Another Period: Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome on the latest 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 fourth episode of the comedy’s second season, “Trial of the Century.”
All of “Trial” revolves around, well, a trial. Hamish (Brett Gelman), having been jailed after being accused of murdering Scoops, the journalist who sniffed out the Bellacourts’ biggest scandals and gave Lillian and Beatrice their few minutes of fame, now watches as a parade of witnesses testify about his character while his lawyer, Mark Twain, does his best worst to help him get acquitted. But first: The Commodore (David Koechner) visits Hamish and reveals to us that — gasp! — the pair are brothers.
NATASHA LEGGERO: I think we liked the character of Hamish because he is sort of this very low-class person but has these hints of sophistication, and that’s just kind of how Brett plays it, so we thought, “Well, it really would make sense if he’s just the ignored brother who lives in a shed.”
RIKI LINDHOME: And also, why doesn’t he have to do the same duties as the other people? Why doesn’t he live somewhere else? [Laughs.] And the Commodore also has that thing of the lower and upper-class mash-up.
LEGGERO: [As for the courtroom setting of the episode,] I think Riki has seen every Law and Order [laughs], so she was kind of teaching us — and I mean, I don’t watch those shows, so I didn’t really even understand the steps to a trial — Riki was very much trying to school us all in all of the different steps… but yeah, I think that was one of the first things we pitched in the room, that we really wanted Hamish to have a trial.
LINDHOME: One other thing we loved in this episode is Andy Daly [as the prosecutor], because he’s the straight man but he’s not the straight man. His talent for saying things and just pointing out things as they are was really helpful because everyone else in the trial is such a crazy person, but he brought this groundedness to it, and yet, managed to be hilarious in every line.
To prepare for their courtroom debuts, Beatrice shoots cocaine into her eyeballs and later morbidly attempts to feel what it’s like to be hanged. It’s the darkest scene yet for Lindhome’s character.
LINDHOME: I don’t think people shot cocaine into the eyeballs… My memory is very fuzzy on this, but I think [I read] something about shooting drugs into tear ducts. It was probably not real and it probably wasn’t at the turn of the century, so I guess it was my invention.
LEGGERO: But what we liked about it, too, was that Beatrice is just very wild and has this super dark side, so it kind of made sense for her… She has a death wish. It just came from how Beatrice is obsessed with death and wants to see a hanging… She likes it!
Also dark, but not DARK-dark: Peepers’ last day, or supposed last day. The butler plans to confess his murder of Scoops to help exonerate Hamish, but because his confession would lead him to a death sentence, he decides to enjoy his final day. His idea of the perfect last meal? A single ravioli, eaten over the course of three hours.
LINDHOME: [Instead of the ravioli plan], we talked about him polishing his favorite pewter, things like that.
LEGGERO: But we also had him worshipping a shrine he has to Dodo, but then we decided to move that to another episode.
LINDHOME: We did have a long brainstorm about it. What does [Peepers] love? He loves cleaning and Dodo. We wanted him on this journey toward the courtroom.
LEGGERO: I remember we had an idea that we wanted Peepers to be running, but then stop and start cleaning things like windows on his journey. We didn’t have the time to shoot it, so we just got him running.
As always, the latest episode was packed with guest stars, including Perez Hilton as Brussels Sheraton (get it?), a gossip reporter who completely ignores Lillian’s attempt for attention.
LINDHOME: We came up with the character first [before casting Hilton]. Natasha, you’d met him right?
LEGGERO: I had met him before and then I think Guy Branum, one of our writers, came up with the name Brussels Sheraton, because we were talking about Perez Hilton for the part, and that was making us all laugh, so yeah, we reached out to Perez and we were really lucky that his schedule worked out.
Mark Twain (Rich Fulcher) also made a return appearance.
LINDHOME: We just like him. He’s so funny. Everything he says makes us laugh. He was in two episodes last year, and we wanted to find a way to get him in this season, and we just thought he’d be so funny here.
LEGGERO: Comedy Central gives us very few notes, but one of their notes was “more Mark Twain.”
Chair (Christina Hendricks) also gets her revenge — partially, anyway — on Hamish, despite him being freed in the end. Still, Chair’s just getting started as this season’s Big Bad.
LINDHOME: When we were casting her, we wanted to find someone who could play both an innocent and then become the absolute, evil matriarch of the house. We were happy to get someone like Christina.
And in the end, Hamish is freed, but not before the trial completely spirals out of control. Not only is Frederick (Jason Ritter) the worst choice for a judge — though only slightly better than the original judge, who took the Commodore’s bribe to leave — but after Peepers bursts in confessing his crime, Hamish’s harem of supporters (based on the Manson Girls) begin to confess as well, culminating in the lone black attendee to chime in with his confession. Of course, considering race relations in the early 1900s — and the unfortunate relevance to race issues today — he’s arrested for the crime instead of Hamish or Peepers.
LINDHOME: [Instead of this ending,] we also thought about his roommate, [played by] Ron Funches, getting blamed for it.
LEGGERO: I just remember we had a lot of notes. We were trying to figure out the ending, but I feel like that was an early idea for how it ended up. That was to comment on the police officers and really to show that things haven’t changed, and… a hundred years later, we’re still going through the same issues.
LINDHOME: It’s kind of sad, because none of these are inventions. It was what was happening then, and sadly it is what is happening now. Like, we wish it could be like, “Can you believe what used to go on?” Like, that’s how we wish it was, but it’s just not true. And it’s kind of a bummer, but it’s also nice to shine a light on that.
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.