Knocked Up: When TV Characters Get Pregnant…

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When an actress gets pregnant – what happens to her character? 

Television shows have come up with all kinds of creative ways to deal with the problem of a main character’s obviously expanding waistline.

Some use baggy clothes and shooting angles to cover it up, others write in a storyline about weight gain and many take a more direct route and decide to write pregnancy into the plot. It’s a classic case of art imitating life.

Here are some of our favorite actresses whose pregnancies were intertwined with their characters’ on-screen lives.

Lisa Kudrow – Friends

Lisa Kudrow’s real-life pregnancy was written into the 4th and 5th season of the hit sitcom Friends. However, instead of having the actress’ character Phoebe give birth to a baby of her own, the writers crafted a storyline where she became the surrogate mother to her brother’s triplets.

Emily Deschanel – Bones

When actress Emily Deschanel announced her pregnancy, the writers found a way to combine Deschanel’s real life news and her alter-ego’s storyline.  

(Guess who the daddy is?)

That’s why in Season 7 of Bones (available on DVD October 9th), Brennan tackles her most challenging role yet – that of a first-time mother.

Jennifer Garner – Alias

When Jennifer Garner was pregnant with her first child, Violet, the pregnancy was worked into the final season of Alias, making Sydney Bristow one super spy with a bun in the oven.

Alyson Hannigan – How I Met Your Mother

During her first pregnancy, Alyson Hannigan’s character wore oversized clothes and made no mention of her growing belly.  The producers did, however, put her nearly fully grown baby belly on display after Hannigan’s How I Met Your Mother character, Lily, won a hot dog eating contest.

(That’s a lot of hot dogs)

Then when Alyson Hannigan became pregnant with her second child, her character was already expecting so the writers didn’t really have to change much of the story line.  Talk about perfect timing!

Molly Ringwald – The Secret Life of the American Teenager

In this show about a high schooler who gives birth to a little boy, Molly Ringwald plays the teen mom’s mom. So what happened when she announced that she was pregnant with twins? The news was worked into the storyline as part of her decision to leave her husband.

Jenna Fischer – The Office

Life certainly imitated art when Jenna Fischer announced she was expecting first child with her husband, Lee Kirk.  Fischer, who plays Pam in The Office, was already scheduled to give birth to a second child in the show after Pam and Jim had a little Valentine’s Day lovin’. 

(Waiting for Baby Halpern)

The story line was already in place and but it was only when Fischer shot the episode did she find out she was really preggers.

Mary McCormack – In Plain Sight

On the USA Network’s “In Plain Sight,” the ever-scowling U.S. Marshal, Mary Shannon, (Mary McCormack) softened in preparation of her on-screen baby which coincided with the real life actress’s pregnancy. McCormack admitted it was slightly unsettling as she found out she was pregnant just days before she was scheduled to begin shooting the series for the season.

January Jones – Mad Men

The writers of Mad Men took a different route when January Jones announced her pregnancy. Instead of making her character, Betty Draper, pregnant, Jones made her character fat by creating a story line about a tumor in her thyroid.  

(Even in the midst of a health crisis, she has perfect hair.)

A fat suit was brought in to cover Jones’ bump and perpetuate the “fat” character arch in the season.

 

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