There were some bumps in the storytelling in Angel season four. Unfortunately, Charisma Carpenter becoming pregnant is often blamed for the unpopularity of a particularly season arc. I feel it is unfair to blame a talented actress for what was considered to be a misdirection in the writing.
The opinions expressed in the article below are that of the writer and may differ from other fans of the television series Angel.
Cordelia Chase was one of the strong females of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel universe who showed that despite the danger when the world was threatened you fought to save and protect it. That is the definition of a champion. And Cordelia Chase was a champion.
As played by Charisma Carpenter, Cordelia wasn’t always a champion. She started out as a rich, spoiled California valley girl. Money and popularity were the two things she cared about. She was Queen C and had worshippers known as Cordettes following her every word. In fact, they didn’t just want to follow Cordelia, they wanted to be Cordelia. She was that admired.
However, Cordelia knew that even when surrounded by people you can still be alone. Hanging onto her every word didn’t mean they were really listening to what she had to say; they didn’t care about who she was as a person, just the status being with Cordelia Chase gave them.
Once Cordelia learned that vampires existed and through her involvement with Buffy, The Scooby Gang and dating Xander Harris, she didn’t run and hide. She joined the team despite the spiral downward to her popularity. Ms. Chase even helped Team Slayer defeat Mayor Snake Monster. Then it was off to Los Angeles where more good fights awaited. Cordelia traded in the Scooby Gang for Team Angel.
Her original goal in moving to LA was to find fame as an actress. But a chance meeting with Angel at a party changed all that. Soon Ms. C was working for Angel “We help the helpless” Investigations. People were helped. Lives were saved. And Cordelia willingly became part demon in order to handle the visions that enabled her to do so.
Fast forward a few seasons to Season 4. Charisma Carpenter is pregnant. What were the writers going to do? Would they use the tried and true television method of hiding very large objects in front of Cordelia’s ever expanding belly? To the chagrin of fans, the writers come up with a plot in which Cordelia sleeps with Angel’s teenage son Connor and becomes pregnant with his child. This story was wrong on so many levels. Not only would Cordelia not sleep with Angel’s son because she was in love with Angel, but Cordelia was technically the only mother Connor had known as she took care of him when he was a baby.
When Connor returned from Quor-toth although he appeared to be sixteen because the time in the Hell dimension was different, he was really only a few months old.
The writers explanation for this was Cordelia had been controlled by a higher being named Jasmine who needed Ms. Chase to become pregnant to give birth to Jasmine herself. And Connor was chosen to be Jasmine’s father because he was an unique soul “the child of two vampires,” an impossibility in itself. Exposition was used and viewers learned Connor had been created for the purpose of Jasmine’s birth.
Okay this is where I’ve always had a problem with the Cordelia pregnancy/Jasmine story. If Jasmine was all powerful, why go through all the trouble to enter the world? The whole story seemed a convoluted mess to write in Carpenter’s pregnancy. But in my opinion, it’s unfair to blame direction of a unpopular storyline on Charisma Carpenter. She wasn’t a writer on Angel and as any good actress only played material she was given to this best of her ability. It was the writers responsibility to come up with a creative way to incorporate her pregnancy.
In a recent piece by Screenrant titled “9 TV And Movie Pregnancies That Were Real (And 11 That Weren’t),” it was written “This wacky storyline was implemented because Charisma Carpenter allegedly hid her pregnancy from the production crew until it was too late.” Charisma Carpenter responded to this allegation in a tweet on April 20, 2019:
It is obvious from this reply that she never hid her pregnancy from production. Charisma shouldn’t be blamed for the fact that the Cordelia pregnancy/Connor/Jasmine story turned out badly. I felt the whole Connor coming back from Quor-Toth could have been written better. And because of it wasn’t, the character of Connor will always be hated by some fans despite the talent of actor Vincent Kartheiser.
I’m sure there are times when actors cringe at the way some of their stories are written. But they are not the writers and can’t be blamed or condemned for the outcome. Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase is a beloved character who gave so much to the Whedonverse series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I thank her for all she brought to Cordelia.