Today, pregnancies (particularly those of the unexpected variety) are one of the most popular TV tropes. You'd be hard-pressed to find a show that didn't use a baby as a catalyst for more storylines and scandal. But there was a time when you couldn't even use the "p" word on TV.
More than 60 years ago, CBS aired "Lucy is Enceinte," the Season 2 episode of "I Love Lucy" in which Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky (Desi Arnaz) find out they're going to have a baby. The episode, which aired on Dec. 8, 1952, made Lucy TV's first pregnant character, but the script didn't use the word "pregnant" once.
"'Lucy Is Enceinte' was scandalous at the time, at least in the eyes of the CBS executives who balked at the idea of its star -- who slept in a twin bed next to her husband onscreen -- actually acknowledging and openly displaying the biological consequences of S-E-X," AV Club editor Genevieve Koski said in the site's extensive look back at the episode. "The script for 'Lucy Is Enceinte' famously had to dance around saying the word 'pregnant,' a term CBS deemed too vulgar for air, hence the French word for pregnancy in the episode title."
When Ball learned in the spring of 1952 that she was pregnant, she and Arnaz assumed that "I Love Lucy" would be suspended or even canceled entirely. But "I Love Lucy" producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer made the game-changing suggestion that the pregnancy be written into the show. Executives from CBS, Biow Advertizing Agency, and Philip Morris Cigarettes ("I Love Lucy’s" sponsor at the time) initially opposed the idea, reportedly calling for a priest, a minister, and a rabbi to approve each of the “Lucy Is Enceinte” scripts before they would concede.
Though scandalous, the storyline ended up being a smashing success: When Little Ricky was born on "I Love Lucy" on January 19, 1953 -- coinciding with Ball's real-life delivery of Desi Arnaz Jr. via scheduled Caesarean section -- more than 44 million viewers tuned in.
Lucy may have been the first pregnant woman on TV, but she's hardly the last. From "Murphy Brown's" scandalous decision to some of the more "Modern" baby-making approaches, click through to see more of the most talked about pregnancies in the history of the small screen.
"I Love Lucy," Little Ricky
When Lucy Ricardo became pregnant with Little Ricky in 1952, <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/more-than-60-years-ago-a-pregnant-lucille-ball-cou,100629/" target="_blank">Lucille Ball wasn't allowed to say the "p" word on TV</a>. The pregnancy made waves -- just as "I Love Lucy" had -- and still goes down in history as a historic TV moment.
"The Flintstones," Pebbles
Pebbles Flintstone arrived on the scene in 1963, three years after "The Flintstones" premiered. Wilma's pregnancy was one the show's few long-running storylines, lasting about a month.
Samantha Stephens' (Elizabeth Montgomery) powers caused all sorts of problems on "Bewitched." When the character became pregnant (because Montgomery was pregnant in real life and it was written in) in a 1965 episode, the anticipation surrounding baby Tabitha was about whether or not she'd have powers. Spoiler alert: She did.
"All in the Family," Joey
Little Joey was the son of Mike "Meathead" Stivic (Rob Reiner) and Gloria (Sally Struthers) and grandson of Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) and Archie's only grandson, who was born in a 1975 episode, showed a slightly softer side the character.
"Murphy Brown," Avery
"Murphy Brown" made headlines in 1992 when its title character got pregnant and didn't have the support of the father. Murphy (Candice Bergen) decided to raise the baby on her own and her single motherhood became a talking point around the country, including then-Vice President Dan Quayle.
"ER," Tess and Kate
It wouldn't be an "ER" birth if the mother wasn't in danger. In this case, the mother was Carol (Julianna Margulies) and the father -- who wasn't there -- was Doug (George Clooney), one of the original "ER" characters. The 1999 episode in which Carol delivered the twins also introduced Maura Tierney's character Abby Lockhart.
When Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) announced she was pregnant, everybody was left wondering who the father was. It turns out it was Ross (David Schwimmer) her on-again/off-again boyfriend. The baby, born in 2002, didn't immediately unite the couple, but the two ended up together in the end.
Claire (Emile de Ravin) was pregnant when the plane crashed on "Lost." She held it together long enough to get abducted, tested and abducted again before finally giving birth in 2005 to baby Aaron with the help of Kate (Evangeline Lilly).
"Modern Family," Lily
Lily made her first appearance on "Modern Family" in the first episode in 2009. While there wasn't a lot of time to anticipate her birth, her adoption by a gay couple did make headlines as part of the progressive show.