Actors have to look the part. That's kind of their whole thing, aside from being able to act, of course. The problem is that sometimes lead actresses gets pregnant... while her character does not. Then what do you do?
Well, if you're the writers and showrunners of these shows, you get inventive. Whether fans can see right through the ruse or whether the storyline is just downright offensive, sometimes these ideas just really do not work at all.
Hiding a pregnant actress behind giant purses is par for the course for Hollywood. However, what about hiding her pregnant belly behind giant guns like The Walking Dead did with Christian Serratos?
What if the baby bump can't be hidden? How about that time Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother and then thought about kidnapping one of the triplets on Friends?
From New Girl sending Jess to jury duty to Cordelia's demon baby on Angel, here are the 15 Awkward Ways TV Shows Hid Actors' Pregnancies.
15 Hiding In Bed Under A Blanket And Jury Duty On New Girl
When Zooey Deschanel became pregnant while starring on FOX's New Girl, the solution was simple. The writers hid the actress's pregnant belly behind a juror's bench, which worked out rather well, actually.
The bench hides Deschanel's stomach rather effectively. However, the show didn't stop there. Jess ended up being sequestered, which meant that Deschanel was absent from the series for several episodes.
Rather than relying on the already established stars to fill in, showrunners brought in Megan Fox to live in Jess' apartment while she was away.
Things were a little silly even before the jury duty began. In the second episode of season 5, Jess takes a bad fall down some stairs. This leads to multiple broken bones and forced her to relax in bed (which hid Deschanel's belly with a blanket) and ride around in a motorized scooter.
14 Sending The Character To Africa On Grey’s Anatomy
Why do so many shows decide that Africa is the answer to all of their absent stars?
When Topher Grace left That '70s Show for movies, Eric Foreman was sent to Africa. When Johnny Galecki was too busy with Big Bang Theory to be an involved father on the Roseanne reboot, David was sent to Africa. Also, when Jessica Capshaw became pregnant while filming Grey's Anatomy, you guessed it, her character, Arizona, was sent to Africa.
Weirdly enough, hiding Capshaw's pregnancy ended up leading to an unexpected pregnancy storyline for the series, just not for the character of Arizona.
While Arizona was in Africa (and Capshaw was on maternity leave), Arizona's wife Callie was unfaithful to her and became pregnant. This led to the couple breaking up after failed attempts at couple's therapy.
13 Pretending To Be Pregnant On Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Hiding a pregnancy is difficult, especially with multiple cameras pointed right at the star who's trying to keep it under wraps.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine bypassed all of the usual issues by just straight up showing Melissa Fumero's pregnant belly on the show. However, the writers added a rather interesting twist.
Fumero's character, Amy, was sent undercover in a women's prison. As part of her disguise, she pretended to be pregnant. This obviously allowed her to just walk around with her natural stomach on full display, without actually affecting the show's storyline in any way.
It also allowed for some awkward grabbing of Fumero's stomach as Jake tried to readjust the pillow that her character was using to look pregnant.
Still, sending a pregnant woman into a prison isn't the best idea, but thankfully it was all just pretend.
12 Writing It Into The Script And Then Giving The Babies Away On Friends
Friends certainly had a unique way of working around Lisa Kudrow's pregnancy in season 4. They wrote it into the show so that they wouldn't have to worry about hiding her stomach.
However, there was a twist. Phoebe Buffay was pregnant, yes, but they weren't her actual children.
The writers created a storyline that saw Pheobe agree to become a surrogate to her brother and his older wife. However, they didn't stop there.
Phoebe ended up pregnant with triplets and became attached to them.
For a second, it seemed as if she was going to refuse to hand them all over before she realized that she had to honor her original agreement.
Oh, and one of the babies was named after Chandler and not Phoebe, so, there's that.
11 Wearing An Actual Fat Suit On Mad Men
Mad Men's Betty Draper was always well-dressed and well-coiffed. She cared very much about her looks and staying thin.
