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As i was watching JOB SWITCHING tonight, and I thought, hey, every character has some great comedic scenes in this one and the laughs never stop.  It's funny from beginning to end.  Just the best one they ever did, just perfect.  I used to think Vitameatavegamin  was the absolute best, but in that one, only Lucy shines.  In this one everybody does.  Which episode do YOU consider the very best of the entire series?  

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I also consider Job Switching to be the best. Vitametavegamin is more along the lines of "Lucy Conducts The Symphony" from season 2 of TLS. It's one of Lucy's greatest solo bits, but it doesn't exemplify the true spirit of the series which is Lucy and her ensemble. Another thing I noticed about Job Switching was that it was the only episode of the series to really have a subplot. (Rick and Fred cleaning and cooking)

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Job Switching because everyone gets a chance to shine in this episode and it had so many funny moments from start to finish.

 

I never quite understood why Lucy Does a TV Commercial and sometimes Lucy's Italian Movie were ranked higher than Job Switching as the most memorable or best I Love Lucy episode in various TV lists. Both of these episodes really had one truly funny moment and it was focused on Lucy (not to say that's bad). The rest of the time in both episodes was focused on the built-up and later the wrap-up. Nothing was particularly funny in either case. And poor Vivian Vance, Lucy's partner-in-crime (and America's favorite second banana), was missing in TV Commercial. I would go as far as saying that even L.A. At Last is better than these two as it was funny from start to finish and had not one but TWO climaxes (Brown Derby, Lucy's nose on Fire). Not to mention, it was only the ILL episode that was submitted as Best Writing in a TV series/Best Written Matierial in the Emmy Awards.

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I remember having this very discussion a few months ago on here. I do feel that Vitameatavegamin is Lucy's best bit, but "Lucy Does A TV Commercial" is structurally flawed in that, not only is it sans Ethel Mae, but nobody else besides Lucy really gets the chance to be funny. 

 

In contrast, "Job Switching," as was noted above (and months ago), gives everyone something. The script is perfect, with an unbelievably simple, and yet rich, premise that allows for sharp dialogue and SEVERAL bits of physical comedy. (My opinion is in the minority, but I think Ricky and Fred in the kitchen is almost as funny, if not just as funny, as the conveyer belt scene.) 

 

My sentiments regarding the other two episodes often cited as Lucy's best are similar. While I feel that Lucy's individual bit in the grape vat in "Lucy's Italian Movie" is absolutely brilliant, "L.A. At Last!" is undoubtedly the much better episode -- more consistently funny, with a stronger script, and as was stated above, multiple climaxes. It's superb. 

 

I think what makes a great Lucy episode into a great Lucy episode is that it's funny from start to finish, and usually that means that all the characters must be firing on all cylinders. Fortunately, this happens quite often on I Love Lucy (why it's the best sitcom of all time). Though none may be as sharp and slapstick-ingly satisfying as "Job Switching," there are dozens of episodes that I think are similarly so well-constructed. Off the top of my head:

 

"The Gossip"

"Pioneer Women"

"The Operetta"

"Lucy Hires An English Tutor"

"The Matchmaker"

"Redecorating The Mertzes' Apartment"

"The Diner"

"Ethel's Birthday"

"Lucy Learns To Drive"

"First Stop"

"Ethel's Home Town" 

"Ricky Needs An Agent"

"Staten Island Ferry"

"Lucy Gets A Paris Gown" 

"Deep Sea Fishing" (structurally)

"Lucy Wants To Move To The Country"

"Lucy's Night In Town"

"Country Club Dance"

"Lucy Raises Tulips" (excellent in that Ricky's responsible for the ultimate goof) 

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IMO, LA at Last in the best in the start-to-finish greatness category.

Other contenders:

Staten Island Ferry

Dancing Star

Operetta

Gossip

Pearls

Ricky Needs a Raise

Ethel's Hometown

Great Train Roberry

Million Dollar Idea

 

It's harder to come up with a GREAT start-to-finish Lucy Show but my vote would be Electric Mattress even though there's not much of an actual plot.

