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What episodes are you watching of "Life with Lucy"?

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5 hours ago, Neil said:

Mid-October front page headline in Enquirer/Globe/One of those  "Cary Grant: Lucy Wants Me to Save Her Show".  Can't remember the story but evidently he was asked.  I wonder how serious this negotiation got.  He died in November 29, 1986.

Interesting. So there was talk of both Cary Grant and Bob Hope appearing. Pity that never happened. 

LUCY: There's Cary Grant!

MARGO: Where!?

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56 minutes ago, Mot Morenzi said:

 

LUCY: There's Cary Grant!

MARGO: Where!?

LUCY: Margo, did I ever tell you about the time Cary Grant asked me to marry him?

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World's Greatest Grandma

I have a hard time watching this one, given the lump it puts in my throat. Though not intentional, it's status as the last sitcom episode Lucille would ever shoot is very poignant in hindsight. The "Sunrise, Sunset" monologue gets me every time. And could there EVER have been a more fitting final line for her to deliver than "Boy, am I a winner!" She was indeed. 

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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.

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11 hours ago, teenageluminary said:

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.

Had Lucille been willing to step more outside the "Lucy" mold, the results could've been fascinating. I think you're absolutely right about Gary being a brick wall to that possibility, however. Lucie Arnaz put it best in her archive interview, where she said that Gary was good for her in so many ways but wasn't the best person to make her career decisions, especially on his own without any second opinions. 

As it is, while Life With Lucy had its issues, there was plenty of room to work with what they had, and the show was already undergoing development and growth. The last four produced were quite a bit stronger than many that preceded them. Had they continued past the initial 13, I'm sure the quality would've continued to improve even more. Plus, as you pointed out, it's far more watchable than many other shows of the era. I'd take Life With Lucy over the likes of Full House any day!

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Very interesting compilation of a bunch of intros for other failed comedies of the 80s.    I recognized a few established stars (Brian Dennehy) and a few that went on to great work (Bryan Cranston).  But for the most part, these actors were never heard from again.  Imagine toiling in show business and getting your BIG BREAK, featuring prominently enough in a new network show that your name is in the opening credits....writing all your friends back home (and you know how friends back home can be)....and then a year later, your agent is not returning your calls.   A heart-breaking business: show. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Neil said:

Very interesting compilation of a bunch of intros for other failed comedies of the 80s.    I recognized a few established stars (Brian Dennehy) and a few that went on to great work (Bryan Cranston).  But for the most part, these actors were never heard from again.  Imagine toiling in show business and getting your BIG BREAK, featuring prominently enough in a new network show that your name is in the opening credits....writing all your friends back home (and you know how friends back home can be)....and then a year later, your agent is not returning your calls.   A heart-breaking business: show. 

 

 

Evidence of why the sitcom was declared dead before "Cosby" and "The Golden Girls."  What a pile of drek.  Some of those credits seem like parodies of the early 80s.

This is also evidence that "Life With Lucy" was judged too harshly.

 

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I used to think parodies of 80s sitcom intros were largely exaggerated. I was dead wrong. 

Most of these look like slightly different marketing campaigns for the exact same show. 

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I'm currently rewatching the show in production order, and it does make a subtle, but noticeable, difference.

For one thing, Ted and Margo's physical appearances evolve more naturally. Margo didn't start wearing the curly hair style until later on, while Ted wore his glasses more consistently in the early episodes. Eventually, you only saw him with glasses when he was reading, then they disappeared almost entirely, as I remember. It's a bit more inconsistent if watched in broadcast order. 

Personally, I think there should've been more time devoted to Lucy and Curtis settling into the house, and the rest of the family adjusting to their presence. As it is, come episode 2, "Guard Goose," everyone acts as though they've always lived under the same roof. Ted's frustration and scepticism from the premiere is almost completely abandoned from this point forward.

At least episodes like "Up a Tree" and "Breaking Up" acknowledged the pitfalls of having to share space with relatives, but a few more episodes chronicling the moving in period would've been nice. 

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The John Ritter show must've been an absolute blast to attend. The audience is really having a great time. Four entrance applauses in the first few minutes alone: Lucy, Gale, Ruth and John. Ruth Buzzi's appearance is delightful, but I can't help but wonder: why hire somebody so well-known for such a small part? Maybe they intended Mrs. Wilcox to be recurring and play a more substantial role down the line?

Lucy's energy level is palpable throughout and Ritter brings a lot of charm. This is probably the most Lucy Show/Here's Lucy-esque episode of the bunch, what with the theme of Lucy inadvertently causing harm to a celebrity, taking said person home and doing her utmost to fix the situation, then ultimately winding up in a high production-values show. The painted backdrop for the play is more lifelike and realistic than most of the canvases impersonating ACTUAL scenery in Lucy episodes!

The actress who was originally portraying the nurse quits awfully abruptly, after questioning only two moments of motivation. I guess we're supposed to infer that this has been going on since rehearsals began, but it feels a little underdeveloped. Perhaps they should've had Lucy fiddling about on the stage and accidentally dropping a sandbag on her. That'd better explain the need for a replacement!

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In Stu Shostak's show recent look back on LWL, Tom said that the night John's episode aired Lucy invited him to the house to watch. Everyone said how nice a guy John was not only in the show but on set all week. 

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I enjoyed "Sax Symbol" moreso this time around than I did a few months ago. The steamer trunk she pulls it out of: could that be the same trunk used on the "I Love Lucy" saxophone episode?

I think my perception of this episode was coloured by Fidelman's opinion. He felt the writers missed the boat by not focusing the script around Lucy, and that the story was too sticky and sentimental. Rewatching it made me realise, however, that it was natural for Lucy to want Becky following in her footsteps. Better to acknowledge that Lucy's living with her family rather than just treat them like props! As others have noted, she was carrying too much of the show as it was. 

I enjoyed Larry and Ann's "Three Stooges" routine. Moments like this prove they had untapped comedic potential. 

Kevin's friend - Max, right? - Eddie Haskell in training! Luvs, you said awhile back to watch out for him. I think you're right. You just know he grew up into a real asshole! :D 

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