Tonight marks a significant episode of "The Office" (NBC, 9 p.m.) as Jim and Pam -- sometimes nicknamed 'Jam' in one of those cutesy couple nicknames -- have their baby on the one-hour episode.
Unlike other TV series in which the two main characters hooked up after years of waiting -- Sam & Diane anyone? Dave & Maddie? -- Jim and Pam are a couple we've been rooting for all these years. Their relationship progressed from friendship to separation to courtship, and finally to love and marriage.
"The Office" writers have been skilled enough over the years to keep things interesting, even after their two key characters finally got together, avoiding the pitfalls that doomed other series like "Moonlighting" (or "Bones" when Booth and Brennan finally hook up at some point). While moving the Jim-Pam storyline along with its natural progression, the writers are giving us the awkward courtship of goofy Andy and perky receptionist Erin as a substitute. It's actually been pretty sweet and funny.
"The Office" has been pretty hit-and-miss lately, but tonight's episode ought to be a significant chapter in the show's history.
(Of course, adding babies to TV shows also usually kills a lot of momentum, so we'll see how that turns out).
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Tonight wraps up the third season of "Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.), always an enjoyable hour of TV. Tonight Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) has to contend with a psycho terrorist (Garrett Dillahunt) who threatens to set off a bomb in Miami.
Other new stuff on cable includes that "other" spy show, "Archer" (FX, 10 p.m.) Also on cable, there's a new "Project Runway" (Lifetime, 10 p.m.)
On regular TV, "The Office" is preceded by new episodes of "Community" and "Parks & Recreation" from 8-9 p.m. on NBC. "The Marriage Ref" (NBC, 10 p.m.) kicks off in its regular timeslot, with guests Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey and Eva Longoria Parker.
There are new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" from 9-11 p.m. on ABC, though it looks like "The Deep End" has drowned.
CBS airs new episodes of "Survivor," "CSI" and "The Mentalist," while Fox has the "American Idol" results show, followed by "Kitchen Nightmares" at 9 p.m.
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