‘The Office’ Hid Jenna Fischer’s Pregnancy With the Easiest Hack on TV
Television shows — especially successful ones — can span many years, leaving show executives some tricky obstacles to maneuver when cast members have major life changes. Creativity is at the center of the work, of course, and these show runners are able to find some pretty impressive ways to work around things like losing a lead star or even replacing a character completely.
One major shift that several shows have had to deal with is an actor becoming pregnant while filming. When the actor is expecting, the show has to decide whether to write the pregnancy into the plot or somehow hide it from the viewers at home in order to not disrupt the narrative.
This is the decision that the creators of The Office had to make when Jenna Fischer announced her real-life pregnancy.
Jenna Fischer played Pam Beesly on ‘The Office’
From the moment Fischer auditioned for the part of Pam Beesly on the comedy The Office, she knew it was the right part for her. “I am literally the only person who should play this part. This is mine,” the actor remembers thinking as she tried out.
Fischer dug deep into her own frustrations and perceived failures to find the motivation to portray some of Pam’s most heartfelt moments. She had been trying to break into the acting world for years and had just about given up when her managers convinced her not to quit just yet and to give The Office a try.
On top of that, Fischer had a real-life relationship with the actor who portrayed her on-screen beau Roy, and their breakup scene tapped into some “dark” emotions.
Obviously, the decision to stick with acting changed everything. Fischer earned an Emmy nomination for her work on the critically-acclaimed series and has since gone on to many other projects in both film and television.
Jenna Fischer hid her pregnancy at first
Fischer’s real-life relationship status had some ups and downs. She had a seven-year marriage to James Gunn that ended amicably in 2007. After the pair split, Fischer found love again with screenwriter Lee Kirk.
Kirk and Fischer met when they were both working on a movie project, and they soon settled down and got married. Not long after her wedding to Kirk, Fischer found out she was pregnant.
At first, she tried to keep the pregnancy a secret from the rest of the cast on The Office. As Vulture reports, Fischer took on a diva persona in order to make wardrobe demands that would help hide her growing belly.
“And then one day we came back from a hiatus and I knew I wasn’t going to fit into my shirt, so I went out to J.Crew and I bought my own shirt and brought it to work that morning,” Fischer explained when her plans started going awry.
Her co-stars were confused, and it wasn’t long after before Fischer had to spill the beans. At that point, the writers had a decision to make.
Jenna Fischer’s pregnancy was hidden in the easiest way
There are only so many options when it comes to keeping a pregnancy concealed on a television show. Does the character take a hiatus? Are they only shown from the torso up? Do you position them behind a well-placed mattress?
For the creators of The Office, there was a simpler answer. They wrote it in that Pam would be pregnant as well. By that point in the plot, Pam and Jim already had a child named Cece, but fans weren’t at all upset by the idea that the fictional family would be growing.
As SheKnows reports, the timing worked out perfectly. “Pam and Jim snuck away last season on Valentine’s Day, and they had sex. The story is that they conceived this baby at that time and were keeping it a secret until we come back from the summer,” Fischer revealed.