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 sixth episode of the comedy’s second season, “Servant’s Disease.”
A presumed typhoid outbreak among the Bellacourt servants has led to their quarantine. Initially, Lillian is unsympathetic — more concerned with her subpar crème brûlée than the welfare of those who made it for her — but she changes her tune when she hears that helping the sick servant’s could get her publicity from reporter Brussels Sheraton (Perez Hilton). This leads to her serving gruel through a glass wall fitted with rubber gloves, a contraption that Leggero says solved a difficult filming problem.
NATASHA LEGGERO: It was actually very hard to orchestrate. I’d say right after going down Niagara Falls in a barrel and having diarrhea off the side of a hot air balloon, that was probably the hardest thing to film and to conceive, because we couldn’t figure out how it was going to work. But our set person is so talented and props built this amazing contraption. I think it’s actually what you handle babies in, in the [time period].
Unfortunately, the contraption doesn’t hold up and Lillian is exposed to the disease. Meanwhile, Beatrice has traveled to Washington, D.C. to set up a double date with Frederick and Celery, alongside her new arranged beau Dick. After Celery and Dick exit the dinner for a walk, Beatrice happily reconnects with her dopey twin brother/lover.
RIKI LINDHOME: Writing for Frederick is one of the most fun things to do because [Jason Ritter] can kind of pull off any line. We’ll write a line and go, “Is that too stupid for someone to pull off?” and then we’ll go, “No, Jason can pull it off.” And it’s always this discussion of how dumb to make Frederick’s character, how far do we go with it? But then we just always lean into it and he can always somehow make it work.
Frederick definitely gets goofy, but he and Beatrice also get romantic in a steamy bathtub sex scene. According to Leggero and Lindhome, Frederick and Beatrice’s sex scene was heavily censored.
LINDHOME: The sex scene had to be highly censored. It was like cut in half.
LEGGERO: It’s really weird for our show because we’re rarely ever censored and we rarely get notes.
LINDHOME: There’s something about that sex scene that they wanted to cut down. It used to be hilariously raunchy. There was a lot more bouncing and a lot less bubbles before, but you know, what are you going to do?
Things are much less romantic for Lillian, who’s commiserating with her fellow quarantined servant’s at Bellacourt manner. In an incredibly rare moment of humanity, Lillian actually begins to bond with her servants, including the adorably despondent young Ethanine.
LEGGERO: We had this idea that [that scene] was going to be like The Breakfast Club.
LINDHOME: Ethanine, the child actor, was just so good. We’re always worried about a kid actor — like if they’re going to play the comedy and the emotional reality of the scene — and she was just awesome. We were so impressed with her.
In an effort to polish their vocal chops, Victor, Albert, and their third barbershop trio member played by Thomas Lennon trek down into the quarantine area to perform for the afflicted. When Ethanine attempts a heart-wrenching rendition of “Amazing Grace,” the three men respond with heckles and critiques — it’s also the sole moment of improv in the episode, and exemplifies the mean energy that Leggero loves about the cast of her show.
LINDHOME: The only time we did improv was the barbershop trio because we actually had time to film that scene, so they had a lot of fun improving.
LEGGERO: What I love about our cast is, you know people like Tom Lennon and Brian Huskey, we’re all so good at being mean. David Koechner, Paget Brewster… I feel like pretty much the thing our cast has in common, except maybe for Armen [Weitzman] who plays Garfield, is the ability to be mean.
During her husband’s romantic encounter with his sister, Celery is having an affair of her own with Beatrice’s date Dick. Celery and Dick could’ve probably used a bathtub after their sex scene, which involved Celery getting pushed into a true and force-fed dirt. In the original concept, though, that rough, dirty sex scene would have involved Beatrice and Frederick instead.
LEGGERO: We called it “dirt f—ing.” We couldn’t decide if we wanted them to do that or not because we definitely wanted it to be a contrast [with Frederick and Beatrice’s sex scene], and Jeremy Konner, who’s our director but also in the writers’ room, really wanted Beatrice and Frederick to be having the really hardcore sex, and then the other two are very romantic. So we kind of went back and forth on that, and I think what we landed on was the funniest.
In the end, Beatrice rejoices that she can stay with Dick while still screwing Frederick, and Lillian is elated to learn that the supposed typhoid outbreak was actually just food poisoning. Comfortably back in the lap of luxury, it seems like Lillian may have actually learned to be kind when she offers Ethanine a bowl of gruel, but of course, in classic Lillian fashion, she decides to keep the food for herself instead. The last-minute selfishness seems perfectly in line with Lillian’s character, but the original concept actually had the spoiled heiress offering up the bowl without changing her mind.
LINDHOME: I remember in the first iteration of the script, the final thing was [Lillian] giving her the gruel. It was in the outline like that, and then as we were writing we were like, no. Lillian and Beatrice shouldn’t ever really change. They should look like they’re going to change, but these are not people who can grow.
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.