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WandaVision: The Sitcom Influences of Episode 3

Believe it or not, television sitcoms tried not to acknowledge the existence of pregnancy until 1952 when Lucille Ball’s I Love Lucy character Lucy Arnaz became the most notable depiction of pregnancy on television yet. (1948’s shockingly progressive for its time Mary Kay and Johnny was both the first show to depict a woman’s pregnancy and even feature a married couple sharing a bed). 

Ball was noticeably pregnant during portions of the show’s first season but her character was, ridiculously, not acknowledged to be with child. When Ball was pregnant during filming of the second season, she and the producers decided to write her experience in. Even then, however, CBS executives balked at the idea of the word “pregnant” even being uttered during the episode. You see, the concept of pregnancy hints at the concept of sexual intercourse, and if such a thing had made it to network television, then the Communists would have won.

Since then, sitcoms have obviously had no problem writing real life actress’s pregnancies into their characters’ arcs. Occasionally though, shows will try to go the I Love Lucy season 1 route and white knuckle their way through an actress’s pregnancy while maintaining that her character is not. The “Hide Your Pregnancy” TV trope has turned up on series like 24, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and more. Characters hiding an actress’s pregnancy will often be depicted wearing loose, baggy clothing, or even having their stomachs positioned behind countertops, chairs, or other scenery censors. When January Jones was pregnant during season 5 of Mad Men, the writers decided to just give her character a food addiction and become overweight. 

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It’s very possible that WandaVision could be acknowledging this strange television tradition when Wanda attempts to hide her pregnancy from Geraldine merely by holding a bowl of fruit in front of her stomach. That act of scenery censorship is no less ridiculous than Betty Draper’s sudden gluttony. 

The Monkees

At the conclusion of this episode, the camera aspect ratio moves from fullscreen to widescreen as Geraldine exits Wanda and Vision’s artificial world and enters into what appears to be the real one. The song playing during this moment is a hauntingly echoey rendition of The Monkees “Daydream Believer.” 

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Joseph Ellis

Joseph is an experienced freelance journalist. He has worked as a journalist for a few online print-based magazines for around 3 years. He brings together substantial news bulletins from the field of Technology and US. He joined the Sunriseread team for taking the website to the heights.

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