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LA At Last is in my top 5 favorite and probably the only one in that group with an instantly recognizable/deemed classic scene. I like it for the fact that it is all the way through funny, not just the one famous part. I agree with your assessment of Commercial and Italian Movie. The rest of the episode just serves as a way to get to the end. Now there are many more like that but it’s those 2 ending scenes that have been the tops in this set up. Still though if you showed the scene of the guys at home cooking to an audience and told them to name the episode in relation to a famous scene many probably could not. Well they are not going to guess Italian Movie since clearly they are in Italy but there are others they cold pick from. In LA At Last you can have that same audience pinpoint the episode better because 1. Holden is part of both climax scenes and 2. because the Derby scene (or at least the pie bit) can stand alone as a classic funny moment.

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The best I Love Lucy episode (very hard to choose) is L.A. at Last with William Holden.  The whole episode from start to finish is well structured and beautifully written.  It's Lucille Ball at her peak.  This episode shows that Lucy is the epitome of comedy. 

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I do admit that even I, as I was preparing to post this thread, thought that L A At Last IS the all time best episode of the series, but that's just because it has been MY particular favorite for over fifty years.  BUT, as I watched Job Switching for the thousandth time, and examined it closely, all the elements seemed perfect and I couldn't think of any other show topping it.  I agree that the reason Vita and Grapes are considered by many to be better are because Lucille Ball in her flawless execution of the two key scenes in both episodes is just comedic genius, that will never ever be duplicated by any other actress in any other scene.   E V E R !  Being Lucille Ball's ultimate number one fan for half a century or more, I just cringe when I read comments like that ep was missing Viv, or the guys did almost as good a job as Lucy, the thing is, as even Desi once said, Lucy was the show, give her ninety percent of the credit and split the rest among us, the other people involved in the series.  Yes, I admit that the OTHERS contributed greatly but you also must admit that in comedic slapstick, nobody else can touch her, not Carol Burnett, not Betty White, N O B O D Y ! 

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I do admit that even I, as I was preparing to post this thread, thought that L A At Last IS the all time best episode of the series, but that's just because it has been MY particular favorite for over fifty years.  BUT, as I watched Job Switching for the thousandth time, and examined it closely, all the elements seemed perfect and I couldn't think of any other show topping it.  I agree that the reason Vita and Grapes are considered by many to be better are because Lucille Ball in her flawless execution of the two key scenes in both episodes is just comedic genius, that will never ever be duplicated by any other actress in any other scene.   E V E R !  Being Lucille Ball's ultimate number one fan for half a century or more, I just cringe when I read comments like that ep was missing Viv, or the guys did almost as good a job as Lucy, the thing is, as even Desi once said, Lucy was the show, give her ninety percent of the credit and split the rest among us, the other people involved in the series.  Yes, I admit that the OTHERS contributed greatly but you also must admit that in comedic slapstick, nobody else can touch her, not Carol Burnett, not Betty White, N O B O D Y ! 

 

Again, nobody's knocking Lucy. On LucyLounge, why would we? And I completely understand and am in agreement with your point-of-view: Lucy's the best, no one comes close. My feeling is just that, to use Desi's quote, since Lucy IS the show, the better everyone else does, the better reflection that is upon her. (I think this is partially why we loungers tend to view the final two seasons of Here's Lucy as the best of that series -- because it opened up into more of an ensemble, allowing for stronger interplay and comedy between the regulars, as opposed to just Lucy and Guest Star X.) I love Lucy, but Ethel was an integral part of the series. She may not have been needed for Ball to showcase her personal genius (especially in a bit like Vitameatavegamin), but Vance always added something special to the proceedings, and I do miss her in the episodes of I Love Lucy in which her character does not appear. (Same for Bill Frawley.) 

 

As for "L.A. At Last!," I think it's one of the funniest -- or perhaps the funniest -- installment. But I think, between the two, I do have a slight preference for "Job Switching," simply based on the solidarity of the premise: the husbands and wives switch roles. Hilarity ensues on both ends, yielding an unforgettable (and chocolatey) television moment. And if I did have to pick one episode to REPRESENT the series, it would probably be this one. 

