Alex Karpovsky on Appreciating the End
How has Shoshanna and Ray’s relationship changed over the seasons?
Even though they don’t hang out as much as other people on the show, they have a pretty sturdy friendship. They really trust and rely on one another a lot, and they will forever be outsiders. And they were once intimate. Those facts create a special bond between them. Ray really respects her individuality, and I suspect she sees something in Ray as well. So they come to each other in times of confusion for guidance, when they’re existentially disoriented. They need each other more as friends.
What is it about Abigail that draws Ray in?
She’s really fun, funny and smart. She’s not bogged down by all of these crippling thoughts about, “What am I going to do with my life?” “Do my friends like me?” There is a levity about her he finds really refreshing -- a levity that is tempered by someone who is actually cool, mature and smart. Those things don’t often go together, and they haven’t gone together in the type of women Ray has been hanging around with.
Could you talk about the Brooklyn interviews storyline? Has your relationship with Brooklyn changed while working on the show?
I liked that storyline a lot; Ray embarks on the project to bring the voices of Hermie’s recordings into a sort of constellation. Not only as a tribute to his friend, but also as a way to find some meaning and purpose in his own life. And it’s sort of a eulogy or an obituary for Brooklyn. We’re talking to people that have been in Brooklyn for a while. The neighborhood has changed so much just in the six years we’ve been working on the show. It is fascinating to try to chronicle or remark on in some way.
I don’t know if this Ray or me talking -- maybe a combination of both -- but most of the change has undermined or compromised the things that Ray really fell in love with about Brooklyn. It was a place for artists and it was a place that had a lot of charm and character, but financial reasons have changed that to a large degree and has sort of stripped the city of a lot of its individuality.
What was it like filming the scene on Jane’s Carousel?
That was the last scene I shot on the show -- although I didn’t know at the time, which I think is a good thing. You work on a show like this, which is so amazing and magical, and sometimes slip into a mode where you take things for granted, and don’t realize how special and nice and rewarding it is. But I do remember realizing in that scene, “Man, this is really wonderful!” Just the spectacle of the place: You’re on the Brooklyn waterfront, you’re on a carousel, you’re with people you’ve worked with for five years, and it’s a beautiful summer night. It’s like, “Don’t be an idiot. Appreciate this.”
What do you see in Ray’s future?
I think he goes back into civil service and puts more thought and commitment into politics -- I think the political climate has re-energized him. I think he has a podcast that leans as much into the history of Brooklyn as it does the local political situation. I could see him having a nice place in Red Hook or Cobble Hill. He might still even be doing weekend shifts at Ray’s, just to keep in touch with everybody.