Lessons in Chemistry’s Creative Use for Frogs Is Based in Fact

The Apple TV+ series starring Brie Larson has a lesson to teach about the scientific efficacy of frogs and pregnancy.

Brie Larson in Lessons in Chemistry
Photo: Apple TV+

This article contains spoilers for Lessons in Chemistry episode 3.

Elizabeth Zott is nothing if not resourceful. Her entire kitchen doubles as a lab. She wears a sharpened pencil in her hair as both a helpful writing tool and protective weapon. She knows how to skin a tomato in mere seconds. So it comes as no surprise that, when it comes to at-home reproductive testing, she knows how to get things done with minimal fuss and maximum results. 

Following the shocking twist at the conclusion of the first two episodes of Lessons in Chemistry, Elizabeth (Brie Larson) finds herself all alone and struggling to make meaning of her life after her beloved Calvin (Lewis Pullman) dies in a freak accident. Her scientific work is threatened and her emotional life is empty as the only person she felt she could trust is now gone. Given those circumstances, when Elizabeth begins to feel a little pekid, she’s reluctant to seek out any help from external sources. In today’s world, she’d just hop down to her nearest CVS and grab some pregnancy tests, but this being the ‘50s, there’s no such thing. 

Before the advent of at-home pregnancy tests in the early 1970’s, women had to rely on other means to find out if they were with child. Many methods were wildly unscientific. Some ladies brought their urine to so-called experts who claimed that they could tell that a woman was pregnant simply from looking at a vial of the stuff. Elizabeth Zott would certainly not approve. So, it makes sense that she would find an empirical way in which to verify her own pregnancy. 


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