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. Unfortunately, Leggero was unavailable this week. Below, Lindhome’s thoughts on the eighth episode of the comedy’s second season, “Joplin.”
The Bellacourt girls are finally tackling one of the major touchstone moments that every socialite needs: a failed music career. Lillian and Beatrice call in a Kanye West-ified version of Scott Joplin (played by Cedric the Entertainer) to help them record a song. Lindhome recalled the process of trying to find the right early 20th century musician to make into their mentor.
RIKI LINDHOME: We were just thinking, “Who would be the Kanye West of the time?” And there really weren’t a lot of famous musicians; there were famous composers, but for musicians, there were very few to choose from. And [Joplin] was by far the most popular musician.
And as for casting their Joplin, Cedric the Entertainer’s perfect name for the role was only a plus, on top of his comedic versatility that really impressed Lindhome.
LINDHOME: He just so knows what he’s doing, which was so nice. Cedric’s one of those people where you point the camera at him and and you’re like, “Okay!” He’s hilarious and different every take; he’s just so good that it’s easy.
Elsewhere in the Bellacourt manor, Peepers is having trouble controlling his sexual urges and Dr. Goldberg has married Blanche in order to secure his citizenship after being outed as Canadian. But still, the most troubling thing to occur is Lillian and Beatrice’s shrieky song “Baked Alaska.” But fans of Lindhome’s musical past in Garfunkel and Oates don’t have to fret about more purposefully bad music — the actress teased there is a Garfunkel and Oates-written song in the next episode.
LINDHOME: Interestingly enough, next week there’s a Garfunkel and Oates love duet that we wrote for the show that my character and Jason Ritter’s character sing together. It’s called “F— You in Heaven,” so it’s really romantic. It’s romantic in only the way Garfunkel and Oates can be. Kate [Micucci] would actually come to set and when I wasn’t shooting we’d work on songs up in a room in the mansion.
In classic Kanye fashion, Joplin makes it clear he’s not a fan of the song. And the Kanye comparisons keep on coming when Joplin introduces his Armenian wife, whom he describes as a “talentless beauty” — three guesses who she’s a reference to. The woman is wearing a burqa, which Lindhome says is not actually historically accurate, but played into a joke that wound up getting cut.
LINDHOME: We liked the idea of her being super covered up and then having cleavage. In the original take we’re like, “Why is she wearing that outfit? Is she from a country where women don’t have tongues?” and [Joplin] goes “No, she has allergies.” We had to cut that, but I love that line.
In the episode’s two side stories, sex is king. Dr. Goldberg is (ironically) freaked out by pregnancy and makes Blanche cover herself with a sheet before he’ll consummate their new marriage, and Hamish takes Peepers to a brothel so he can find some release. Michaela Watkins (Casual) portrays the Jersey-accented madam of the brothel who teaches Peepers about masturbation, and Lindhome says she also added a number of her own lines to the scene.
LINDHOME: The whole scene where Michaela is introducing the prostitutes, she improvised that entire thing. The only thing she really had in that scene was being like, “Oh, nobody calls me madam.”
Things seem to have worked out for Dr. Goldberg and Peepers, but Lillian is enraged to learn her chihuahua, Mayor Cutie, has replaced her on Joplin’s new song and shot to fame instead of her. After an embarrassing failed attempt to upstage Mayor Cutie at Joplin’s concert, Lillian viciously attacks her own dog: punching and strangling her until the tiny pup dies. The scene is shocking and ridiculous as is, but Lindhome says the original version was a lot darker.
LINDHOME: The scene was, I would say, 5 times darker than it is. Natasha and I made a version that we thought was incredibly funny, but we couldn’t get it past the censors… so we had to pull it back to maybe about 30 or 40 percent of what it actually was. In the original scene, you actually see Cutie’s dead body on the bed. In the show you can see it’s a stuffed animal, but in the original scene we did not have any shots where you could tell it was a stuffed animal. It took the scene from “Holy s—, they’re doing this!?” to “Oh, it’s light…” In [the censors’] defense it was really, really dark; I guess I’d be surprised if it did get through. It was a lot more punching, a lot more shots of the dog laying there, and those shots were quick enough where there was no real sense that it was not a real animal.
Don’t worry, dog lovers — the episode ends with a disclaimer that Mayor Cutie, who is actually Leggero’s dog in real life, was in no way harmed during the filming process.
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.