When it comes to a character becoming pregnant on television, especially if it's a comedy, it seems like more often than not, the storylines are the same. The woman is thrilled she is going to have a baby and can't wait to become a mother. Then, there is the father, who is scared out of his mind and could care less about all of the planning for the baby's arrival, because that is more the woman's area of expertise.
Well, The Big Bang Theory has done just the opposite of that with Bernadette's pregnancy in Season 11. It's been a welcome surprise to see how the hit CBS comedy has chosen to handle Melissa Rauch's character becoming a mother. Actually, it's been both empowering and refreshing.
For example, in a December interview with TVLine, executive producer Steve Molaro opened up about how they've chosen not to include Bernadette's delivery scene. That's right; viewers will not see Bernadette and Howard in the delivery room during the actual birth of their child. "That’s an arena that has been covered fairly well on many shows over the years," he said. The episode's focus will mainly be on "what goes on before we get down to, 'Let’s push the baby out,'" Molaro added.
Can you think of a TV comedy that hasn't featured the delivery? Friends even featured three deliveries, including Phoebe and the triplets, Rachel and Emma and Monica and Chandler's twins. It's rare for the birth not to be showcased, so it's a welcome change and a risk TBBT is willing to take.
The same can be said for how Bernadette has handled her pregnancy. From the get-go, she hasn't been excited about becoming mom. She hasn't embodied those so-called "maternal instincts" that every woman is expected to have. From not wanting to decorate the nursery to never having had the dream of becoming a mom to not being excited about holding her baby in her arms, TBBT has shown an entirely new perspective of motherhood.
It's not for everyone and not every mom feels the same way about pregnancy or raising children. This portrayal is much more realistic than trying to say the opposite. It's probably also comforting to women watching who feel the same as Bernadette to know they are not alone. There are women who don't want to be mothers or don't enjoy the pregnancy process. Guess what? That's totally OK.
Furthermore, the way Bernadette has had to protect her career and feared she would be punished because of her pregnancy is so spot on. Like she said in the one episode (shown below), she was terrified her career would be influenced by her pregnancy and that she would be treated differently or that opportunities would be taken away from her.
Really, Bernadette has faced judgment her entire life, so this made it all even worse. "I've always been treated differently," she told Amy. "Look at me. Listen to me. I mean, the first thought when you see me isn't, 'That's a scientist,' it's, 'I wonder if her mommy knows where she is.'"
It is just so empowering and such a nice change of pace to see TBBT give an even bigger storyline to Bernadette this season. The series has turned a pregnant character into an inspiring woman who is showing a different side to pregnancy, all while giving a voice to women who aren't maternal and showing them and everyone else there is nothing wrong with that.
Now imagine all of the powerful storylines Bernadette will hopefully be able to show as a mother. There's no doubt she will continue to tell her own narrative and break barriers.
The Big Bang Theory's fall finale airs Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8/7c on CBS.
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