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Lucy Enters a Baking Contest


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This episode was the last "Lucy Show" written by Bob and Madelyn. In at least one book - I can't remember which one - Lucy is quoted (or perhaps misquoted) as having asked whether they (Bob and Madelyn) were trying to "ruin" her career with this episode.

 

I just watched it again. And I can't figure out why Lucy would have been so disappointed with it. The scene where she is trying to create the pie crust is one of the best physical bits she ever did on the series. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, even though I've seen the episode before.

 

The only possibility I see for the fallout between her and her writers is the fact that the Lucy character contemplates cheating to win the pie contest. (But then, of course, she ultimately backs away from that idea.)

 

QUESTION: Do you think it was the idea of the Lucy character cheating which led to the estrangement between Lucille Ball and her writers ?

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This episode was the last "Lucy Show" written by Bob and Madelyn. In at least one book - I can't remember which one - Lucy is quoted (or perhaps misquoted) as having asked whether they (Bob and Madelyn) were trying to "ruin" her career with this episode.

 

I just watched it again. And I can't figure out why Lucy would have been so disappointed with it. The scene where she is trying to create the pie crust is one of the best physical bits she ever did on the series. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, even though I've seen the episode before.

 

The only possibility I see for the fallout between her and her writers is the fact that the Lucy character contemplates cheating to win the pie contest. (But then, of course, she ultimately backs away from that idea.)

 

QUESTION: Do you think it was the idea of the Lucy character cheating which led to the estrangement between Lucille Ball and her writers ?

 

No, not at all. I just think that Lucy thought the episode could have had more to it, personally it's not one of my favourites, I think it is lacking something. Lucy just wanted it re-written but due to lack of communication things went pear shaped.

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I have mixed feelings about this episode. While I think the scene at the actual baking contest is hysterical, the scene of the bridge game with Lucy, Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen always rang false with me. Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen were unusually catty and vicious to Lucy in a way that was very out of character. Well, for Viv and Audrey anyway. Kathleen Freeman's "Kathleen" was always a bit rough around the edges. LOL

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I have mixed feelings about this episode. While I think the scene at the actual baking contest is hysterical, the scene of the bridge game with Lucy, Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen always rang false with me. Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen were unusually catty and vicious to Lucy in a way that was very out of character. Well, for Viv and Audrey anyway. Kathleen Freeman's "Kathleen" was always a bit rough around the edges. LOL

 

I felt bad for poor Lucy when her cake fell. But lolz when she frosted the pan. And you can totally tell that the cake that fell was made of rubber.

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I have mixed feelings about this episode. While I think the scene at the actual baking contest is hysterical, the scene of the bridge game with Lucy, Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen always rang false with me. Viv, Audrey, and Kathleen were unusually catty and vicious to Lucy in a way that was very out of character. Well, for Viv and Audrey anyway. Kathleen Freeman's "Kathleen" was always a bit rough around the edges. LOL

True, i agree this was a very good show but i hated her friends turning on her like that, i remember thinking that as a young teen watching it the first time.

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True, i agree this was a very good show but i hated her friends turning on her like that, i remember thinking that as a young teen watching it the first time.

 

Yes, I agree that the tone of the dialogue was unusually harsh. If anything, Vivian Vance would have had more to complain about - she comes across as a you-know-what for most of the episode.

 

Such a shame that it led to Bob & Madelyn leaving. As a result, the quality of the show suffered in later years IMHO.

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Yes, I agree that the tone of the dialogue was unusually harsh. If anything, Vivian Vance would have had more to complain about - she comes across as a you-know-what for most of the episode.

 

Such a shame that it led to Bob & Madelyn leaving. As a result, the quality of the show suffered in later years IMHO.

Maybe the TONE of Viv's speech is what got to Lucy, her best friend being such a bitch to her in that script i mean.

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Yes, I agree that the tone of the dialogue was unusually harsh. If anything, Vivian Vance would have had more to complain about - she comes across as a you-know-what for most of the episode.

 

Such a shame that it led to Bob & Madelyn leaving. As a result, the quality of the show suffered in later years IMHO.

 

Totally disagree. I think the show got better in later years!

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I think all of the above responses are possible, but don't ring completely true for that kind of a reaction.

 

Could it be instead that Lucy was not upset about the episode itself, but about the fact that Bob & Madelyn were leaving her after that episode? They had been with her since My Favorite Husband, kept ILL afloat after Jess left, & created the entire concept of TLS & wrote for that as well. She depended on them to create good scripts, & they delivered for her for over a decade.

 

Add this to the fact that by now Vivian had probably announced her reduced Season 3 schedule & complete departure from the show after that. My first thought was that she was overwhelmed with worry. Knowing how much she trusted Bob & Madelyn, maybe she thought that only they could deal with writing a plausible scenario for Viv's absence & keep the show (& her career) going.

