Another Period: Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome on whether Beatrice is actually smart
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 (emailed) thoughts on the seventh episode of the comedy’s second season, “Einstein.”
The Harvard men take center stage at the Bellacourt mansion, but only a Princeton man catches Beatrice’s eye: Albert Einstein himself. After trying to impress the Commodore, the Commodore turns the tables and attempts to impress Einstein with his magnets, thinking the Swiss scientist will want to see his booming magnet business and his plans to have everyone purchase a magnet for their refrigerators.
NATASHA LEGGERO AND RIKI LINDHOME: There actually weren’t that many figures who were famous in 1903 that we still recognize today, and it seemed like that would be a fun character to put opposite Beatrice. Plus, we loved the idea of the literal smartest person in the world playing opposite one of the dumbest characters on our show, Frederick being tied with Beatrice for that distinction.
Not that the Harvard men didn’t get their moment to shine, of course. Frederick’s gang of turn-of-the-century bros rejected Lillian’s offer to sleep with any one of them — her plot in the episode followed her as she searched for a condom, which she learned about from Hortense, which in turn would help her with her raging need to have sex — and also shamed Beatrice when she showed she was smart enough to solve Einstein’s equation. Casting the group wasn’t much of an issue for Leggero or Lindhome.
LEGGERO: We got exactly who we wanted [to show] in Frederick’s little bro gang. Riki had previously worked with [actor and comedians] Samm Levine and Erik Charles Nielsen, so we knew they were great. The other guys were cast because they’d both originally auditioned for the role of FDR, and we loved their tapes so much we wanted them in the show.
While Lillian was away trying to buy a condom from Duane Reade (guest star Joss Whedon, in a turn worthy of a double take), Beatrice blows Einstein’s mind, telling him about her theory for where thoughts come from, a complete 180 from the idiocy she’d shown before. Leggero and Lindhome’s theory on whether she really is smart? Well…
LEGGERO AND LINDHOME: Beatrice is definitely an idiot, but she’s also an idiot savant. In every day matters, she’s not a smart person at all, but there’re moments of mathematical brilliance that shine through. They do shock people in her family, though, so she tries to hide them.
Still, Beatrice delivered dialog she never had to before — which meant Lindhome took on the task of wrapping her tongue around cascades of mathematical and philosophical terminology she hadn’t yet had to do for the role.
LINDHOME: I actually didn’t need that many takes because I worked so hard on memorizing that paragraph. For weeks I would say it to myself throughout the day, just so I could get it out when we got to filming and not worry about it on the day. It was such a mouthful that I really wanted to be ready.
Lindhome also had one more challenge for the scene:
LEGGERO: Riki was on roller skates the entire time, but she’s not naturally a great skater, so there had to be a stunt coordinator with her to catch her as she went down the hallways.
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.