‘Virgin River’ carries on with the longest WTF? pregnancy in TV history

‘Virgin River’ carries on with the longest WTF? pregnancy in TV history

Forget the “big reveals” in the Season 5 finale of “Virgin River.” 

Whatever. I won’t spoil anything. You can watch the season-ender and suss it all out.

The real shocker is that annoying Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) is still carrying those twins after four seasons (and four years in real time). It’s the longest live-action pregnancy in TV history yet no one in the pristine, picture-postcard world of “Virgin River” (or its writers) bats an eyelash. WTF?

I get that this is a fictional TV universe, but does time really stand that still in Virgin River, where it’s supposedly only nine months (or less) since the series premiered in 2019? C’mon, people. Now it’s just getting silly vis-à-vis Charmaine — though I guess “silly” is relative in this Hallmark-greeting-card world, where criminality lurks beneath the surface but is buffed away by smiles, some gosh-darn-homey community spirit (“Let’s make a quilt!”) and a dash of one-dimensional drama embodied by central-casting actors.

Lauren Hammersley as a pregnant Charmaine. She's wearing a blue dress and standing in a kitchen with her hand on her belly.
Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) told Jack in the Season 4 finale that he was not the father of her twins. This was three seasons after she announced her pregnancy.

Wait … time for another beautiful sunset shot!

Apologies to “Seinfeld,” but it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the polished veneer of “Virgin River,” set in a woody, remote (did I say “quaint?”) Northern California town (the series is actually shot in British Columbia, but close enough). I’ve been watching “VR” since its premiere for just those qualities — its unthreatening, you-can-see-it-coming-a-mile-away storylines and comfort-food predictability. That’s what makes it fun and addictive in that “Law & Order”-kind of way: you know what you’re going to get, and you’re OK with that. Anything else would throw the show’s world off-kilter. And who wants that? (Though I can’t help thinking there’s a sinister “Black Mirror” episode to be spun off from the “Virgin River” canon — now that would be interesting. Evil Muriel? I’m all in.)

The Netflix series revolves around LA nurse practitioner Melinda “Mel” Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) who lands-cute in town, decides to stay, and 3 … 2 … 1 … falls in love with rugged Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson), a moody ex-Marine with requisite stubble who runs the local bar/restaurant on the banks of the Virgin River and speaks softly in that hoarse, sensitive-guy whisper. There’s only one problem: Jack was involved with the aforementioned Charmaine in a long-term relationship, and she informs him, in the Season 1 finale — after he’s fallen in love with Mel, natch — that she’s carrying his twin boys.

Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson as Mel and Jack. They're standing on the porch of Doc Mullins' office and look concerned. They're clasping hands on Mel's waist.
Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack (Martin Henderson) in (what else?) crisis mode in Season 5 of “Virgin River.”

Shut the front door!

Over the next several seasons … follow the bouncing soap bar here … Jack not only survives a gunshot murder attempt, but he comes to terms with Charmaine’s pregnancy and, in fact, relishes the idea of having twin boys, while Mel stews quietly in Charmaine’s (bigger and bigger) shadow.

Imagine Jack’s surprise when, in the Season 4 finale, Charmaine, still proudly carrying those twins, tells him that he’s not the father — and that her pregnancy is a product of a one-night stand … just as Mel learns that she’s pregnant with … wait for it … Jack’s baby girl. All together now a la Chandler Bing: “Can this guy be put through any more drama?” Answer: watch Season 5.

And, by the way, Jack, Mel and Charmaine are only part of the “Virgin River” fabric. The town seems to attract a criminal element, which is not good news for its sunny denizens who are blissfully unaware of the drug dealing and dash of murder lurking beneath its plastic facade.

Brie (Zibby Allen) and Preacher (Colin Lawrence). They're sitting in a bar with cups of coffee in front of them. They're looking off-camera at something.
Brie (Zibby Allen) and Preacher (Colin Lawrence) hunker down for a chat in Season 5. They’re both fed up with Brady (Ben Hollingsworth).

So, here’s hoping that avuncular Doc Mullins’ (Tim Matheson) eyesight won’t get any worse, or that his frenetic, piece-of-work wife, Hope (Annette O’Toole), will continue recovering from her traumatic brain injury (the “TBI” to which she continually refers).

Here’s hoping that Brady (Ben Hollingsworth), Jack’s ne’er-do-well, dim-bulb Marine comrade, will finally get his act together after screwing things up with Jack’s sister, LA lawyer Brie (Zibby Allen). I’m pulling for Jack’s business partner/Marine buddy Preacher (Colin Lawrence) to finally find true love after some fits and starts with Paige, whose abusive husband, Wes, he buried in the woods after Paige accidentally killed him in Season 1 (it’s gone unmentioned for the past three seasons).

Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson) sits in his office chair. He's staring straight ahead and is wearing a white doctor's jacket.
Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson) ponders his eye condition and wonders why Charmaine hasn’t had her twins yet.

And here’s to the ladies’ knitting circle at Jack’s Bar — Muriel, Connie, Jo Ellen and Lydie. May they continue to gossip about the townspeople (and about each other, of course). 

“Virgin River” will return for two holiday episodes premiering Nov. 30, followed by a sixth season next year (provided the Hollywood strikes end in our lifetime). 

If Charmaine doesn’t have the twins by then, I’m personally calling Doc Mullins and chewing him out. He should know better.


Michael Starr

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