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Life With Lucy: The Episodes


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So we have hashed out the reasons behind the scenes and generally on-screen why LWL didn’t work, but I don’t think we have really discussed the episodes in much detail. I re-watched 2 last week.

 

Audrey Meadows episode. It’s been stated many times why this episode works. They finally gave the Lucy character a female to bounce off of. If you look back, the character almost always had someone in this role. Ethel, Viv, the Countess, Mary Jane, Mary Jane, Kim. Yes there were those 4th and 5th season LS’s where we did miss a female counterpart now and then.

 

As for this episode in particular the cake frosting scene was just a rehash that we have seen before, Lucy and Viv in LS Season 1, and Lucy and Viv in LCTP. It seems so forced here. But there are some really good moments in this episode. You generally feel bad for Lucy not getting to help with the wedding planning and it doesn’t resort to any “Lucyish” crying or stunts. Even Curtis is pretty understanding here too. Maybe they figured out that by this point that it wasn’t helping to have him yelling at someone this age. The yelling was also toned down in HL Season 5 because who wants him yelling at a woman with a broken leg. The ending scene (maybe a bit sappy) is really sweet and look at the long look Lucy gives to Audrey in the last frame.

 

The other episode that never seems to get talked about but I think holds up just as well is Love Among the 2x4’s with guest Peter Graves as a past love interest. We start out in the hardware store with Curtis wanting Lucy to go out with the old flame just to get a contract (back to similar HL territory here) but there are some really good moments in this episode and some bad. Tone down the supporting players overacting and get rid of a few physical bit gimmicks (Lucy getting stuck to the tape that goes nowhere,) and you have something. The best moments are: the dance that Lucy and Peter do. She can still move, a little slower though, but looks lovely. The dancing in the unfinished house is pretty nice too, but we do end on another gimmick that has way too much set up for the little pay off. Where this episode shines is how great Lucy looks, especially in the pink dress, and the scene in the kitchen at the end. I know that the sappy endings have been criticized, but in the 80’s a ton of shows did this, Full House is one I especially remember. Lucy and her daughter have a heart to heart about should she go away for the weekend with Peter and when she talks about the dead husband you really feel for her. No stupid jokes in this scene and Lucy plays it so dramatically well. I wonder if what was going on in her personal life affected her acting in this scene and the one in Breaking Up is Hard to Do? I don’t recall the Lucy character ever getting this emotional/reflective in a non-funny way. Thank you for giving her this territory to try out.

 

This episode does offer something else that works that is very missing in both subsequent ILL series, the presence of a man. Some of my favorite LS and HL episodes involve the Lucy character dating. It brings such a sweet, feminine aspect to her. This is all but lost in the 5th and 6th season of LS especially. They may not have needed to make Peter a regular character but throw in the aspect of a grandmother dating. If you look at this episode and the Meadows one you start to border on Golden Girls territory. Rose in an early episode has to get over being with a man for the first time after Charlie died and the general girlfriend cattiness could have worked really well with Lucy and Audrey.

 

Next up the pilot and John Ritter episodes.

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I have never seen the Meadows episode. I did watch the pilot but could barely get through it. I found it painful. God bless Larry Anderson. He seems like a very nice man but I just can't get into the supporting cast. They were terrible. But Im beginning to think it may not have been their fault. They were not given good material to work with and Lucy had them all yelling their lines. That didn't help.

I couldn't stop laughing the last time I saw the John Ritter episode on youtube(don't know if its still there). Not because the show was funny but because of the backstory Stu told about that particular show. Good god! Lucy swallows a harmonica!!? :MrsRichardCarlson: I love Bob and Madeline and they have given us such a treasure trove of classic television but what were they thinking? It was so beyond the realm of realism that no one could buy into it. And therefore no one could invest in it.

