Accidentally Dodging the Question?


Finding myself home alone last Monday night, I decided to
take advantage of fall premiers week on the networks and spend the evening scanning the pilots for a potentially entertaining show.

No such luck. However, I did find Accidentally on Purpose on CBS, the story of Billie, (Jenna Elfman) a movie critic who has a fling with the young, handsome, unstable Zach (Jon Foster).  
She quickly becomes pregnant. They decide not to be together, but to raise the baby while living in the same home. He drinks beer and plays video games. She goes to premiers and dinner parties. Just as she loses her temper at his dude-bro antics, he goes ahead and redeems himself. They hug. Thank you, CBS.

Anyway, notice that I didn’t say she chooses to keep the baby.
What I mean is her options were never discussed. CBS, it seems, will air unprotected sex before abortion talk. Throughout the show I was waiting for them to bring it up-there were plenty of cougar jokes to fill the space-but the
credits started rolling before there was so much as a suggestion of any option other than baby.

So I was pleased to find an essay on Double X today by Mary Pals, the "real life" Billie, who reviews films for Time and MSN, and wrote a book called Accidentally on Purpose, on which this show is based.

Apparently, she did contemplate having an abortion, but
because of the circumstance-her age-she thought it might be the last time she
could conceive.

"Sitcom-me is not as ancient as reality me, in part because Elfman is 37, about to turn 38. But I would also guess that 39 is an unappealing number for the networks…. And my sitcom lover is younger as well: only 22. What’s ironic about that age change is that if I had been 37 and had
drunken, unprotected sex with a 22 year-old like Zach, I would have taken the morning-after pill. I’m not saying that would have been the right choice, only that I needed to be at the brink of the 40-something cliff in order to jump off
it."

While I don’t know what it’s like to face an unplanned
pregnancy at 40-I’m only 22, myself-I do know the thought of having only one shot at motherhood must be daunting. It’s disappointing, though that someone thought it was necessary to throw that part out of the show. For a single woman with a consuming career in a large city to not have the thought cross her mind doesn’t seem plausible. But, as Pals later points out in her essay, there’s still a possibility it will come up. Lets just see if the show stays on long enough to discuss the option.

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