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What episodes are you watching on "I Love Lucy"?

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Neil    1,366
On 2/3/2019 at 9:43 PM, Mot Morenzi said:

Lucy Misses the Mertzes - A touching episode, but rather slow in pace. It's rare to see such a quiet episode with so little action. I do like how it cements the closeness of their friendships, though.

Lucy Gets Chummy With the Neighbors - A good introduction to the Ramseys, and (IMO) the best of the new furniture episodes. I wish Frank Nelson had made more appearances as Ralph, he was quite good in the part. Lucy did have a point - their NYC furniture did not suit that house. 

These are both great ones.  An I Love Lucy episode didn't need a big physical comedy scene to be memorable.  I know of no other series that was able to combine touching and  wildly hilarious episodes, sometimes the same one.  (Some might convincingly argue "All in the Family" did it, but their serious episodes could be a bit ham-handed IMO.)  

Before the days of reference books and episode guides, sometimes you would only catch an episode here and there.  And these syndicated prints sometimes unceremoniously lopped off the first 5 minutes.    I remember seeing one of these moving to the country episodes and assumed the Mertzes were being written out of the show.   Adjusted for inflation, Lucy's furniture expenditure was over $31,000!  No wonder she collapsed in that rocking chair, one of my favorite bits in that episode.   The premise of Lucy mistaking stock numbers for prices was very clever.  

Poor Ethel.after 15 years of being a part of the excitement Lucy brought to her life,  then being left with lumpy, sags-in-the-wrong-places Fred, I would cry too!  When reference books first started being published, Frank Nelson was listed as a 1957 regular despite the fact his Ralph Ramsey appeared in only TWO episodes.  (Am I right?).  Bobbie the Bellboy appeared in more!

"Mot": Were there many "new furniture" episodes?  I only remember one other one. 

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Mot Morenzi    1,549

Let me see. There was the phone giveaway episode in season 2. Then we had Lucy Wants New Furniture the following year, and she gave her old stuff to the Mertzes. 

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Neil    1,366

Mot inspired me to rewatch the episodes "Misses the Mertzes" and "Chummy with Neighbors" (also "Hates to Leave").   The bit is "Misses" about just missing each other at the train station was done again in "No More Double Dates" and "Serves a Summons" from TLS season 1 and 2.  I think it works each time.  Very well choreographed.  I can't think of another time it was done.   (I'm not counting in this category where people are in the same house but don't know the other is there like "Summer Vacation" ---a bit repeated in "The Carol Channing Show" pilot).

 

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Freddie2    858

"The Diner" is an episode that doesn't work as well as I remember it. Beyond the slight logic bump of Ricky hastily deciding to quit showbusiness entirely with Lucy's support and the Mertzes agreeing to partner with them at the restaurant (whatever happened to never doing business with friends?), the whole thing feels kind of clunky. A lot of it has to do with the technical aspects of the episode, the sound mixing is wonky with a lot of ADR and there seems to be more pickup shots than usual. It doesn't help that the shape of the diner set appears to be very awkward for the camera setup. The shot of the Ricardos and the Mertzes poised with pies on opposing sides of the counter should be an iconic image from the show. In fact, you'd think that a pie fight would be among the most memorable of the series' sight gags, but I feel like the whole thing is sub-par (for Lucy standards of course). Compare this with the rest of season three, which is easily the "smallest" of all the seasons but is still remarkably consistent and funny. 

Side Note: The gang pays $2,000 total for the diner, which would amount to around $18,000 today. Unless that was just a down payment, it's a remarkably small sum. Assuming that the restaurant was within several blocks of their building, even the smallest business would cost way more today. Their 15 cent hamburgers translate to $1.40 in 2019. Nowadays if someone in Manhattan offered me a hamburger for less than $5, I wouldn't trust it!

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Mot Morenzi    1,549

Good observations. I like how you describe season three as the smallest. I take it you mean in terms of "event" episodes? If so, you're right that it's content just to play with things as they are, and isn't trying to constantly shake things up.

I love how settled everyone feels this season. Lucy and Ricky have the baby and the new apartment, and are obviously happy with what they have (except in "Lucy is Envious"). This year produced some of my favorite episode, with everyone just getting up to misadventures around the apartment. No trips, no life-changing events, just two NYC couples living life. 

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Freddie2    858
4 hours ago, Mot Morenzi said:

Good observations. I like how you describe season three as the smallest. I take it you mean in terms of "event" episodes? If so, you're right that it's content just to play with things as they are, and isn't trying to constantly shake things up.

I love how settled everyone feels this season. Lucy and Ricky have the baby and the new apartment, and are obviously happy with what they have (except in "Lucy is Envious"). This year produced some of my favorite episode, with everyone just getting up to misadventures around the apartment. No trips, no life-changing events, just two NYC couples living life. 

