The wedding episode of The Officefrom earlier this season, in which the Dunder-Mifflin crew danced down the aisle in an homage to the famous web video set to Chris Brown’s “Forever,” was an immediate classic, managing to be both consistently funny and sufficiently satisfying the endless Pam-Jim courtship that had served as the heart of the show. Last night’s next Very Special Episode, in which Pam gives birth to the couple’s child, couldn’t possibly have measured up, if just because childbirth rarely involves people wearing suits and boogying, and it never involves Niagara Falls. The show’s crack writing staff is fully aware that introducing a baby to the cast is traditionally the death knell for successful series, but “The Delivery” sidesteps disaster deftly.
The hour-long episode begins with Pam having an alarmingly increasing number of contractions in the Scranton office, but avoiding going to the hospital because the Halperts’ HMO only allows them a two-night stay in the maternity ward. She only makes it to 4:30, and the next thing you know, Michael is driving the couple to the Scranton hospital, texting while behind the wheel. In one of the show’s rare nods to the impracticality of the cameras always following everyone around, the documentary crew isn’t allowed in the delivery room, so we only see Michael watching the birth … and then scampering, terrified, away. Next thing we know, the Halperts have a little girl: Cecilia Marie. (A perfectly lovely name, if you ask us.)
The show does a solid, understated job of showing just how scary the first few hours after childbirth are, with the parents terrified they’re doing an awful job. You can argue that they’re right to be scared: At one point, Pam actually breast feeds the wrong baby, which is not easy to do. By the end, though, father, mother, and child are together, out of the hospital, exhausted, and forever changed. The Office has had its problems this season, but so far this baby subplot doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Elsewhere in the episode, Dwight and Angela make a pact to have a child together — though Angela is far more into the endeavor than Dwight is, and we have a suspicion this is going to be a subplot that’s dropped sooner rather than later — and, finally, Andy asks out Erin. Andy being Andy, he does it by fax. At least Pam didn’t try to deliver her baby that way.
Alan Sepinwall says the second half of the episode was flatter than the first half.
Joel Keller at TVSquad believes the show hasn’t known what to do with Pam and Jim since the wedding.
Dan Phillips at IGN hated that Pam wanted to wait until midnight to have the child.