Co-creator Maria Ferrari tells TV Insider laughter "didn't feel appropriate" for Thursday's emotional premiere, which had to be rewritten and re-shot after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan following the United States' pullout in mid-August. “When we first began to write, we said, ‘We’re not writing jokes, so just take that piece out of the equation,'” Ferrari tells TVLine. “And then as the script came together, we said (to fellow executive producer Chuck Lorre), ‘It doesn’t sound like this one is going to have a laugh track.'" Lorre pointed out that this was the first time in his career that one of his multi-camera sitcoms hadn’t featured any audience laughter whatsoever. “He was like, ‘All right, you’ve invented a new format,'" says Ferrari. In addition, there won't be a B or C story to balance out the main story. "I don’t think we ever entertained the idea of a historic cutaway because the whole idea was to capture a process of waiting and being single-mindedly focused so I think to give the audience a break, it felt like a cheat to us," says Ferrari. Fellow co-creator David Goetsch adds: "The first stage was us sitting around a snap and counting the timeline and what would be the corresponding scenes or actions that might happen with Riley and Al and Hassina. It was almost like a documentary first stage to it, in my opinion, and then at some point, we had to be like 'OK, how do we make this an episode?'" Ferrari says writing the season premiere proved to be a challenge because "there was a lot of news and a lot of contradictory news, like the AP’s version of events didn’t always match the press that was coming through here. So the first thing they had to do was figure out, OK, what actually happened? You were sort of choosing things that were meaningful to our writers that they wanted to include and that they wanted to see. We tried to build one that felt the most emblematic for us of what that experience felt like."