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Jaime Pressly gave the writers of Mom a unique opportunity when she announced her pregnancy with twins — another chance to address the ongoing struggles with addiction.
Instead of always sticking the actress — who plays sober mom Jill Kendall — behind a table or a couch, the writers incorporated her weight gain into an organic story about overeating. And EW obtained the exclusive first look.
“The idea being that addiction doesn’t always stay in one place,” explains co-executive producer Gemma Baker. “If you are dealing with addiction it may pop it in other places. We dealt with Christy [Anna Faris] having a gambling problem. So Jill is going through some things and the way she deals with it is food.”
In Jill’s case, she miscarried last season and decided to sponsor a foster child to fill the void. Once she learned that she may lose the child to its real mother, it caused her “emotionally eat,” explains Pressly.
So when the comedy returns for its fifth season in November, Pressly will show, ahem, the side effects of her newest addiction.
“I never figured I would hide behind tables because that never works, and [executive producer] Chuck Lorre is not known for being that cheesy,” says Pressly, who says she was pregnant for the last seven weeks of last season. “I knew they would come up with something fantastic.”
Pressly will appear in seven episodes this autumn before going on maternity leave. She’s expected to deliver her twin boys around Nov. 5 and will return to the sitcom in January.
“Oh, I am ready,” she tells EW of giving birth for the second time. “I turned 30 after [first son] Desi was born. Ten years later, I’m much older and wiser and calmer. It’s a totally different experience and a great one for my son, who is so excited about it.”
This isn’t the first time a sitcom has found an organic way to work Pressly’s pregnancy into a storyline. When she played Joy Turner on the NBC comedy My Name is Earl, executive producer Greg Garcia figured out a knee-slapping way to address her changing physique.
“Joy was on trial and she figured out the jurors were sympathetic to pregnant women so she decided to have a baby,” Pressly recalls. “Earl came up with a plan that Joy could be a surrogate for her half-sister, who she just met. It was the funniest story line in my life.”
But while seeing the petite Pressly in puffy prosthetics will certainly be a gut-buster, Pressley insists the writers took great care not to make stereotypical jokes about Jill’s weight.
“They don’t make fun,” says Pressly. “The writers are very careful. For everything we talk about on the show, there’s a fine line between what’s right and what’s wrong, and what we what can and cannot say. There is sensitive material in recovery. The other women kind of tiptoe around it. They don’t want to make Jill feel bad. There’s a big elephant in the room and that elephant is Jill.”
Mom returns Thursday, Nov. 2, at 9 p.m. ET to CBS.