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The Kids Aren't Alright: Behind Masters of Sex's Controversial Children's Stories

A fake baby was supposed to solve legal issues

Hanh Nguyen

Oh baby! Masters of Sex's manufactured story lines for the children this season caused controversy during the Television Critics Association fall previews on Tuesday.

In particular, Virgina Masters (Lizzy Caplan) having a third child named Lisa, who did not exist in real life, rang false with the critics. This fake baby was born, however, to make it easier to tell the fictionalized stories of the other kids on the show. And yes, the stories are "entirely fictitious," according to the disclaimer that Master of Sex airs during these children-heavy episodes.

"We are telling a non-fiction story and one where there are people who are still alive out there, and those people need to be protected," executive producer Michelle Ashford explained. "We were advised to add [the baby] to protect the people that are still alive. It wasn't a storytelling prerogative. It had to do with protecting living people."

Check out all the latest cable news from press tour

The real-life William Masters and Johnson only had two children each, but Showtime's fictionalized counterparts have three each this year. Unfortunately, the focus on Johnson's teenaged children and to a lesser extent, Masters' kids, has not been popular with viewers or critics.

"Part of the legacy of Masters and Johnson [was that] it affected their families. We knew at some point, we were going to delve into that territory," Ashford said, before adding this heartening news. "It isn't the focus of our season, as you'll see as the season goes on. We did need to age the children appropriately and say, 'This is part of what happened in this complicated dynamic.'"

Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company.)

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