Why ‘Roseanne’ Wrote Laurie Metcalf’s Pregnancy Into Jackie’s Storyline

While many TV shows opt to hide an actor’s baby bump with costumes or props, others opt for a more realistic route. Despite its strange final season, Roseanne often went for realism, as it did when the writers wrote Laurie Metcalf’s pregnancy into her character Jackie’s storyline. 

Jackie from ‘Roseanne’ and actor Laurie Metcalf were pregnant together

In the popular show, Roseanne’s sister, Jackie, had recently broken up with her abusive boyfriend, Fisher. She sleeps with a man, Fred, which results in her pregnancy. After the pair split up, she eventually raises their son, Andy, by herself.

Offscreen, Metcalf was married to Matt Roth, who portrayed Fisher. The two actors fell in love on set. They welcomed their own child, Will, in 1993, and the pregnancy was written into the show. According to Closer Weekly, the writers chose to do this so they wouldn’t have to cover up the actor’s pregnancy. 

‘Roseanne’ got around showing her pregnancy in one episode

Laurie Metcalf Roseanne
“A Stash from the Past” – Season Six – 10/5/93, A bag of pot found in Roseanne’s (Roseanne Barr) house turns out to be from their youth. Laurie Metcalf (Jackie) also stars., (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Jackie’s pregnancy was revealed after Metcalf began showing. So the show did have to try and hide it in a few places. Mental Floss points to the episode “Stash from the Past,” in which Jackie indulges in quite a bit of marijuana. In this episode, she spends most of her time in the bathtub to make the actor’s baby bump less obvious.

Apparently, this required some creativity on the part of the writers. “ABC did not want us to show Laurie Metcalf in the scene where they smoke marijuana,” writer Kevin Abbott told Cinema Blend. “She was a critical element of the scene, so we wound up putting her in the bathtub and hiding her behind the shower curtain until she revealed herself.”

He added, “We got a lot of good jokes out of that. It actually enhanced that scene.”

Roseanne Barr was also pregnant during the show

Like Jackie, Roseanne also gets pregnant due to the actor’s real-life pregnancy. The character, Roseanne Conner, has three children already, but finds herself pregnant in season 7, not long after Jackie has her son. 

A few months after her character announced that she was pregnant, Barr herself let the world know that she was expecting a child of her own with her husband, Ben Thomas. The slight time difference explains why the character was pregnant for over a year on the show. Barr continued filming the show, putting out just two episodes to start season 8 and then taking a break to have her son, Buck. Meanwhile, Roseanne later gives birth to a son named Jerry Garcia, in honor of the Grateful Dead singer who had died a short time before. 

Interestingly, while season 8 was supposed to be the last for Roseanne, according to a Buffalo News article from the time, the show continued into another season, with yet another pregnancy taking the spotlight. This time, Roseanne’s daughter, Darlene, has a child. The short-lived revival and spinoff series, The Conners, also brought more pregnancies for its characters.

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