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Again, nobody's knocking Lucy. On LucyLounge, why would we? And I completely understand and am in agreement with your point-of-view: Lucy's the best, no one comes close. My feeling is just that, to use Desi's quote, since Lucy IS the show, the better everyone else does, the better reflection that is upon her. (I think this is partially why we loungers tend to view the final two seasons of Here's Lucy as the best of that series -- because it opened up into more of an ensemble, allowing for stronger interplay and comedy between the regulars, as opposed to just Lucy and Guest Star X.) I love Lucy, but Ethel was an integral part of the series. She may not have been needed for Ball to showcase her personal genius (especially in a bit like Vitameatavegamin), but Vance always added something special to the proceedings, and I do miss her in the episodes of I Love Lucy in which her character does not appear. (Same for Bill Frawley.)

 

Agreed.

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Upperco, you're absolutely right of course, it's my fault, MY focus is always on Lucy, as it was HER series.  But even I thought at the time of The Mary Tyler Moore show that it would have been great if Lucy had had an ensemble of co stars that could have ended up making her look better, of course, I'm talking about her later two series and not the ILL show, where she DID have co stars that helped make her shine, it's a very difficult position to be in when you hear Brock sing the praises of Gale and back then, I like many others, could not stand him.  But Lucy was a pro in comedy and she knew how great he was, as did Burton when he commented on his performance.  It took ME much longer to recognize that just like Viv, Gale ended up being her perfect sidekick for all her nutty adventures as I'm remembering the woman who thought she was also a comic genius and the man who was constantly yelling at her and was one dimensional.  BUT, that's the writers' fault, not Viv and Gale.  It was even just on HERE at The Lounge that Brock convinced me with Lucy the Fixer, that Lucy and Gale were doing Laurel and Hardy just as well as the original duo had and same for Lucy and Viv when I witness Installing the shower as I did last night.  SHE WAS THE BEST, HAD THE BEST WRITERS, AND SURROUNDED HERSELF WITH THE BEST PERFORMERS and always shone when she did. 

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Lucy is Envious. Hands down. No contest.

 

Okay, kidding. I like that one but it's not on my "top" list.

 

My personal favorite would have to be Lucy Learns to Drive. It doesn't have a wasted moment, and the sense of anticipation for the upcoming road trip is palpable. And all characters have standout moments for me.

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Well, it does have one of my all time favorite lines of the whole series on that one, HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW YOU CAN'T MAKE A U TURN IN THE HOLLAND TUNNEL?

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As for Learns to Drive, I find the MFH counterpart funnier. I think season 4 is the best season as far as consitency goes. Of the 3 'sections' of the season (NY, Road Trip, Hollywood) each has at least one stand out hilarious episode.

I'm still standing by my favorite of the series:

"Ricky Needs an Agent"

It gives Lucy some good meddling and has my favorite line from the entire series:

"He killed her and tried to hide her body under the couch!!!"

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I'm still standing by my favorite of the series:

"Ricky Needs an Agent"

It gives Lucy some good meddling and has my favorite line from the entire series:

"He killed her and tried to hide her body under the couch!!!"

 

This gets my vote as well.

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Sorry, but I dun't, I am so sick of seeing that part over and over, there's almost nothing funny about it, the only one unfunnier is when they've all bought the same painting, LOL!  I too love Ricky Needs an Agent, but it's not even in my top ten of the series.  Although you guys always praising it might make it crack my top ten soon.  LOL!

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My least favorite eps are the ones where the characters go through the same experiences.

The only one I can think of now is the shower scene w/ Fernando Lamaas.

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Oh yeah, that was so bloody stupid and boring.

Fernando Lamas wet, dripping out of the shower was boring??? Think again!  :HALKING:

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Mildly titillating the first and even second times, but FOUR times?  So unrealistic and showed how tired the writers were at that point.

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