'Mad Men's' Betty, Bigger Than Ever

Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC.

Sunday night's "Mad Men" featured a Betty Francis we've never seen before: Fat, schmaltzy and clad in a pink, quilted tent.

The threat of a thyroid tumor turned Betty from suburbia's reigning ice queen into a Bugle-eating, ice cream sundae-scarfing mommy in need of a lot of love. Faced with the fact that she might leave her children motherless, she sought reassurance from Don instead of her current husband, but a benign diagnosis snapped Betty back to her usual ways.

Surely, her figure will follow. Many critics this morning have praised the plot as a compelling way to address actress January Jones' pregnancy (she gave birth to son Xander in September and was on the set of  "Mad Men's" fifth season six weeks later).

"Kudos to the writers for finding a way to work January Jones' pregnancy into the story that's a little more cerebral than having her carry a bunch of large bags," wrote Paste magazine's Bonnie Stiernberg. "Instead, they've got Betty struggling with what's undoubtedly her worst nightmare - the loss of her looks. The episode opens with her kids unable to zip her into a too-tight dress, followed by a shot of Don breezily zipping Megan into her dress as they get ready to go out and woo the Heinz folks. It's a telling image; Betty's no longer the glamourous, young wife brought along to smile at her husband's business associates."

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