Yes- no big events and most of the plots are very domestic. There isn’t even that much emphasis on Lucy wanting to get into show business, although that wouldn’t last long. It’s interesting how every season is so unique from the others but they all still flow together.

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Mot Morenzi    1,549
6 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

Yes- no big events and most of the plots are very domestic. There isn’t even that much emphasis on Lucy wanting to get into show business, although that wouldn’t last long. It’s interesting how every season is so unique from the others but they all still flow together.

It's true. I can always tell which season I'm watching. Okay, the different apartment sets and Hollywood Hotel are major distinguishing factors, but I can also tell just by the tone of the episode which year it was from. Season 1 was zany silliness; 2 was more grounded and had Lucy and Ricky mature with the baby's arrival; 3 was the content season, with everyone adjusted to their new dynamics; 4 was the big event year, with Hollywood and big dreams on the horizon; 5 was everyone taking over the world; 6 was the Ricardos settling into middle age and the suburbs with a school-age child; and the hour longs were the guest-star spectaculars.

I'd never really thought of the evolution in those terms before, but it was a very logical progression from a young, married couple still starting out evolving into "two people who live together and like it." 

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Neil    1,366
4 hours ago, Mot Morenzi said:

It's true. I can always tell which season I'm watching. Okay, the different apartment sets and Hollywood Hotel are major distinguishing factors, but I can also tell just by the tone of the episode which year it was from. Season 1 was zany silliness; 2 was more grounded and had Lucy and Ricky mature with the baby's arrival; 3 was the content season, with everyone adjusted to their new dynamics; 4 was the big event year, with Hollywood and big dreams on the horizon; 5 was everyone taking over the world; 6 was the Ricardos settling into middle age and the suburbs with a school-age child; and the hour longs were the guest-star spectaculars.

I'd never really thought of the evolution in those terms before, but it was a very logical progression from a young, married couple still starting out evolving into "two people who live together and like it." 

Season three is so SOLID but what it's missing is a story arc.  

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Neil    1,366

After the 5 (by my count)  story arcs in I Love Lucy did so well, I'm surprised there were NONE in The Lucy Show and only one in Here's Lucy---not counting 2-part episodes or Lucy's broken leg (arc forced on them).  I wish the 2nd season HL location shows had been better.  Too much bickering took the enjoyment of the 'fun' aspect out of the trip (contrast these with  Hollywood or Europe).   "Rapids" is probably the best one, but I like it more for the amazingly fearless stunts 59 year old Lucille Ball did than for the humor.   I've seen a picture of the "Rapids" set and there is a lucy body-double, so she may have been used for long shots---and when Lucy is yanked off the rock into the water.   That looks like the real Gale Gordon stepping into the raft and slipping head-first into the COLD COLD river.

Re: the comment about the Richardo's progression from young marrieds to middle-age.  Yes.  And it certainly happened FAST.  Fred and Ethel aged better than Lucy and Ricky.  1959 Desi barely resembles the boyish 34 year old in season 1, in looks or demeanor.  Lucy still looked great but the change in hairstyle made her look more matronly, though not tragically so. 

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Mot Morenzi    1,549
1 minute ago, Neil said:

Re: the comment about the Richardo's progression from young marrieds to middle-age.  Yes.  And it certainly happened FAST.  Fred and Ethel aged better than Lucy and Ricky.  1959 Desi barely resembles the boyish 34 year old in season 1, in looks or demeanor.  Lucy still looked great but the change in hairstyle made her look more matronly, though not tragically so. 

I'd never consciously registered that before, but you're absolutely right. Lucy and Ricky changed far more in appearance than Fred and Ethel did. If anything, Lucy grew older looking while Ethel got younger every year. Maybe Mrs. Mertz was slowly sucking the life out of Mrs. Ricardo through some enchantment Mrs. Trumbull taught her? (Neil, spinoff idea: Mrs. Trumbull is head of secret witches coven, along with Lucy's mother).

Desi suffered in particular. It's even more shocking when you see him a mere 7 years later on "The Mothers-in-Law" and realize he was only 50. Stress and alcohol make a potent ageing potion. Lucy still looked good by the end of the run, but the weariness around her eyes is striking. As well, the harsher lines on her face do give her a more stern countenance. Kusley's Kontraption did allow her to look considerably less worn-out for most of the hour longs, but it's unfortunate she couldn't have had a differently styled wig. The artichoke cut was not especially flattering on her. 

Vivian was positively glamorous during the final years. The elegant flipped hairstyles, the more expensive clothes. I know this was done at Vivian's request, and there's no denying how great she looked, but it's harder to believe she's Ethel when done up all fancy schmancy. Either Fred really loosened the purse strings during those final seasons, or Ethel had far more dresses than she ever let on. Or maybe she just hid Fred's glasses to steal from his money belt and didn't give them back until she'd had each dress a while.

