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teenageluminary

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teenageluminary last won the day on May 25 2016

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  1. I watched “Lucy’s Contact Lenses” again this morning. This is one of the better third season episodes, partly because it was written by Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, but I agree with the posters upthread who noted that the dialogue wasn’t as “crisp” as the episodes they wrote with Bob and Madelyn. Bob and Madelyn had a flair for writing witty banter/repartee that the other writers couldn’t seem to replicate. I did notice two major plot holes in this episode though. First, Mr. Mooney says that he put Lucy’s fudge cake aside because his wife “thinks Lucy is the best baker in town,” when the second season finale (“Lucy Enters A Baking Contest,”) established that Lucy Carmichael doesn’t have much of a reputation as a baker. Second, Lucy tells Mr. Mooney that she made the second chocolate fudge cake for his sheepdog, Nelson, but chocolate is supposed to be poisonous to dogs. (Maybe they substituted gravy or something that looks like chocolate for the dog to eat in real life during the filming of this episode?) Aside from those quibbles though, I enjoyed this episode.
  2. I've been watching a couple of episodes of "Life with Lucy" this week, and it's really not a terrible show. Especially when you compare it to shows like "Full House," which premiered on ABC the following year. I know this has been discussed before, but I really think that if Lucy wanted to continue working, her best bet at this point would have been to join an ensemble comedy where she wouldn't have had the burden of carrying the show alone. At the start of 1986, for example, Charlotte Rae had left "The Facts of Life" (which aired opposite "Life with Lucy,") due to health issues, and I think Lucy would have been fine as the new ditzy "house mother" on that show. (I love Cloris Leachman, who ended up taking on the role, but I think any other actress could have done that part.) Also, "Facts" was produced by Norman Lear's production company, and Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf had worked with him on "All in the Family" and other shows, so maybe there could have been a reunion of sorts. Then again, I don't know if Gary would have gone along with it, since it would have meant less money for him. And although "Facts" was about as family-friendly as you could get, they occasionally handled issues (i.e. premarital sex,) that Lucy might have balked at. But it's interesting to think about what could have been.
  3. I agree that the last minute or so (i.e. where Lucy dresses up as a werewolf to "scare" Ben off,) is much too silly. I re-watched this episode yesterday, and I kept thinking that if Desi or Jess Oppenheimer had still been around, this entire gag would have been better-motivated and handled with more humor. Although the Bob and Madelyn episodes of "Here's Lucy" are head and shoulders above the rest, this wasn't one of their better efforts. Then again, Gary and Lucy were in full control at this point, so who knows what was cut from the original script . . .
  4. I was re-watching this episode today, and I agree with the posters upthread who say that it seems a bit "off." The basic premise of the episode (i.e. that Lucy would enter a baking contest just because her friends make fun of her baking,) seems pretty silly - and Desi Arnaz was still producing the show at this point, I think he would have agreed. Vivian seems particularly out of character as well - throughout the episode, she is very condescending to Lucy in a way that just doesn't ring true. In Kathleen Brady's biography, she writes that Lucille was not good at dealing with change. For example, when she realized that Lucie's nanny was being too permissive, she didn't know how to tactfully tell her that, so she drove her off by picking fights. I always wonder if that is what happened here with Bob and Madelyn here - where Lucy realized that it was time to hire new writers and to inject some fresh blood into the series, but just didn't know how to tell them that in a tactful way (hence the alleged outburst where she accused them of trying to ruin her career.)
  5. Sorry to bump this thread back up - I only recently joined the forum - but I've really been enjoying this discussion. I remember back in the '90's, Nick at Nite did a "Lucy" marathon and aired "I Love Lucy" and "Life With Lucy" back to back, and I was shocked at how deep and hoarse her voice had gotten. As a kid, it terrified me! Did Lucy ever acknowledge the change in her voice? I know in Lee Tannen's book, he mentions that Gary made jokes about it when she sang ("We even sing in the same octave!") But I always wondered if she ever saw a voice teacher or made an attempt to fix the problem.
  6. I usually don't watch any episodes past the second season, aside from the more famous ones ("Lucy Dates Dean Martin," "Lucy Gets Jack Benny's Account," etc.) But since I've been snowed in all weekend, I've been watching some of the Season 3 shows online. Looking back, they're they're really not as terrible as I remembered. I did like that Viv had a lot more to do in some of the early episodes, particularly in "Lucy And The Winter Sports" and "Lucy Gets Amnesia." Also, Lucy herself seemed more energized due to the change in writers. The show gets sillier and more cartoon-like about midway through the season - and once Viv's character starts to get phased out, I lose interest.** To this day, I have not seen most of the California episodes, aside from the ones in the public domain (which I didn't care for very much.) Actually, I prefer the early episodes of "Here's Lucy" to the later episodes of "The Lucy Show" that I've seen, if only because the Lucy character had a "home" life again and had other characters to interact with aside from Gale Gordon. ** = I do like the Ann Sothern episodes though, aside from the one where they go to a camp to lose weight (given Ann's well-publicized weight problems, I'm surprised she agreed to do that episode.) It's too bad Ann wasn't willing to be Lucy's permanent co-star once Viv left, because she and Lucy worked very well together.