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The pilot: I first saw this on a week when Nick at Night was showing rare Lucy so I have a pretty decent copy of this mess. The first thing we notice is the huge, over the top reaction Lucy gets when she walks in the door. This is a fatal flaw that continued to happen every week. With all her other series, Lucy was introduced to the studio audience before the show started filming, so everyone got it out of their system before they started rolling. For this series Gary did not want her introduced ahead of time, so she get’s thunderous applause since it is the first time they see her and the first time in more than 10 years (except for specials). This type of things does continue on each week as well. Also the audience is over the top on their reactions too. Anything she does gets a huge laugh or applause.

 

I think the health food aspect was such a stupid thing to attach to this character and it sort of beats you over the head here. The kids are too hyped up. I like Jenny Lewis and love her work on Brooklyn Bridge in her child acting days, but she was essentially playing the same girl on each show she guested on, except this seemed more annoying and over the top. I would take her Golden Girls or Troup Beverly Hills over this. (interesting note on Jenny, she was in a TV movie in 88’ I believe called Who Get’s the Friends? Guessed who played her mom, Lucie. So the family relation makes sense).

 

On to the hardware store where more gimmicky stuff happens. I think this was the one where they had the pasta maker thing that Curtis get’s his tie run through. Yet again a long set-up for not a big payoff. The editing is clumsy here and you can see he has on a fake tie. Lucy on the ladder does not work for me and the whole ending is so stupid. The writing always went that establish what the pay-off should be and work backwards, so those things seemed logical. Nothing in this seemed logical. You can see all the extra foam coming from everywhere. It’s like they thought of the big joke, but gave no thought to a logical build up to it.

 

The problem with this episode was let’s try to get every physical thing in for a laugh, because that’s what the public is looking for. It sells the viewer short.

 

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The pilot: I first saw this on a week when Nick at Night was showing rare Lucy so I have a pretty decent copy of this mess. The first thing we notice is the huge, over the top reaction Lucy gets when she walks in the door. This is a fatal flaw that continued to happen every week. With all her other series, Lucy was introduced to the studio audience before the show started filming, so everyone got it out of their system before they started rolling. For this series Gary did not want her introduced ahead of time, so she get’s thunderous applause since it is the first time they see her and the first time in more than 10 years (except for specials). This type of things does continue on each week as well. Also the audience is over the top on their reactions too. Anything she does gets a huge laugh or applause.

 

I think the health food aspect was such a stupid thing to attach to this character and it sort of beats you over the head here. The kids are too hyped up. I like Jenny Lewis and love her work on Brooklyn Bridge in her child acting days, but she was essentially playing the same girl on each show she guested on, except this seemed more annoying and over the top. I would take her Golden Girls or Troup Beverly Hills over this. (interesting note on Jenny, she was in a TV movie in 88’ I believe called Who Get’s the Friends? Guessed who played her mom, Lucie. So the family relation makes sense).

 

On to the hardware store where more gimmicky stuff happens. I think this was the one where they had the pasta maker thing that Curtis get’s his tie run through. Yet again a long set-up for not a big payoff. The editing is clumsy here and you can see he has on a fake tie. Lucy on the ladder does not work for me and the whole ending is so stupid. The writing always went that establish what the pay-off should be and work backwards, so those things seemed logical. Nothing in this seemed logical. You can see all the extra foam coming from everywhere. It’s like they thought of the big joke, but gave no thought to a logical build up to it.

 

The problem with this episode was let’s try to get every physical thing in for a laugh, because that’s what the public is looking for. It sells the viewer short.

The first time I tried watching the pilot I stopped when it reached the point where Curtis gets his tie caught in the pasta maker. I just couldn't go on. I found it that painful. I did go back and finish it later.

Are you sure Lucy and the cast weren't introduced before the show? Im pretty sure they were. The problem was the audience continued to overreact to everything she did. And Gary refused to cut her laughs down. He'd cut everyone elses down, including Gales, but not hers. And the end result sounded completely out of place.

