A 'Mad Men' Trick Of The Trade: January Jones' Fat Suit
It's often the case that TV shows seamlessly weave performers' mid-filming pregnancies some way or another into show canon. In other instances, such as Sarah Jessica Parker's delicate condition during the fifth "Sex and the City" season, they're merely written around and the new mom's absence explained away.
"Mad Men", on the other hand? January Jones fell somewhere in between and into a somewhat unique predicament.
Jones was indeed expecting her now six-month-old son Xander while shooting the AMC hit's current, fifth season. Not coincidentally, Betty Draper also appeared during this past Sunday's second episode of the season carrying something extra - it just wasn't a baby. Writers instead wrote into the season's plot that depression, stress and a long while away from current hubby Henry Francis had led the former Mrs. Draper into stress eating and new big-all-over physique.
To pull off the look of Betty letting herself go, creator Matthew Weiner and writers had Jones don prosthetics and a fat suit not unlike what Elizabeth Moss once wore to pull off Peggy Olsen's season-one pregnancy, The Hollywood Reporter explained. Jones herself didn't balloon nearly enough during her pregnancy to pull the look off, and lost the weight quickly following Xander's September 2011 birth, due in part to the practice of consuming her own placenta.
Producers also incorporated a back double for a scene when Betty emerges from a shower.
The twist has been setting off speculation and continuity critiques. Though it's been established that Betty has had significant food and weight issues since childhood, fans have wondered how a woman once married to the enigmatic Don Draper could have such a weight gain triggered by one distant man, but not another.
The prevailing belief seems to be that it's been more trigged by insecurities brought on by Draper's new wife, slim model Megan Draper.