  7. I remember reading in one of the Lucy biographies that Bob and Madelyn's original script was very different from what eventually aired on television. Apparently, the original draft had more of a "Golden Girls" vibe, and Aaron Spelling/Gary Morton were the ones who pushed to add the grandchildren and to have Gale Gordon's character move into the house. I would be curious to hear about what other changes were made, and why. I've only ever seen the bootleg episodes on YouTube, and they weren't horrible, but Lucy deserved better. I did like the episode with Audrey Meadows as Lucy's sister though - if they had done more shows like that, I think it would have lasted longer. I remember reading somewhere that "Life with Lucy" aired right opposite to "The Facts of Life" over on NBC. Since both shows were family-friendly and aimed at a similar type of audience, I'm guessing ABC thought Lucy could give "Facts" girls a run for the money - especially since Charlotte Rae was leaving "The Facts of Life" that season, and that show had already been in a ratings decline before that.
  8. I like Season Two because it's nice to see the original format of the show in color. Some episodes - i.e. "Lucy Goes Duck Hunting," "Kiddie Parties, Inc.," "Lucy Goes To Art Class," and "Lucy Decides to Redecorate," are about on par with certain episodes of "I Love Lucy" in terms of entertainment value, at least in my opinion. In one of the biographies, they mention that CBS was concerned about the drop in quality between Season One and Season Two, since Desi Arnaz played a role in shaping a good portion of the first season before he left. I don't know if that's true, but you can definitely tell that the writers were running out of ideas. I watched the DVD's in chronological order - and at a certain point, it does get very tedious having every episode focus on Lucy trying to get money from Mr. Mooney. I think the show "jumped the shark" once Milt Josefsberg took over in Season Three and all sense of logic and continuity went out the window, but I give him credit for at least trying to add some fresh plot lines. Also, while I love Gale Gordon (and I'm not sure if it was a contractual thing where they had to include him in a certain number of episodes,) I think the show was at its best when it focused on the Lucy/Viv friendship - I wouldn't have minded if they had used Gale a bit more sparingly this season.
  9. I don't know if this the right thread for this, but on "I Love Lucy," I get annoyed in certain episodes by how cheap Fred is. I know the story about Fred being cheap was an ongoing gag - but in certain episodes, I think he is simply being unreasonable about not paying for things. His refusal to pay for gas on the trip to Hollywood is a good example: I know he and Ethel argue that they shouldn't have to pay for gas because Lucy and Ricky were going to go to California anyway, but everyone knows that a car will go slower and use up more gas depending on how much weight is in the car. Between Fred and Ethel and their suitcases, they were adding at least an extra 300-350 pounds of weight to the car, and Ricky likely had to pay for more gas as a result. I don't think it was at all unreasonable for Ricky and Lucy to insist that he chip in for that cost - especially since Ricky and the studio were paying for everyone's hotel bills once they got out there. But I never understood why Fred always acted like he was broke anyway. We saw the exterior of the Mertzes' apartment building in "California Here We Come," and there were at least 10-20 apartments in that building. From "The Business Manager" episode, we know he was getting at least $100 per apartment in rent money in 1955 dollars (roughly $900 in 2015 dollars.) So really, if anything, he was likely making more money each month than Ricky.
  10. I enjoy any of the episodes where she and Lucy get to do physical comedy together - putting in the shower together, building a boat, building the rumpus room, etc. It was too bad that the writers decided to de-emphasize the slapstick and physical comedy after the first season. I know the biographies give different reasons for that: in "Loving Lucy," for example, they write they producers didn't want Lucy to get injured doing physical stunts, and in "Desilu," the authors write that Lucy had received a lot of homophobic comments about "two old ladies doing comedy together with no male influence around," so they brought in Gale and decided to focus more on verbal hi-jinx. Whatever the reason behind the decision, after they de-emphasized the slapstick/physical comedy piece, it did seem like Vivian's character had a lot less to do - and by the third season, you could tell that she was getting bored with the role and it showed in her acting. Too bad, because (at least in my opinion,) the show took a major dive creatively once she left.
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