Prime Video on Friday dropped (just) the first two episodes of the Emmy-winning comedy’s COVID-delayed (and penultimate!) fourth season. Much of the action in the opening hours focused on the emotional and financial fallout from Rachel Brosnahan’s titular comedienne getting unceremoniously dumped by world tour-bound Shy Baldwin at the end of Season 3.
Below, series creator and exec producer Amy Sherman-Palladino and fellow EP Daniel Palladino field our burning questions about Episodes 1 and 2.
TVLINE | How would you describe the theme of Season 4?
AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO | It’s revenge and anger, which I find is one of the best motivators in life. Rarely does puppies and kittens move you as much as pure blind rage.
TVLINE | In the premiere, a tree branch-wielding Midge took some of that blind rage out on a gorgeous vintage taxi cab. Walk me through the negotiations between your props department and the owner of that priceless antique.
AMY | [Laughs] Our brilliant props guy Jose [Pavon] handled that. I guess it’s all about the Benjamins, baby. The more she hit it, the more Benjamins came out of Jose’s pocket. I took the cash register sound out every time the branch hit the car. I don’t know what the paint job looked like the next day. I don’t want to know. Don’t ask don’t tell. I just turned my back and walked away.
TVLINE | Was that a real branch?
AMY | Yes. We had to use a real branch, because of the weight and everything. We had a fake one made, but it kind of drooped because it was rubber.
TVLINE | Midge inviting her parents to live with her again — what was emotionally driving that decision? On the surface, it would seem like that would be a nightmare for her…
AMY | Don’t forget, when the series started Midge wanted to be near her parents. Her whole thing was like, “I’m in the same building as my mom. My mom is my best friend.” And although there’s a side to her that has definitely moved away from that, Midge is still somebody who is very, very tied to aspects of her old life. She still holds onto the little fairytale myth that those were the happy times. I think that she also, in her independence and growing up, wanted to sort of be the person that gathered the family back together again. It made her feel important and in charge to be able to be the one to say, “And now I’ll take care of you.”
TVLINE | Will Midge’s nostalgia trip extend to her ex-husband this season?
AMY | If you shot Midge up with sodium pentothal, she will always say the happiest she ever was was when her life was simple and she was married and she lived in that apartment with Joel and the kids. Wherever she ends up, that will always be with her. And that’s what we always wanted to play with Midge. There were always two sides to her: There was the ultra-ambitious side that was saying, “Go for it! Burn bridges!” And then there’s the other side saying, “Your life would be sweet and simple if you went back to where you were.” That push and pull is what makes Midge interesting.
TVLINE | Susie miraculously was able to escape that labyrinth financial mess she found herself in with regard to Midge’s money. Is that issue really resolved?
AMY | Susie’s gonna be terrible with money for the rest of her life.
DAN | Money just always flies out of her hands. But we don’t see her falling on super hard times ever, because she’s ambitious and she’s smart.
TVLINE | The Ferris Wheel sequence continues your tradition of ambitious set pieces. How complicated was it to shoot that? I assume you recreated the individual cars on a soundstage for the close-ups?
DAN PALLADINO | Yes. It was quite a feat figuring out the direction of each car.
AMY | You have no idea the models and the arguments and the debates we had…
DAN | The cast had to do that scene over 100 times.
AMY | It was a full day of everybody screaming at each other and rotating from in and out from different angles. It was pretty crazy.
TVLINE | When you are in the thick of shooting these complex scenes, are you getting off on it? Or are you regretting ever coming up with the idea?
AMY | I’m speed dialing therapists the whole day.
DAN | We both kind of toggle between joy and despair. You don’t know if it’s going to work until weeks and weeks and weeks later and they’re edited together and you see all the effects put in. Only then do you know if it’s gonna work. [Before that] it’s all speculation and trusting people — and we’re not very trusting.
AMY | We trust no one.
DAN | This one worked out better than we originally thought.
TVLINE | Are you having to rally the cast at the same time you’re navigating the logistics of it all?
DAN | This cast does not need rallying.
AMY | The crazier the better. They get off on it. There’s nothing more that they love than something that seems completely mental and there’s no way it could possibly work. They love that s–t. And that’s why we love them.