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Neil    1,366

I remember seeing "Lucy Makes Room for Danny" at night in the summer when CBS ran the 13 as a series (for FIVE years, GodBlessEm).   They must have been running first season I Love Lucys during the day simultaneously.  Because I was surprised by the almost-menacingly scary volume and tone with which Ricky yells at Lucy was she emerges from the Williams' bedroom (specifically his reading of "LUCY!!!" ); as opposed to the less volatile 1951 Ricky. 

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Mot Morenzi    1,549

Though you could explain away Little Ricky's switch from toddler to child over the course of one season as a continuity error, I think a more believable approach is that several years have passed between seasons 5 and 6. Lucy and Ricky's older looking appearance helps support that theory. Maybe that final half-hour season was closer to 1960 than 1957.

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Mot Morenzi    1,549

Country Club Dance - What I like about this episode is the three couple dynamic: The Ramseys play an equal role to the Mertzes as the Ricardo's friends. Had the show continued, I would've liked to have seen more of this. The scene of the three women at the breakfast table is particularly well done. Mary Jane Croft fit in so well with Lucy and Vivian that it felt like she'd always been there. It's unfortunate the show ended before Betty got a chance to join in more of Lucy and Ethel's schemes. I wish the hour-longs had incorporated more established characters from the original series, but I guess there "just wasn't room for all of you" alongside the guest-stars.  

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Freddie2    858
4 hours ago, Mot Morenzi said:

Country Club Dance - What I like about this episode is the three couple dynamic: The Ramseys play and equal role to the Mertzes as the Ricardo's friends. Had the show continued, I would've liked to have seen more of this. The scene of the three women at the breakfast table is particularly well done. Mary Jane Croft fit in so well with Lucy and Vivian that it felt like she'd always been there. It's unfortunate the show ended before Betty got a chance to join in more of Lucy and Ethel's schemes. I wish the hour-longs had incorporated more established characters from the original series, but I guess there "just wasn't room for all of you" alongside the guest-stars.  

I wonder at what point during the sixth season they decided to end the weekly show and transition into the comedy hours. It seems weird to make such a hefty change and then end the series. The first half of season six is pretty tired in comparison to the rest of the show, but the story arc of moving to the country and the small batch of episodes after everyone gets into the groove of Westport are some of the best of the series. ILL's tenure in Connecticut is a whopping thirteen episodes- that's only about 7% of the series- and that includes "Hates to Leave", "Misses The Mertzes", and "Night in Town", all of which spend a lot of time in New York. For such a brief run, the Connecticut episodes are so fondly remembered you'd think there were a lot more of them. The show probably could have squeezed another year or two out of its new setting, but we can't change that, can we?

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Mot Morenzi    1,549
7 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

I wonder at what point during the sixth season they decided to end the weekly show and transition into the comedy hours. It seems weird to make such a hefty change and then end the series. The first half of season six is pretty tired in comparison to the rest of the show, but the story arc of moving to the country and the small batch of episodes after everyone gets into the groove of Westport are some of the best of the series. ILL's tenure in Connecticut is a whopping thirteen episodes- that's only about 7% of the series- and that includes "Hates to Leave", "Misses The Mertzes", and "Night in Town", all of which spend a lot of time in New York. For such a brief run, the Connecticut episodes are so fondly remembered you'd think there were a lot more of them. The show probably could have squeezed another year or two out of its new setting, but we can't change that, can we?

I recall that Desi had wanted to transition to hour shows for some time before it ultimately happened. I read somewhere that his schedule as Desilu president basically precluded him playing Ricky full-time anymore, hence the guest-star driven focus of the comedy hours. 

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Neil    1,366
6 hours ago, Mot Morenzi said:

Country Club Dance - What I like about this episode is the three couple dynamic: The Ramseys play and equal role to the Mertzes as the Ricardo's friends. Had the show continued, I would've liked to have seen more of this. The scene of the three women at the breakfast table is particularly well done. Mary Jane Croft fit in so well with Lucy and Vivian that it felt like she'd always been there. It's unfortunate the show ended before Betty got a chance to join in more of Lucy and Ethel's schemes. I wish the hour-longs had incorporated more established characters from the original series, but I guess there "just wasn't room for all of you" alongside the guest-stars.  

