Monty Brinton/CBS
Ruth Kinane
November 02, 2017 AT 10:00 AM EDT

In last season’s finale of the CBS comedy Life in Pieces, Colleen (Angelique Cabral) and Matt (Thomas Sadoski) finally got married. Then the bride fell off a balcony…to her death?

“I can safely say she is not dead,” EP Justin Adler tells EW.  While tumbling from a balcony certainly worked for cliff-hanger-season-finale reasons, the off-screen reason for Colleen’s brush with death was more to do with new life: Cabral was eight-months pregnant when the cast returned to set for season three. (She welcomed a baby girl in September.) “Having her fall off the balcony gave us some options to cover up the fact she’s got a huge baby bump,” says Adler. “These two have faced obstacles every step of the way, and this season is no different — it’s hard to start a marriage that you can’t even consummate because one of you is in a wheelchair.”

While the newlyweds grapple with that hurdle, empty nesters Joan (Dianne Wiest) and John (James Brolin) contend with a full house when Tim (Dan Bakkedahl), Heather (Betsy Brandt) & Co. move in. “Them being stuck living together again is going to bring up a lot of mother-daughter issues,” says Adler. And those parental woes aren’t contained to the older generation of Shorts. Watch out for a teenage Sam (Holly Barrett) wreaking havoc. “We’re going to be developing how Sam is really on the cusp of going from a preteen to a full-on teenager and adjusting to being a freshman in high school this year,” says Adler.

Meanwhile, Greg (Colin Hanks) and Jen (Zoe Lister-Jones) have to cope with troublesome toddlers and their even more troublesome parents. “We’re having fun with Greg and Jen trying to be friends with their child’s best friends’ parents when those parents are just nightmare people,” explains Adler. With Jen on track to become partner at her law firm, Greg is forced to reevaluate his career plans, facing the realization that his invention (how could anyone forget the genius “CryTunes” baby monitor that turned the sound of crying babies into soothing music?) isn’t going to be the fortune maker that he thought it was.

RELATED: See a thrilling, hilarious car chase from season 3 premiere of Life in Pieces

If all that family dramedy wasn’t enough to keep viewers returning every week, Adler and his team have cooked up a bunch of novelty episodes after the success of last season’s throwback Thursday episode. Look out for an animated story one week and a Christmas installment consisting of 12 segments rather than the usual four.

“We’re doing an animated story line based on Matt and Colleen’s children’s book,” shares Adler. “They’re trying to talk to their niece Sophia about a very difficult and sensitive issue that’s plaguing their new marriage and explain it to her in terms she can understand. That part of the episode will be animated and then we’ll come in and out of live-action too. It’s definitely a challenging season, but we’re excited for how it’ll all play out.”

Life In Pieces returns tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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