For the female stars of "Masters of Sex," filming a period show is... constraining.
During the PaleyFest panel Monday night featuring the cast, the women — Lizzy Caplan (Virginia), Caitlin FitzGerald (Libby), and Annaleigh Ashford (Betty) — opened up about the prohibitive nature of the undergarments they wear to portray their 1950s-era characters. And, during their funny banter, they educated one another on the easiest way to manage their dreaded girdles.
Caplan brought up undergarments first, telling the audience, "I insist on wearing the period appropriate undergarments," as a way to get into character.
Michael Sheen, who plays Dr. William Masters, was cracking jokes throughout the panel and quickly interjected, "So do I. I actually insist on wearing Lizzy's."
Things became even sillier after that with the women talking about the difficulties of removing the constricting shapewear when necessary. "Undergarments can change everything about how you walk, how you talk, how you move," agreed Ashford, who plays a prostitute on the Showtime show. "So thank God we wear full-out undergarments from the era. But also it was very hard to pee back then. You have to ask somebody to help you when it's time to go pee. I mean — I haven't done that since I was like 4."
Caplan then recalled a conversation she recently had with Betsy Brandt, the "Breaking Bad" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" alum, who recently joined the cast to play Master's new secretary in Season 2. "The amazing Betsy Brandt came up to me the other day and said, 'How do you do it?! Tell me the secret. What do you do when you go to the bathroom?'" laughed Caplan, who then revealed she has a secret to getting it off — she pulls it down.
"You have a trick?!" said FitzGerald, who plays Master's wife Libby. "You go down not up? This is life-changing."
"Oh, yes," replied Caplan. "You've been doing it all wrong."
Ashford said, "You know what? This is so evident of the era. It was really hard for women. It was really hard to pee."
And FitzGerald, who said it takes her at least two hours each day on the set in hair and makeup, summed it up by saying, "Women would run everything — but we're too busy getting ready!"
More wardrobe pros on cons from the cast:
"Masters of Sex" returns for Season 2 on July 13. Sheen, who cracked up the audience with some salty language (very different than the prim and proper Dr. Masters), said that he bonded with his co-stars immediately (Teddy Sears was also on the panel), which helps them get through the sexual nature of their material. He also talked about how they all do the New York Times crossword puzzle between takes on set with Caplan cracking, "It's crazy on our set."
The cast on filming sex scenes:
Also in Season 2, look for Allison Janney and Beau Bridges to return. According to showrunner Michelle Ashford and her producing partner Sarah Timberman, the onscreen couple was actually shooting some tear-jerking scenes earlier in the day. In addition to newcomer Brandt, Keke Palmer has joined the cast as Bill and Libby's new nanny and Danny Huston, who was last seen on "American Horror Story" will play Dr. Douglas Greathouse.
The "Masters of Sex" cast on Palmer joining the show:
"Masters of Sex" Season 2 premieres July 13 on Showtime.