By Ken Tucker
Updated March 04, 2010 at 03:57 PM EST

Tonight, Jim and Pam’s baby will be born on The Office. Unless Michael somehow screws it up.

The baby-birth is a staple of sitcoms ever since the 1953 episode of I Love Lucy, when a (real-life) pregnant Lucy gave birth to little Ricky, and the show drew over 44 million viewers. To goose publicity for the episode, it was scheduled to air on Lucille Ball’s actual due-date:

The sitcom baby-birth usually involves a few key elements: a soon-to-be mom who’s grouchy; a panicky future-dad; general chaos. Murphy Brown certainly captured the grouchiness. (And she’d be even grouchier if she’d known all the fuss Vice President Dan Quayle was going to kick up over Murphy’s unwed-mother status.)

One of my favorite TV pregnancies occurred on Gilmore Girls: Lorelai’s pal Sookie, impatient for her wee one to arrive. Here’s Sookie panicking that the baby “won’t come out,” moaning that she feels like “the fat guy in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life — I’m going to explode,” and complaining that what she really wants is “a Manhattan and a Scotch and a beer and a sidecar.” In short, classic Gilmore:

Many folks feel that the sitcom baby-birth reached an irritating low on Mad About You, with its cloying cleverness. What do you think?:

And what round-up of TV births would be complete without a clip from 7th Heaven, over the course of whose history, various characters gave birth to, I would estimate, 865 babies. In this one, the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Show is used for no good reason… but that’s why we loved the randomness of 7th Heaven:

So, what are your favorite TV births, comedy or drama?

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