March 4, 2010 - Longtime television buffs with a penchant for cynicism might look at two of Season Six's major developments – Jim and Pam's wedding and the birth of their daughter, Cecilia – as a sign that The Office might be nearing an end. Such story devices have hardly been kind to past shows, even the classic ones. The series' long-awaited two-part special "The Delivery" likely won't dispel any of those fears, either. A good chunk of the episode's jokes simply fail to hit the mark, many of them by a wide margin. Mix in a couple of ill-conceived comedic set-ups with the few things the episode gets right, and you get one maddeningly uneven hour of television.
Boy does the story ever get off on the wrong foot. The central hook to the first half-hour is that Pam and Jim want the baby to be born after midnight so their HMO will pay for an extra night at the hospital. Fair enough. The problem with this plot is that Pam's irrational refusal to go to the hospital stretches on for far too long until the point where it becomes downright disturbing. The fact that everyone in the office besides Jim happily plays along with Pam's efforts only makes this premise harder to swallow. Simply put, it's uncomfortable to watch, and not in the amusing way The Office is often uncomfortable to watch.
This painful angle goes on for an entire fifteen minutes without providing much in the way of satisfying comedy. There are some funny bits about Michael's expected confusion with child birth, and I laughed despite myself when he proclaimed Pam was "contrapting," then again when he voiced confusion about where the baby was conceived and where it will live. Andy's revelation about the origins of his name was also good for a laugh, but the chuckles pretty much stopped coming once Michael rounded up everyone in the break room to help distract Pam from her impending childbirth. Here, we get to see Andy perform the "Evolution of Dance" dance without music, Ryan read poetry, and Erin recite the names of every horse to win the Triple Crown.
Finally, Michael proposes having Pam do the opposite of everything her baby books suggest to induce labor, which is another instance of the writers and actors straining for laughs. The only truly funny line in this whole segment comes when Kevin explains his idea of the opposite of eating spicy food, which was quite hilarious. The rest of the sequence's gags were actively unfunny, and things only got more uncomfortable and unbelievable when Pam's water broke and everyone besides Jim continued to play along with her efforts to delay the inevitable. Think about that. Not even relatively sane characters like Meredith, Oscar or even Tobey thought Pam's water breaking might be a sign this game had gone on long enough.