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According to Stu, Lucy was not introduced before the show. I have no idea about anyone else. Guest stars typically are not so you get that great reaction.

Really? But I heard him say that Gary would do his "warmup" and then would introduce the cast ending with Lucy by saying" There is one other cast member and try to make her feel welcome" or something to that effect.

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I saw "Breaking Up" live and Gary introduced the rest of the cast but not Lucy saying something like "you'll see Lucy when she makes her entrance and you can give any sort of welcome you want" obviously encouraging a big one---which we gave her. This was OK in episode #1, but not this far into the run of a series. I saw this shortly before the series was canceled.

Would the premiere pay-off with the fire extinguisher filling the store worked if not for that unforgivable shot where we see foam coming from another source? I think it would have.

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I saw "Breaking Up" live and Gary introduced the rest of the cast but not Lucy saying something like "you'll see Lucy when she makes her entrance and you can give any sort of welcome you want" obviously encouraging a big one---which we gave her. This was OK in episode #1, but not this far into the run of a series. I saw this shortly before the series was canceled.

Would the premiere pay-off with the fire extinguisher filling the store worked if not for that unforgivable shot where we see foam coming from another source? I think it would have.

Thank you for clearing that up. Yes Stu said Gary encouraged everyone to give Lucy a huge reaction everytime she entered. And it just didn't sound right on television. The intimacy was gone.

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I've now seen every episode and only just recently watched "World's Greatest Grandma", the last episode filmed. Although it never aired and was a bit schmaltzy, I have to say that it was incredibly moving, made even more so because it was the last sitcom episode Lucille would ever do. It's a shame it didn't air because it was a very touching conclusion to Lucy's TV career, IMO.

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I saw "Breaking Up" live and Gary introduced the rest of the cast but not Lucy saying something like "you'll see Lucy when she makes her entrance and you can give any sort of welcome you want" obviously encouraging a big one---which we gave her. This was OK in episode #1, but not this far into the run of a series. I saw this shortly before the series was canceled.

Would the premiere pay-off with the fire extinguisher filling the store worked if not for that unforgivable shot where we see foam coming from another source? I think it would have.

REAL PROS worked on this show huh?

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WELL. Like everyone the Mother of the Bride episode is the best. But my two favorites is Guard Goose and Lucy Among the Two by Fours. Goose for laughs and Two by Fours because of the sentimental aspect, more dramatic but still cute. I honestly don't know how to explain it well.

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WELL. Like everyone the Mother of the Bride episode is the best. But my two favorites is Guard Goose and Lucy Among the Two by Fours. Goose for laughs and Two by Fours because of the sentimental aspect, more dramatic but still cute. I honestly don't know how to explain it well.

 

Oh, good! I'm so glad to have another Guard Goose fan around here -- if only to share the weird looks saying such things garners. lol It's not the best episode of the series by any means, but IMO the funniest.

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Oh, good! I'm so glad to have another Guard Goose fan around here -- if only to share the weird looks saying such things garners. lol It's not the best episode of the series by any means, but IMO the funniest.

And so realistic too, doesn't everybody have a guard goose protecting their stores? LOL! Another terrific ANIMAL episode, LOL! I'm just surprised it wasn't a midget in a goose outfit.

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Oh, good! I'm so glad to have another Guard Goose fan around here -- if only to share the weird looks saying such things garners. lol It's not the best episode of the series by any means, but IMO the funniest.

Well, I'm betting you're still in the minority!! (No offense) Listen, none of the eps were perfect -- far from perfect -- but at the very least it gave folks one more chance to see Lucy "do her thing" in her own arena and for some of us, to witness that minor miracle with our own eyes. ;)
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Well, I'm betting you're still in the minority!! (No offense) Listen, none of the eps were perfect -- far from perfect -- but at the very least it gave folks one more chance to see Lucy "do her thing" in her own arena and for some of us, to witness that minor miracle with our own eyes. ;)

 

What episode(s) did you see live?

