Kerry Washington Is Pregnant! The 4 Classic TV Methods of Handling Pregnancy
Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC    


Kerry Washington Is Pregnant! The 4 Classic TV Methods of Handling Pregnancy

Big news for fans of Kerry Washington, Scandal, and perfect pants suits: The stylish star is pregnant!

While this is incredible news for Kerry, a pregnancy is the last thing Olivia Pope needs in her life right now. Will Scandal incorporate Kerry's growing baby bump to up the drama — as if the plot needs more problems for the world's best fixer — or will it go down the time-honored path of trying to cover it up?

We've taken a look at the various classic ways other shows have handled their stars' pregnancies, and speculated about which route Scandal is likely to take.

The Cover Up

Often TV writers already know where they want their characters to go, and it's not towards motherhood. The solution? Flowy shirts, tricky camera angles, and as a last resort, sticking the actress behind boxes and tables whenever possible. Sometimes this works well — despite knowing of Sarah Drew’s pregnancy during Grey's Anatomy Season 8, we never noticed her baby bump on-screen — and sometimes, er, not so much. Some classic bad examples include Marcia Cross on Desperate Housewives and Deborah Messing on Will & Grace.

On Scandal? We'd put this as the number one most likely method of dealing with Kerry's pregnancy. After going through this with about half the female cast of Grey's Anatomy, showrunner Shonda Rhimes is an expert at keeping off-screen pregnancies off the screen, and while Olivia's perfectly tailored outfits don't offer as much flexibility as hospital scrubs, we're sure they could find a way to make it work.

The Plot Twist

On the other hand, sometimes writers just throw their hands in the air, say "screw it," and write the pregnancy into the show… to mixed results. Bones fans have Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy to thank for Brennan's on-screen baby, Friends cleverly had Phoebe act as a surrogate to explain her pregnancy without weighing the character down with a kid long term, and Alias shoehorned Jennifer Garner's pregnancy into a spy-world where it didn't belong. Seriously, the list could go on and on.

On Scandal? This is the second most likely option, in our opinion. An unexpected pregnancy could be just the thing to throw a wrench into all of Olivia's plans, just as she's finally starting to recover from the fallout of her affair with Fitz almost being revealed.

The Cut Season

Sometimes, rather than attempt an unsightly cover up or work the pregnancy into the story, a show will literally cut a season short before the baby bump gets too big. The classic example is Sex and the City, which shortened a season when Sarah Jessica Parker was pregnant. More recently, True Blood Season 6 was only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12 because of Anna Paquin's pregnancy.

On Scandal? Unlikely. This method can work if the pregnancy comes near the end of a season, but it's still early in the TV year, and Scandal runs for 20+ episodes. We can't see this method being effective unless the show were to drop a huge chunk of the season, which would be a waste.

The "Fat" Excuse

Hey, just because a woman is getting larger doesn't mean she's got a baby on board! Some shows acknowledged an actress's weight gain, but make up a different excuse, from Lily's hotdog bing on How I Met Your Mother to Betty's misery induced weight gain on Mad Men (which actually required January Jones to wear prosthetics, because let's be real, she looked slender even while pregnant).

On Scandal? Unlikely. There's no way Olivia Pope would let her diet and exercise routine go.

How do you think Scandal should handle Kerry's pregnancy? Sound off in the comments below!

Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!