In the spirit of spring, where it’s not only rabbits who are at it like rabbits, and every woman in the world suddenly appears to be drinking decaf and eating everything in sight, I thought I’d bring our attention to babies, and pregnancy.
In no particular order, here are some pregnant people/parents in TV land.
Almost every teen show has a pregnancy storyline. A lot of the time, it turns out to be a false alarm, and TV producers and writers across the land can sleep soundly, knowing that they ‘taught’ a few kids that sex is bad.
Glee, for all it’s wonderful silliness and scary enthusiasm, did deal with how Quinn was treated as a young mother. She felt irritated and angry, she was dropped from the Cheerios squad (duh, pregnant girls can’t fit on top of the pyramid) rejected by her friends, and generally went from top of the school to bottom of the pile.
Pregnancy actually made Quinn a much nicer character, she was more caring towards others, and was careful to adapt her eating habits and generally look after the little alien growing inside her. (For a great example of what Pregnant Quinn was all about, check out her performance of ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’).
The only problem I have with season two of Glee is that Quinn’s back to being her old manipulative bitchy self. Okay, she’s slightly better, but she’s still all about being Prom Queen and being top of the school. You’d think the whole baby thing would have given her some perspective.
Charlotte (Sex and the City)
Bless Charlotte, with her desperate desire to have a family. With her first husband, she pretty much would have just settled for getting laid once in a while.
With her second husband, it was not the act that was the problem, it was the lack of consequence. So, Charlotte and Harry can’t have kids, and go through all the issues of trying to adopt, which they eventually do.
I really did feel for Charlotte, and one of the best things about the Sex and the City Movie was seeing a pregnant Charlotte, especially when she goes into labour whilst screaming at Big. Way to channel that anger.
Monica and Chandler (Friends)
This storyline drove me nuts, because I felt it really ripped off Sex and the City. Apparently, having a baby conventionally is too boring for a TV show that is desperate for excitement and higher ratings.
So Monica, baby mad as she is, finally gets the guy, the marriage and the husband ready to have babies. And irony of ironies, they can’t conceive. Watching these shows at around the same time suddenly made me feel the whole world was living really unhealthy lifestyles and absolutely everyone was infertile.
And then I used to get up and go into school and see that was clearly not the case.
So yeah, they go through a variety of awkward situations, considering sperm donors and adoption, and finally settle on adopting directly from a young pregnant woman named Erica, who is pretty much the female Joey. In last episode, Erica has twins which they name ‘Jack’ (after Monica’s father) and ‘Erica’. Inventive. I really just…didn’t buy this storyline. But I’d kind of gone off Friends by that point, it had got a bit too orange-looking, with a bit too much canned laughter for my taste.
Sydney Bristow (Alias)
There’s nothing quite like seeing a heavily pregnant woman kicking some ass. Especially when she still dresses up in the crazy cool outfits and gets information by beating the crap out of people.
Sydney dealt with finding out she was pregnant, then getting in a car crash where her fiance was killed (but not really, duh, it’s J.J Abrams). She then carries on fighting crime as she gets bigger and bigger, and more wobbly. Eventually, she has the baby, finds out that her fiance is still alive, and goes off to kick more ass, a lot more easily. Sydney has at least figured out the easiest way to lose that baby-weight…
Run off to Italy to kill your old boss.
Lisa Cuddy (House)
Cuddy tried a series of IVF injections, administered by House (symbolism, anyone?) which all failed, and then the first time she tried to adopt, the mother decided to keep the baby.
Her second attempt at adoption came through, a little girl named Rachel, who looks weirdly like her adoptive mother. When House and Cuddy finally started a romantic relationship, Rachel became an issue. Whilst Cuddy could easily deal with House’s self-obsession, childish antics and constant need to win at everything, she was worried about providing a constant father figure for her daughter.
House and Rachel do bond, even though Rachel seems rather dumb. House likes her because she doesn’t rat him out to Cuddy when he does something bad, which is exactly what you want in a four year old accomplice.
Cheryl (The Wire)
Cheryl is Kima Greggs’s partner, who has artificial insemination to provide them with a baby. Except, uh oh, Kima wasn’t really sure she wanted to be a parent, and just didn’t want to disappoint her partner. Bit late for that.
Kima’s jealousy of the baby boy, as well as the fact that she doesn’t really feel connected, means she starts taking extra shifts, staying out late, and generally being a Jimmy McNulty two point zero. She sleeps around. A lot.
Eventually, they have a bit of a chat about it, and Cheryl’s left to deal with motherhood all alone. She seems to move on though, and is happy with a new partner a few seasons later. Kima gets relegated to the role of ‘Aunt’ and is happier like that. She was never a house cat, after all.
Joan Harris (Mad Men)
I pretty much just added her because I like looking at pictures of her.
But no, Joan Harris, whilst her husband is away in Vietnam, ends up shagging good old (very old) boss Roger Sterling. (It wasn’t her fault, they were mugged, she was scared…and yeah, great conception story). Anyway, she plans to terminate the pregnancy, as she has a few times before, but then thinks it will ruin her chances of ever conceiving with her husband. So, she decides to keep it, and hope that her doctor husband isn’t very good at counting. He isn’t. So, all’s well that ends well. I’m looking forward to seeing a pregnant Joan next season. Seeing someone whose primary power lies in their sex appeal will be very interesting when faced with motherhood.
Oh, there’s also Peggy Olsen, whose first sexual encounter was with her married colleague Pete, resulting in pregnancy- which she didn’t realise. She just thought she’d gotten fat. She ends up giving birth, her sister adopts the child as her own, and she never really thinks about it again. Until Pete’s wife has a baby a few years later, and she feels a little sad about it. I hope the storyline returns, it’s fascinating.
Zoe and Wash (Firefly)
There was no pregnancy here, but there should have been! The closest we got was Wash and Zoe talking about it, where Wash was concerned that living as they did, it wasn’t the best time. Zoe’s excellent response was ‘I’m not so scared of losing something that I’m not going to try to have it.’
Sadly, Wash died in the Serenity movie, but we can always hope that in Joss Whedon’s head, Zoe was already pregnant by that point. And if anyone knows about kooky pregnancy storylines, it’s Whedon.