Do Babies Ruin TV Shows?

Pam and Cece on The Office
Pam and Cece on The Office
Fans of How I Met Your Mother are wondering how long the show can go on before the young twenty-somethings on the show have to mature enough to produce, you know, the kids to go with the “mother” of the title. If people do start having kids, will it ruin the show?

Lord knows the addition of kids has ruined many a beloved sitcom. Yet weddings and childbirth scenes are a hallmark of sweeps week. All those kids have to fit into the show or sound its death knell.

  • Little Ricky on I Love Lucy: Lucy announcing to Ricky that she's "expecting" via Ricky's show is a classic TV moment, but the show lost a lot of oomph with the birth and the move to the country.
  • Avery on Murphy Brown: Did Murphy lose her edge after having her baby? Maybe, but one could argue that characters are allowed to grow and change without necessarily jumping the shark.
  • Mabel on Mad About You: The Buckmans had a snarky-couple relationship. Some complained that the addition of the baby just made them unbearable, but I have fond memories of a crazy rant from Helen Hunt that has become all too familiar since I had kids.
  • Jerry Garcia on Roseanne: Inexplicable addition, but it wasn’t the baby that ruined this once-perfect show. The last season was a mess from top to bottom.
  • Cece on The Office: Hey, there were those who said this show couldn’t survive Jim and Pam actually getting together. Now they’ve married and had a kid and frankly I’m still on board. Maybe because it’s a workplace comedy and you hardly ever see the kiddo.

In the end, I think the rule for adding a kid to a TV show should be the same as adding a kid to a marriage. If you’ve got a solid foundation and good relationship, the kid will fit right in and everyone will continue to evolve. If you’re just throwing the kid in to save the show … you’ll end up cancelled (or divorced) before too long.

When you hear your favorite show is having a baby, do you worry it’ll go on permanent maternity leave -- from being funny?

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