Today we talked to Logan Hill of Los Angeles Magazine about his article “Fire in the Belly,” in which he explores the strategies utilized by TV execs when faced with a pregnant actress. From Lucille Ball to Kerry Washington, it is a challenge as old as, well, television. Listen to the segment here.
We thought this was such a great topic that we decided to compile our own list of amusing TV/real life pregnancies.
Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother
No one ever accused the writers of How I Met Your Mother of lacking comedic creativity. So it is not surprising that when Alyson Hannigan, who played Lily Aldrin on the show, became pregnant, they took it as chance to be original. Rather than hiding or disguising the bump, they enter Lily in a hot dog eating contest. Her character won with the impressive feat of 29 dogs and had the “food baby” to show for it.
Courtney Cox as Monica, Friends
During the final season of friends, (which now aired over a decade ago. Do you feel old yet?) Courtney Cox and ex-husband, David Arquette, were expecting their daughter, Coco. Considering Monica and Chandler’s storyline revolved around their lack of fertility, the Friends writers thought it best to hide Cox’s growing bump. They did so somewhat successfully using the classic technique of large objects, baggy shirts and long scarves. However, seeing as Coco was a highly anticipated celebrity baby, most fans could see through the smoke and mirrors.
Jane Leeves as Daphne, Frasier
When Jane Levees became pregnant, Frasier’s writers took a somewhat offensive angle to deal with her increasing bump. Her character, Daphne, suffered increasing weight gain, which became the butt of many jokes such as her being unable to get up after falling and blowing up like a balloon in one scene. The gag culminates in her leaving for three episodes to attend a “fat camp,” wherefrom she returns looking like her slender self. She is said to have lost “nine pounds, twelve ounces” – the weight of her baby in real life. Ba-dumm-tshhhh.
Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If you're a fan of the show, you know that Katlin Olson’s character in Always Sunny is one of the last people who should ever become a mother. When Olson and husband/costar Rob McElhenney were expecting their first child in 2010, the pregnancy was written into the show, however Dee was a surrogate rather than a mother-to-be. Though the rest of the gang is initially unaware of who the father is, she eventually reveals that she is acting as a surrogate for Carmen, a transsexual character. The season six episode in which she has the baby, titled “Dee gives birth,” is dedicated to Olson and McElhenney’s real life son, Axel Lee McElhenney.
January Jones as Betty Draper, Mad Men
When January Jones became pregnant before filming season four of Mad Men, the show decided it wasn’t a good time for her character to do the same. Much like Daphne in Frasier (but with less laughs), Jones’ character Betty gains quite a bit of weight. They even exaggerated Jones’ size, adding prosthetics to her face and a fat suit to her torso. Betty finds out in the third episode – when she tries to obtain prescription diet pills -- that she has a nodule on her thyroid which is causing the weight gain.
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock
Jane Krakowski’s character on 30 Rock was constantly showcasing her wide range of narcissistic, albeit hilarious, delusions. When Krakowski announced her pregnancy in January of 2011, fans were terrified that Jenna would actually become pregnant, bringing shame to the role of motherhood everywhere. Fortunately, they chose to hide it in other ways. In one episode Jenna dons a giant, furry dog costume whilst being walked in the park by her cross-dressing boyfriend. In another, Jenna entertains the idea that having a baby would help her career (though almost every other character loudly voices their opposition) and wears a “fake” baby bump in several shots.