Here's Lucy premiere Episode 1 "Mod Mod Lucy". The introduction of the kids: they're OK, if a little over-the top-hammy in their line readings. The script is fine, by Here's Lucy standards, with the best line being "Does Mahalia Jackson go surfing before a concert?". But the "You'll have your vocalist....Sonny? Meet Cher" line that ends the 2nd act promises us some comedy in the 3rd act. Instead what we get is Lucy's first on-series dubbed singing of "All Alone", composed by every teenager's favorite Irving Berlin. It's not challenging vocally so I don't know why a dubber was necessary. Nobody has yet confirmed who the ghost-singer is. It's definitely not Carole Cook. Some have suggested it was Lucie herself. Maybe. "All Alone" segues in that trusted Here's Lucy stand-by "I Know a Place" with the teens joining in with precision("ish") choreography. Lucy performs her limber dance moves admirably, but where is the comedy? Why not a Mumu Yo Quiro attempt at lipping to Kim's practice tape? Or something else besides this rather overlong dance number, for which I blame just plain lazy writing. When Here's Lucy involved "typical teens", it could be embarrassing as it is here. Interesting that Doris Singleton's (addressed by Harry as "Miss Singleton" and simply "Doris" in the credits. I mean, couldn't these writers have come up with a character name?) role was dropped--she and Lucy share no screen time-- because we could have had some good Ricardo-Appleby rivalry. I wonder if Doris figured in to some of the early proposed plots. Some of the best Lucy Shows from the first two season were those that featured that outer circle of friends: Mary Wickes, Carole Cook, Dorothy Konrad, Kathleen Freeman and the most prominent Mary Jane as Audrey Simmons. Except for the two appearances of Mary Wickes as Isabel, Lucy Carter was virtually friendless until the fanfare-less reappearance of Mary Jane (evidently Miss Lewis got tired of waiting on Lucy Carmichael's doorstep for her return).
Bob&Madelyn made the same mistake with The Mothers In Law as they did creating Life with Lucy, colorless adult children and no steady cohorts for Eve/Kaye or Lucy, but at least Eve & Kaye had each other. Lucy seemed adamant there would be no Viv replacement, but Here's (and LWL) sure would have benefited by a group of semi-regular peers, woman Lucy could conspire with or against. Rumor has it that Viv was approached about returning for Here's, but I haven't confirmed that. Was LBP too cheap to expand their cast beyond the four of them? If so, too bad. (And with Lucie and Desi getting meager scale, there should have been cast money left over). I much preferred the Lucy-Harry relationship later in the run, where there was less bickering (which sometimes bordered on overt hatred, sometimes crossed it), usually from a B&M script. Ski Lift/Dinah, HC-Male Nurse, Kim Moves Out, Wandering Mother & NG as RN are great examples. I find it amusing that for "Milton Berle/Life of Party", it's implied that Saturday nights are regularly shared by Lucy, Mary Jane and HARRY, who normally doesn't like either of them. In defense of the Here's Lucy premiere, it was about as good as 1968 sitcoms got, but disappointing in that they missed the chance to return to a format that involved closeness of a family we actually cared about. The 68-69 Best Comedy nominees were three rather tired long-running series: Get Smart, Bewitched and that insomnia-curing Family Affair, along with two newbies that weren't exactly laughfests: Julia & (the cancelled) Ghost & Mrs. Muir. Get Smart, also cancelled, was the winner. Both Muir & Smart were picked up by other networks for one more season, then scuttled for good while Here's Lucy went on and on, well into the 70s relevant comedy period.