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Oh, good! I'm so glad to have another Guard Goose fan around here -- if only to share the weird looks saying such things garners. lol It's not the best episode of the series by any means, but IMO the funniest.

It's more slapstick than the rest! Plus Gale and Lucy both had their laughs. It's just a feel good episode.

 

Well the John Ritter one is a popular favorite and that is the worst to me. We got to see Lucy as the fangirl that just screws everything up for the celebrity once more, but it's just a bad episode. They could've done something great with those two comedic geniuses together. But, what can ya do now? Hell, the Three's Company Lucy 2 parter was better! Haha.

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I would agree in the sense that (except for those behind the scenes) we as an audience -- live and on television -- weren't quite sure what to expect. And having been to other filmings/tapings featuring you-know-who, I have to tell you it was a thrill to witness her making her entrance as "Lucy" for the first time in over a decade: the applause (we were on our feet!), whoops and whistles must have gone on a good 2, 3 minutes (at least it seemed like it) because of the excitement and electricity in the air -- Gale's entrance sustained nearly as long as hers -- and curious they didn't cut his down in editing like they did Lucy's.... but I guess they had to cut something since the show ran long and they had to cut the scene in her bedroom entirely (as she's moving in), where she walks on her bed (which you saw snippet of in the opening credits). :D

 

I know about all the arguments, supposition and "what ifs" to her life and career about whether or not she should have ever done the show in the first place....but I have to admit that going to that first filming was one of the highlights of my life, one of the biggest thrills, something I'd only dreamed but never thought I'd get to experience so that being said it's very hard for me to imagine if it had never come to pass. Selfish I know, but I can't help it. Just being honest! :D

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I would agree in the sense that (except for those behind the scenes) we as an audience -- live and on television -- weren't quite sure what to expect. And having been to other filmings/tapings featuring you-know-who, I have to tell you it was a thrill to witness her making her entrance as "Lucy" for the first time in over a decade: the applause (we were on our feet!), whoops and whistles must have gone on a good 2, 3 minutes (at least it seemed like it) because of the excitement and electricity in the air -- Gale's entrance sustained nearly as long as hers -- and curious they didn't cut his down in editing like they did Lucy's.... but I guess they had to cut something since the show ran long and they had to cut the scene in her bedroom entirely (as she's moving in), where she walks on her bed (which you saw snippet of in the opening credits). :D

 

I know about all the arguments, supposition and "what ifs" to her life and career about whether or not she should have ever done the show in the first place....but I have to admit that going to that first filming was one of the highlights of my life, one of the biggest thrills, something I'd only dreamed but never thought I'd get to experience so that being said it's very hard for me to imagine if it had never come to pass. Selfish I know, but I can't help it. Just being honest! :D

I understand, I would feel the same way, well said.

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I would agree in the sense that (except for those behind the scenes) we as an audience -- live and on television -- weren't quite sure what to expect. And having been to other filmings/tapings featuring you-know-who, I have to tell you it was a thrill to witness her making her entrance as "Lucy" for the first time in over a decade: the applause (we were on our feet!), whoops and whistles must have gone on a good 2, 3 minutes (at least it seemed like it) because of the excitement and electricity in the air -- Gale's entrance sustained nearly as long as hers -- and curious they didn't cut his down in editing like they did Lucy's.... but I guess they had to cut something since the show ran long and they had to cut the scene in her bedroom entirely (as she's moving in), where she walks on her bed (which you saw snippet of in the opening credits). :D

 

I know about all the arguments, supposition and "what ifs" to her life and career about whether or not she should have ever done the show in the first place....but I have to admit that going to that first filming was one of the highlights of my life, one of the biggest thrills, something I'd only dreamed but never thought I'd get to experience so that being said it's very hard for me to imagine if it had never come to pass. Selfish I know, but I can't help it. Just being honest! :D

I adored every word of this post. You were definately one lucky person to see her live during a show. Almost as great as meeting her it seems.

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