So, when Betty portrayer January Jones became pregnant, the writers decided to put the character through her own personal torment: they made her overweight. The storyline focused on Betty's obsession with her weight gain.
Not only is it kind of offensive to equate a woman's pregnancy with becoming overweight, but it must have been super uncomfortable for Jones physically too.
Instead of trying to minimize her belly under layers of coats and scarves, showrunners bulked Betty up.
Jones was forced to wear a fat suit to make herself look even bigger than she already was. Imagine carrying around baby weight and wearing a fat suit. That sounds absolutely miserable.
10 Using CGI To Edit Out The Belly On House Of Lies
When Kristen Bell became pregnant while starring in House of Lies, the writers didn't bother to change a thing. Her character was just as prominent and romantically active as she had ever been.
Of course, that did make hiding Bell's baby bump a necessity. How did the showrunners of House of Lies keep Bell's pregnant stomach out of the picture? They erased it, literally.
During an interview with Conan O'Brien, Bell revealed that CGI had been used to digitally remove her stomach from her House of Lies scenes.
Bell had to film an embarrassing adult tape for her character while wearing racy lingerie at seven months pregnant. She also had to perform love scenes with co-stars Don Cheadle and Adam Brody.
9 Pointing It Out On How I Met Your Mother
The cast and crew of How I Met Your Mother had three pregnancies to contend with-- two for Alyson Hannigan and one for Colbie Smulders.
As Smulders' character, Robin, was infertile, they definitely had to keep the actor's pregnancy under wraps. This was achieved through loose clothing and hiding behind objects. However, Hannigan's pregnancies allowed a bit more leeway.
For the actress' second pregnancy, they simply wrote it in as Lily being pregnant a second time. However, they had to hide the first one, as it didn't fit the storyline.
Similar tactics were used to hide Hannigan's belly as they were Smulders'. However, the writers were able to have a little more fun with it. In one scene, Lily demolishes an eating contest and triumphantly shows off her "food baby."
8 Writing It Into The Script And Then Writing The Baby Off On Private Practice
When Caterina Scorsone became pregnant while co-starring on Private Practice, the writers wrote it into the storyline. This made it so that Scorsone's belly would not be an issue.
However, they also made sure to write that pregnancy right back out of the storyline in the end.
Scorsone's character, Amelia, . This led to her baby tragically being born without a brain. Amelia dubbed this child her "unicorn baby."
While the character seemed to have worked through her ordeal, a storyline was later written into the show in which Amelia thought that she became pregnant again.
This led to her trauma being dug back up to prove that she hadn't really gotten over her baby's passing.
This is quite a brutal way to get around an actress' pregnancy.
7 Mocking The Character For Being Overweight On Frasier
When Jane Leeves became pregnant while playing Daphne on the long-running comedy series, Frasier, the showrunners had a spectacularly terrible idea.
Daphne gained an uncontrollable addiction to food. The character supposedly ate so much that her weight gain couldn't be hidden from those around her.
The Cranes pointed out her new weight on a constant basis and Daphne eventually went to a "Fat Farm" while Leeves went on maternity leave.
Interestingly enough, this wasn't the first time that NBC tried to equate an actor's pregnancy with becoming overweight.
When Julia Louis-Dreyfus became pregnant while co-starring on Seinfeld, it was also suggested that series write in an "Elaine gets fat" storyline.
Louis-Dreyfus was understandably upset and the plan was scrapped. However, she later wondered if it would have been a good idea.
6 Creating A Bizarre Demon Baby On Angel
Charisma Carpenter's pregnancy on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, Angel, is rumored to have thrown the show into chaos.
Reports say that Carpenter wasn't exactly forthcoming about the news.
Carpenter was allegedly afraid that she would lose her job and tried to hide it as long as possible.
When Joss Whedon discovered the pregnancy, it threw his original plans for season 4 out the window. A storyline that was written that saw Carpenter's character, Cordelia, become pregnant by a demon baby... after sleeping with Angel's son.
