Scandal's Kerry Washington Pregnant: How Past Shows 'Handled' It, Which Ways Work for Olivia
THROW A ‘CURVES’ BALL | Short of writing in an actress’ pregnancy, many a show has simply found another way to account for the character’s “growth spurt.” On How I Met Your Mother, Alyson Hannigan’s Lily dabbled in competitive eating, while Mad Men‘s Betty began stress-eating, ultimately winding up a Weight Watchers client. (See also: Chyler Leigh, Grey’s Anatomy; Jane Leeves, Frasier)
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | True, red wine — Liv’s favorite bev — comes with calories, but we doubt anyone as sensible as she would allow life’s lemons to turn her toward lemon squares.
GET OUT OF DODGE, CHILD! | Back in more puritan times, unplanned pregnancies resulted in a visit to Aunt So-and-So’s, three states away. And while the reasoning may be different, the method sometimes works for present-day TV series — such as when Grey’s Anatomy sent Jessica Capshaw’s Arizona on a trip to Africa and Glee shipped Heather Morris’s Brittany to M.I.T. during the actresses’ pregnancies.
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | Scandal without Olivia Pope? That’s like the Senate without the House of Representatives, or the Kentucky Derby without horses — in other words, unthinkable!
CALL A TIME OUT | A wee one’s arrival date certainly isn’t negotiable, but the shooting schedule — or length — of a TV season actually is. Sex and the City shortened its Season 5 run to just eight episodes when Sarah Jessica Parker found herself in a family way, while Parks and Recreation started shooting Season 3 earlier and faster to accommodate Amy Poehler’s impending bundle.
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? |
Scandal‘s just too big a hit for ABC to consider cutting back its 22-episode order. And unless Shonda Rhimes owns a time machine — which is possible, of course — it’d be hard to get an early start on shooting this season!
TAKE AN ELASTIC (WAISTBAND) APPROACH TO PLOTLINES |Friends‘ Lisa Kudrow, Private Practice‘s Caterina Scorsone, Bones‘ Emily Deschanel and a number of other actresses have had their real-life pregnancies written into their characters’ story arcs. (As the old saying goes if you’ve got it, flaunt it. And by “it,” we mean a full season’s worth of stork-fueled storylines.)
SHOULD SCANDAL’ HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | There are ostensibly two guys in the running toward becoming Liv’s Next Top Baby Daddy. One of them is the President of the United States, so clearly this path would not be lacking in the drama department.
EVERY WHICH WAY THAT’S LOOSE | Sometimes, concealing a pregnancy is as easy as changing one’s signature style. It certainly worked for King of Queens‘ Leah Remini, Ugly Betty‘s Ana Ortiz and Will & Grace‘s Debra Messing.
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | Um, does anyone really want to see TV’s premiere fashionista rocking peasant blouses and muumuus? Didn’t think so.
DIVE OFF THE DEEP END! | Marcia Cross’ Bree faked her own pregnancy on Desperate Housewives, while Days of Our Lives had central character Sami disguise herself as a dude (named Stan!) and hired an actor named Dan Wells to pinch-hit during star Allison Sweeney’s maternity leave.
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | In Shonda we trust! So, in other words, whatever the Lady Rhimes cooks up, we will gladly consume and digest. But we like to think Liv is more sane than Sami.
PHONE A FRIEND | When Jennifer Garner got pregnant, the Alias writing team decided Sydney Bristow should be with child, too. But, in order to continue the show’s break-neck pace and ass-kicking action sequences, they also brought in a new character — played by Rachel Nichols — to juggle some of the more physically strenuous storylines.
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | Harrison could easily step up to lead the Gladiators for a few weeks, no? Or what if John Barrowman’s fixer was suddenly thrust into a leadership position at OPA, as Liv takes a mysterious leave of absence….
BABY? WHAT BABY? | Potted plants, couches, handbags and other assorted belly-hiding objects all come in handy when an actress has a bun in the oven and the show’s writers aren’t hungry for that particular brand of carb. Homeland has managed to ignore the pregnancies of both Emmy winner Claire Danes and Emmy-nominated Morena Baccarin, while Friends did the same with Courteney Cox during its final season. (See also: Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy)
SHOULD SCANDAL ‘HANDLE’ IT THIS WAY? | It’s not like the White House isn’t filled with torso-obstructing furniture. And for a career-woman-on-the-go like Ms. Pope, would an oversized tote really seem out of place? We can practically hear top-shelf designers lining up to place their mondo-sized bags on the show.