I adore Frank Nelson in everything he's done.  He's fine with his little scene in "Buys New Furniture" but I don't think his interpretation of Ralph Ramsey is good in the "Country Club" episode.  He doesn't bring his usual zest to the character.   He's merely serviceable but it really wasn't written to his talents. I don't know what actor would have been better, though.  (probably a little too early for RG Brown).  When  reference books that listed cast members started being published, Frank and Mary Jane were listed as regulars in 1957.  This was before we had ready access to episodes so I assumed he was in more than TWO, hardly what you'd call a "regular".   ("Housewarming"---'Where's Ralph?"  "Still away on a trip!". In other words: "we didn't want to pay Frank Nelson for a cameo!")  Bobby the Bellboy appeared in more!   Ditto Charles Lane in the Lucy Show.  I was SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED to learn later that he only appeared in FOUR.   Don Briggs and a host of others did more than that.  Same with Dick Martin's paltry six episodes.  I think the show lost a little something by getting rid of next-door put-upon neighbor and sometimes Lucy-date Harry Connors.  "No More Double Dates" implies there was more going on between he and Lucy Carmichael than him being roped into helping the mechanically-challenged ladies with household projects.   I've never seen the "Lucy and Viv Fight Over Harry" script.  Has anyone else?

Lucy Show first season cast of regulars and semi-regulars included Lucy, Viv, Harry, Barnsdahl, Jerry , Sherman, Chris, Thelma Green, Dorothy, Audrey Simmons, Viv's beau Eddie, Alan Harper (and more? I can't think of any right this very minute).  The Lucy Show's 6th season premiere ("Meets the Berles") had 1/12th of those: only Lucy.  Just LUCY.    Never has a hit show gone through so many metamorphoses. "The Doris Day Show", you say?  Yes, but that was never a bona fide HIT.  And never the LOL sitcom the underrated, under-appreciated "Lucy Show" was.  ILL purists disagree with me (but when I say they're wrong, THEY'RE WRONG!).   You youngsters don't realize what comedic-tepid fare was being offered at the same time as TLS (and HL, for that matter).   "The Lucy Show" even in its less than stellar offerings was usually good for a laugh and better than 80% of what else was on.   At its best it was well-structured comedy.   Maybe they weren't producing the classics ILL did (though I think they came close with many eps through the 5th season). I really don't appreciate the way TLS is given the also-ran treatment in discussions of Lucy's TV career.   And I will defend "The Lucy Show" until my dying day.  After that, it's up to one of you younger ones to carry the torch.   

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Mot Morenzi    1,549
15 hours ago, Neil said:

Same with Dick Martin's paltry six episodes.  I think the show lost a little something by getting rid of next-door put-upon neighbor and sometimes Lucy-date Harry Connors.  "No More Double Dates" implies there was more going on between he and Lucy Carmichael than him being roped into helping the mechanically-challenged ladies with household projects.   I've never seen the "Lucy and Viv Fight Over Harry" script.  Has anyone else?

I think Dick Martin appeared in 10 episodes. I agree that writing him out wasn't necessarily the best move. I liked what he brought to the show, and "No More Double Dates" was a welcome change of pace. I wish more episodes had been like that. I'm not usually a fan of "dating" episodes, but they always worked well on Lucille Ball programs. I'd also be very interested in seeing the "Fight Over Harry" script. It's a shame logistics prevented it from being produced.

15 hours ago, Neil said:

"The Lucy Show" even in its less than stellar offerings was usually good for a laugh and better than 80% of what else was on.   At its best it was well-structured comedy.   Maybe they weren't producing the classics ILL did (though I think they came close with many eps through the 5th season). I really don't appreciate the way TLS is given the also-ran treatment in discussions of Lucy's TV career.   And I will defend "The Lucy Show" until my dying day.  After that, it's up to one of you younger ones to carry the torch.   

 I think "The Lucy Show" only pales in comparison to "I Love Lucy," but you're right that it's far more enjoyable than much of what was produced back then. I'm not exactly clamoring to revisit many shows from that era, but even Lucy's less-than-stellar episodes hold up well against a lot of her competition. I think we can all agree that the show could've handled certain things better (I so wish our alternate season 4 with Viv's wedding had been a reality), and some more story arcs would've been welcome, but all in all the show produced a lot of fun, memorable episodes.

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HarryCarter    1,067

I watched Ricky Needs an Agent, my vote for funniest I Love Lucy episode, and wondered why a picture of Joan Crawford and Harry Morgan in Torch Song is in Ricky's scrapbook.

 

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Mot Morenzi    1,549
3 hours ago, HarryCarter said:

I watched Ricky Needs an Agent, my vote for funniest I Love Lucy episode, and wondered why a picture of Joan Crawford and Harry Morgan in Torch Song is in Ricky's scrapbook.

 

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Eagle eyed observation! Ricky really was hobnobbing with the best of them.

That screenshot's a bit eerie, almost like Lucy and Viv predicting their future. "Someday that woman will offer us lemonade."

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Neil    1,366

"Lucy in Paris" "Lucy Gets Paris Gown"---March 12&19, 1956

Burns&Allen "Back from Paris--May 15, 1956.   Gracie is enamored with the dresses by a French designer.  Separately George and Gracie buy the same "original" painting from a sidewalk artist and later reveal them to each other at the same time. 

Coincidence?  probably.  

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