Tandy, because Tandy knows exactly who Carol is and Carol knows exactly who Tandy is and she loves him. There's something about him that she's really into and I think he comes around to seeing that she's also something that he really… Beefs? Is that what he says? “I really beefed it”? I wish there were a couple more episodes, or at least another episode, but I wish there was more time to explore it, but I understand deeply the decision she made, that she's not gonna let Tandy die out there and she can't bring him back to Tucson, so they had to continue on. But she can always go back to Tucson!

HitFix: How clear-eyed do you think she sees him at this point? She has the fixer-upper view of him when they first meet and she thinks she can turn him into the perfect guy for her. But is she past that? Is she past thinking he's changeable? 

Kristen Schaal: No, I doubt that. I think that's why she's gonna go save him. She knew he couldn't make it out there and she knew what was gonna happen and I think he's still gonna be a bit of a project for her, but I think with that song and everything, she realizes that he's finally feeling the thing that she always sorta felt for him in a way.

HitFix: A lot of the humor in these last few episodes is people acting opposite Boris because he's so big and there are all of those shots of Will staring way up at him. He's so big and so good-looking. How is it working with Boris as almost a prop?

Kristen Schaal: I never think of him as a prop! I don't think that's fair to say. It was fun having him on-set. When we had our love-making scene, I felt so comfortable and I didn't even know him, but he's just such a great, class-act guy. I was like, “Just so you know, this only the second time I've done something like this” and he was like, “Oh my God, I've done this hundreds of times.” He was like, “It's all about you. It's just making sure you're comfortable.” And I'm like, “Oh, thank you!” We had a lot of fun together.

HitFix: How is Will, in contrast to that?

Kristen Schaal: Oh, just the same, but I feel like Will and I are like brother and sister. I've known Will a lot longer. He was just as good, but with Boris, I didn't know about.

HitFix: How did the tone and process change when it went from just you and Will in those first couple episodes to a couple other people and then a whole ensemble?

Kristen Schaal: It was interesting. Of course it was really exciting for me to get to be in all the scenes with just Will, because I was in every scene, which was so exciting for me! I told my husband, I was like, “Just so you know, as the season goes on, there's gonna be more cast members, so I'll be home a lot more. I can probably make dinner a couple nights.” And then that wasn't the case. It was very much an ensemble show. It was fun. Every new person that came in, it was fun to get to know them and everybody's so great. Mary Steenburgen is just a gem. Every day she would reveal something else about herself that was extraordinary, but in the humblest way. 

HitFix: Like, “Oh, that was my Oscar that just fell out of my purse. Oops.”?

Kristen Schaal: Kind of! Yeah! I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I didn't even know you had an Oscar.” It was much, much later working with her, I was talking about the love scene I did with Boris and I was like, “Oh, gosh.” And it was something about how she wouldn't do those scenes anymore, but she did a naked scene one time and I was like, “Well was it worth it?” and she was like, “Well, I got an Oscar from it, so…” And it was like, “Are you kidding, Mary?” If I got an Oscar, the first time I'd meet someone, I'd be like, “I'm Kristen I-Won-An-Oscar Schaal. Nice to meet you.”

HitFix: Or just “I'm Oscar Winner Kristen Schaal.”

Kristen Schaal: Oh right! Like “Doctor.”

HitFix: It becomes part of your title. Who in the ensemble would you like to have more scenes with in the second season?

Kristen Schaal: Oh, they're all so great. I feel like, and everybody felt like this too, is that Erica and Gail need to be explored a lot more and they're so fun and I think it'd be fun to be with those two. Steenburgen's really quick in improv, as well, which was so fun to find out with her.

HitFix: Do you call her “Steenburgen”?

Kristen Schaal: Not to her face! But I like too.

HitFix: And the cow?

Kristen Schaal: The cow? I'm not as excited to have more scenes with the cow, it's a little bit of a greedy, greedy actor.

HitFix: Huh. Chris [Miller] was saying that the cow was surprisingly responsive and an experienced, veteran-acting cow.

Kristen Schaal: Chris wasn't there that day. 

HitFix: I think you're going to need to tell me more.

Kristen Schaal: Well, I just don't know what he's talking about. I don't remember him having to direct the cow, so I don't know how much the cow is paying him to be his mouthpiece, but that's just not true.

HitFix: So you had issues with the cow?

Kristen Schaal: I didn't have issues with the cow, but you asked who I want to do more scenes with and I'm not pitching her. [She laughs.] She did run from me once when I was leading her into the house. She got spooked and ran the other way and I was so dumb that I tried to stop her and she's like hundreds of pounds and got a really bad rope-burn.

HitFix: How long would you like the post-finale status quo of Phil and Carol on their own would you like to see?

Kristen Schaal: That's something I just don't know, but what would I want? I would love like… six episodes of just Phil and Carol. I think it would be so much fun. Does America want it? Does Will want it? I don't know. But I want it!

HitFix: Did you pay attention at all to the fan conversation with some viewers turning on Phil after four or five episodes? Did you expect that?

Kristen Schaal: Yeah. I did sorta expect that and sorta agree with it, a little bit. He wasn't in love with Carol. He wanted Melissa. I thought all the things he did were so funny that, to me, I wasn't offended. I just thought, “Everything he's doing is so funny and he's not getting anything he wants. Why are we so angry?” I don't know.

HitFix: Also, you knew that there was a whole arc.

Kristen Schaal: I was like, “Hang on!” And now I'm starting to read that people are feeling sorry for him. 

HitFix: Is that going too far? Do you feel sorry for him?

Kristen Schaal: Yeah, I guess so. I feel sorry for Phil. Every move he makes is the wrong move, where people are concerned.

HitFix: Except for deciding to be with Carol in the end!

Kristen Schaal: Well thank you! I agree. I agree! I think being with Carol is the best thing that's ever happened to him. He prayed to God for someone to come and then someone did and he's just so stupid that he didn't realize that was the exact right person who needed to be with him.