Another Period: Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome talk Bachelor-inspired episode
Every week, Another Period creators and stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, who play spoiled socialite sisters Lillian and Beatrice Bellacourt, take viewers behind the scenes and share insight into how they crafted each episode. Below, their thoughts on the third episode of the comedy’s second season, “The Prince and the Pauper.”
On the hunt for potential new husbands, the Bellacourt ladies — minus Hortense, of course — must win the heart of a suitable bachelor, a “prince” played by Rizwan Manji. To Leggero and Lindhome, the plot offered the perfect backbone for a spoof of The Bachelor franchise, and the pair ran with having Lillian and Beatrice (and even the Commodore) acting like contestants clawing their way to winning the (contractual) prize.
NATASHA LEGGERO: It’s funny — I’ve never been a fan [of The Bachelor] and then because we were writing this episode, I started watching the [season] with Ben Higgins. I mean, I got my husband into it, we were so into it. It was kinda fun to start watching it, and I think Jeremy [Konner], our director, started watching it and got very into it, so I think it was very cool that it was art imitating life. We were actually using it for inspiration but also getting really into it.
RIKI LINDHOME: Originally, it was just a The Prince and the Pauper story. It was just the basic, you know, the prince comes in disguise and picks someone. And then as it evolved it just became funnier to do it with The Bachelor story.
LEGGERO: We wanted to have a host [like Chris Harrison], but it’s always hard. We have so many characters, like Peepers needs to be doing something else. Everyone’s so busy all the time because we have so many characters, but yeah Riki’s right, we really did go through all of the options.
LINDHOME: Yeah, we really tried them. Because Hamish is in prison in that episode and there’s so many other things, it just didn’t [work]. If it was all Bachelor, then we would’ve absolutely gone full-tilt, but the fact that we had all these other stories, it would’ve distracted from them.
The dates begin, and the women do all they can to impress the prince, going so far as using arsenic to make themselves appear whiter and more veiny — an actual “beauty” trick used by ladies in the early 20th century.
LINDHOME: That was completely real. It made your skin paler, and pale skin was a sign of being upper class. They didn’t have sunscreen, so it was the people who stayed indoors all day who were richer and they were paler. So people would take little sips of arsenic to lighten their skin and look more upper class. And women used to actually draw their veins on with blue makeup paint. They used to highlight their veins so people could see them. That’s based on our research.
Once ready, the women go on their respective one-on-one dates. For Beatrice, it means showing the prince her favorite outdoor activity: hunting men. No, really, literally hunting men. The unlucky target this time? Garfield (Armen Weitzman), who gets body-slammed to the ground.
LINDHOME: [Chasing and pinning down Armen was] basically a lifelong fantasy of mine. [Laughs] No, I’m joking. It was fun! Armen’s so game, and it’s just so silly because we were watching The Bachelor, and they go on hot air balloons.hey go on these adventures. I haven’t seen them hunt, but they do activities that they wouldn’t do otherwise… We had an episode idea that was The Most Dangerous Game, in which we were just hunting servants. But that seemed too out-of-character, like we’re not going to kill all our servants, but we thought it would be funny if we did it with just one of them. A lot of these tiny subplots will evolve because we’ll have a full-episode pitch in our writers’ room and we’ll be like, “We love that, but it’s not enough for a full episode, so how do we put that one scene in?”
Lillian, on the other hand, goes on a hot air balloon ride, just like Bachelor contestants. But unlike Bachelor contestants, the perfect date goes awry when Lillian experiences some unfortunate, arsenic-induced bowel movement.
LEGGERO: I had a doctor’s appointment [when the idea came about] so I wasn’t in the writers’ room, and then they called me and said, “We just came up with the funniest thing.” They were all so excited and they pitched it to me, and I was like, “There’s no way we can do this,” and Jeremy said, “Oh, hot air balloons are easy.”
LINDHOME: We were all in the writers’ room and brainstorming, “What’s the worst thing that can happen in a hot air balloon?” And then we’re like, “Oh, diarrhea. That’s the worst thing.”
LEGGERO: They had a whole contraption for me, I don’t think I was in a harness. They built this huge stage and then just the basket was there and then there were fall pads for me. I basically just spent the entire day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. just hanging out of that basket doing the scene. I remember my arms were killing me the next day.
In the end, the man playing the prince turned out to be the butler; instead, the real prince, played by Aasif Mandvi, had his heart set on Blanche (Beth Dover). But just as she begins celebrating her new status as princess, Peepers (Michael Ian Black) steps in and stops the affair. Similarly trapped? Hamish (Brett Gelman), who’s locked in a cell and passes his time by learning how to read with the help of his cellmate, played by Ron Funches.
LEGGERO: We love Brett Gelman. He’s one of those characters where you can’t really imagine anyone else stepping in for him. He’s so unique. And what I love about him so much is he can be really rough and low-class but still have this sort of erudite nature to him, like he’s sort of sophisticated but also just an animal. So we had this idea [that] he really is this animal, but he’s also self-aware, so we were thinking that would be funny if he could read.
LINDHOME: He’s just like a very articulate, self-aware pig… [As for his cellmate], we just think Ron is so funny. We had a couple people where we were like, “What can we write for them?” — a couple dream people we wanted to put in the season, and Ron Funches was one of them. So we were like, “What’s their dynamic?” And it was like, “Oh, Ron’s nature is so sweet, and Hamish’s is so nasty, so how do we put that together?” And something about Hamish learning to read just made us laugh. It’s a silly plot, it’s light and fun, but it just made us laugh.
Upstairs, Chair (Christina Hendricks) is awake but without her memory. Unlike a turn-of-the-century Jason Bourne, however, Chair decides not to investigate the people she’s surrounded by but instead to get hurt yet again. After coaxing a frightened Blanche into tossing her down the same flight of stairs she had fallen down the first time, she regains her memory and sets out on a mission to find the culprit behind her original accident. The plan, though, wasn’t always to have Chair fall down the stairs a second time.
LINDHOME: I think we had a bunch of different ways [she could regain her memory]. We had a thing where she was just learning to walk, and David Wain [who plays Albert] was teaching her, and he teaches her how to dance. We went through a lot of things before we landed on that. But something about her saying “I know you did, Blanche, but who did it the first time?” just slayed us, so we were like, “We have to do that one.”
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.