TV characters and menopause

When they recently started a story arc that had Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer facing a worrisome medical problem, I was worried that it would be one of the two things it always seems to be for TV characters: pregnancy or cancer. It was with great relief that it turned out she is going through early menopause, a much more interesting (yet quite common) dramatic situation.

This led me wondering: How many recurring characters in serial TV have gone through menopause? I never saw much of All in the Family, but I seem to remember there being quite a sensation when Edith faced it (was she the first to do so on TV?)

I imagine that one of the ladies in Cagney & Lacey (probably the latter) might’ve gone through it, but I can’t be sure. And Selma on The Simpsons went to China to adopt Ling when she learned she had reached that stage in life and could no longer have kids.

Can anyone think of any other examples?

I was going to say Maude, but then I remembered that she got pregnant.

Kitty Foreman on That 70’s Show.
Plenty of good jokes about it, and she flys off the handle plenty. They started the story line a little later in the series.

The mother on That 70’s Show (they keep sending re-runs over here) thought she was pregnant and then it turned out she was going through menopause. That was an original twist on it, rather than the other way around which seems to be more popular.

Too late. :o

Clair Huxtable, on The Cosby Show. I remember an episode that mentioned her going through menopause. As I recall, she mentioned it in an offhand manner to her older daughters, who were stunned that she didn’t seem to care much about it. Wikipedia lists it as episode 162, “Clair’s Liberation”.

Blanche on the Golden Girls had a pregnancy scare which turned out to be menopause. She was rather distraught over the whole affair.

Samantha was jump started into menopause after her breast cancer on Sex and the City.

I don’t watch the show but isn’t Kyra Sedgwick only around 40? Granted, you did say her character was going through “early menopause” but it seems a bit disconcerting for someone in my immediate age group to be playing someone going through menopause.

I vaguely recall on St. Elsewhere that Nurse Rosenthal (Christina Pickles) went through menopause. IIRC, it somehow factored into her addiction to prescription drugs. She got depressed about it and starting popping ‘happy’ pills, or something.

Julia Sugarbaker did on Designing Women

Ma Ingalls went through it on Little House on the Prairie. She thought it was a pregnancy at first.
(IIRC it ended with Pa taking a second fertile wife played by McKenzie Phillips).

And of course Stan’s mother on “South Park” stopped getting monthly visits from her Aunt Flo.

I remember the Designing Women menopause episode only for the reaction of the daft old woman who was always hanging around. Someone finally uttered the M-word, and the old woman said, “Oh. Been there. Done that.”

There was an episode of I Love Lucy where Fred for some reason due to a misunderstanding thought Ethel was pregnant. When she realizes this she looks at him with an “Oh get real!” expression and even says something roughly synonymous with this. (Ethel Mertz was a bit older than Vivian Vance so she probably would have been at least in her 40s and possibly 50s.)
This could mean she had gone through menopause (or that she and Fred weren’t doing it, but I think the former would have gone over better with 50s audiences).

It’s been a long time since I saw the episode, but I seem to recall that at one point Maude said she hdn’t used birth control because she thought she couldn’t get pregnant anymore.

Also, while she never specifically used the word, Cybill Shephard’s character in Cybill said she was happy she’d reached that stage in her life.

Sedgwick turns 42 this coming Sunday.

Dep. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson might be going through Early Onset Menopause. And she’s naturally freaked the hell out about it, since she clearly finds herself too young for it.

Carmela Soprano was going through a weird phase when she thought she was dying. I think it was hinted at that she was going through the Change.

When she thought she had ovarian cancer due to spotting between periods? Did she ever go to the doctor about that? I remember her seeing her priest (and a new one, in fact), but I don’t remember her going to the doctor. Well…not until she had that strange virus thing.

‘Early menopause’ is menopause before 45, so she’s really not that early (before 40 is ‘premature,’ and it can even happen to 20-somethings. Yikes)