Cordelia eventually went into a coma, effectively writing Carpenter off the show without actually cutting out the character. Carpenter returned later for the series finale.
She claimed that Whedon told her that her character wouldn't pass away if she returned. However, the character was, indeed, taken off the show.
5 Putting The Character In A Deep Sleep On Once Upon A Time
Once Upon a Time is well-known for its unique and risky storytelling. Any show that's willing to throw out half of its cast for a "soft reboot" seven seasons into its run is bound to do that.
They took another such leap when Emilie de Ravin became pregnant while filming season 5.
Belle, de Ravin's character, was in fear of losing her baby to Hades after an unfortunate pact was made between the god and her husband, Rumple.
In order to keep her baby from being whisked away, she puts herself under a sleeping spell, à la Sleeping Beauty.
With a premise like that, there was no reason to worry about maternity leave or the actress being further along than the character. The writers took the narrative into their own hands.
4 Filming In The Actress’ Home On Desperate Housewives
Working from home is a luxury that a lot of people strive for. It's not usually an option for actors, though. With on-location shoots and studio sets, stars are usually forced to spend a lot of time in trailers away from home.
However, when Marcia Cross became pregnant with twins during season 3 of the soapy drama Desperate Housewives, all of that changed.
Toward the end of her pregnancy, Cross was put on bed rest. This meant that she couldn't travel to the set to complete her work for the season.
However, that didn't slow down the show one bit. The showrunners simply packed everything up and headed to Cross' house. Two episodes were filmed in the actress' home, which had been made over to look like Bree's home on Wisteria Lane.
This allowed Cross to finish the season while still following doctor's orders.
3 Firing The Actress On Melrose Place
The writers of prime-time soap opera Melrose Place never had to worry about hiding Hunter Tylo's pregnancy because she never actually appeared on the show.
Just a month after Tylo was hired to play a vixen on the show, she told her new employers that she was pregnant. The actress was promptly fired from her role.
Tylo took the matter to court and won.
The jury decided that pregnancy should have no bearing over whether or not a woman could portray a vixen.
It was already against the law to fire a woman for being pregnant, but Tylo is believed to be the first actress to successfully sue for this reason.
Tylo hid her pregnancy with coats during the trial and reportedly surprised the jury when she revealed that she was nine months along.
2 Having The Actress Drop Out Of College And Elope On The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show attempted to retain Denise Huxtable's squeaky clean image after actress Lisa Bonet became pregnant. However, in their desperation to avoid a surprise pregnancy storyline, they made a good girl go bad anyway.
Rumour has it that Bonet's job was on thin ice before she became pregnant.
Bonet had performed in a romantic scene in the movie Angel Heart and then posed without clothing to promote the movie.
The pregnancy was allegedly the last straw for Bill Cosby, who wanted his fictional children's characters to remain pristine.
Cosby allegedly exiled Bonet to the spinoff Different World by sending Denise away to college. The rumor insists that this switch was made due to the adult scenes and photos.
After news of the pregnancy broke, Denise was shipped off to Africa, where a whirlwind romance led to an elopement for the character.
1 Hiding It With Big Guns On The Walking Dead
You would think that it would be difficult to hide an actor's pregnancy on The Walking Dead. Luckily, the writers have several tricks up their sleeves.
When Alanna Masterson became pregnant in season 6, her character Tara wore a lot of baggy clothes and then got lost on a supply run. Things got even more inventive when it came to hiding Christian Serratos' pregnancy.
To hide the Rosita actress' growing stomach, Serratos stopped wearing belly shirts, for starters. She went on runs, hid behind objects, and got injured and had to lay around in the infirmary for a bit.
However, the most inventive-- and somewhat bizarre-- method of hiding her baby bump was to put it behind giant guns. When in the zombie apocalypse, we guess.
Can you think of any other crazy ways that TV shows tried to hide pregnancies? Sound off in the comments!