 

With all three leaving in the same season, she must have had some fearful days & nights, wondering if the show would be successful enough to survive. So maybe she was misquoted & meant they were trying to ruin her by leaving her after that episode.(Sure there are always other writers but none who knew her & her Lucy characters so well & who delivered great scripts so consistently).

 

I think it's possible that the only reason she even said anything negative about them publicly was that she felt hurt & betrayed. After all, they were treated like family, paid well & she always gave them so much credit for her success.

 

It's also possible that she was joking when she made the comment & it didn't translate well in print form.

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I think all of the above responses are possible, but don't ring completely true for that kind of a reaction.

 

Could it be instead that Lucy was not upset about the episode itself, but about the fact that Bob & Madelyn were leaving her after that episode? They had been with her since My Favorite Husband, kept ILL afloat after Jess left, & created the entire concept of TLS & wrote for that as well. She depended on them to create good scripts, & they delivered for her for over a decade.

 

Add this to the fact that by now Vivian had probably announced her reduced Season 3 schedule & complete departure from the show after that. My first thought was that she was overwhelmed with worry. Knowing how much she trusted Bob & Madelyn, maybe she thought that only they could deal with writing a plausible scenario for Viv's absence & keep the show (& her career) going.

 

With all three leaving in the same season, she must have had some fearful days & nights, wondering if the show would be successful enough to survive. So maybe she was misquoted & meant they were trying to ruin her by leaving her after that episode.(Sure there are always other writers but none who knew her & her Lucy characters so well & who delivered great scripts so consistently).

 

I think it's possible that the only reason she even said anything negative about them publicly was that she felt hurt & betrayed. After all, they were treated like family, paid well & she always gave them so much credit for her success.

 

It's also possible that she was joking when she made the comment & it didn't translate well in print form.

I love your angle on this, and I'd like to think it's the most plausible scenario. Even if she didn't want to elevate Viv to true co-star status and the billing and $$ that would have followed, I'm sure she worried about not only her departure and not having a comparable cohort in place when she did, compounded by the probably less expected decision of having B&M depart. With that double-whammy, more than likely she did have a lot of sleepless nights and worried how things would work out, as well she should have, given the turn downward (IMHO, and I realize I'm in the minority here!) the show took once its format changed to be based in Hollywood. Thankfully however, Viv was always welcomed back for her annual appearances and too eventually, B&M were welcomed back into the fold, despite taking awhile longer. When they did return, I wonder if they ever had a sitdown to smoothe everything out?? Would love to have been a fly in the room if they did! ;)
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I think all of the above responses are possible, but don't ring completely true for that kind of a reaction.

 

Could it be instead that Lucy was not upset about the episode itself, but about the fact that Bob & Madelyn were leaving her after that episode? They had been with her since My Favorite Husband, kept ILL afloat after Jess left, & created the entire concept of TLS & wrote for that as well. She depended on them to create good scripts, & they delivered for her for over a decade.

 

Add this to the fact that by now Vivian had probably announced her reduced Season 3 schedule & complete departure from the show after that. My first thought was that she was overwhelmed with worry. Knowing how much she trusted Bob & Madelyn, maybe she thought that only they could deal with writing a plausible scenario for Viv's absence & keep the show (& her career) going.

 

With all three leaving in the same season, she must have had some fearful days & nights, wondering if the show would be successful enough to survive. So maybe she was misquoted & meant they were trying to ruin her by leaving her after that episode.(Sure there are always other writers but none who knew her & her Lucy characters so well & who delivered great scripts so consistently).

 

I think it's possible that the only reason she even said anything negative about them publicly was that she felt hurt & betrayed. After all, they were treated like family, paid well & she always gave them so much credit for her success.

 

It's also possible that she was joking when she made the comment & it didn't translate well in print form.

 

I got the impression that Lucy fired B & M. I didn't realise that they left on their own accord. Are you sure that's right?

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I watched the baking contest episode today and this episode reminds me alot of "Lucy's Barbershop Quartet" and "Lucy Drives A Dump Truck". I am guessing that Lucy was tired of the same old plots at this point and wanted new blood to inject some life in this show and the third season was the result of that. Lucy seem more rejuvenated and energic in many of her shows in the third season with the many different writers. I think that Lucy was getting tired of the widow burden family woman concept. Also, I think that Lucy wanted to cut the ties with anything associated with "I Love Lucy" or even "Desilu" at this point of her career.

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I watched the baking contest episode today and this episode reminds me alot of "Lucy's Barbershop Quartet" and "Lucy Drives A Dump Truck". I am guessing that Lucy was tired of the same old plots at this point and wanted new blood to inject some life in this show and the third season was the result of that. Lucy seem more rejuvenated and energic in many of her shows in the third season with the many different writers. I think that Lucy was getting tired of the widow burden family woman concept. Also, I think that Lucy wanted to cut the ties with anything associated with "I Love Lucy" or even "Desilu" at this point of her career.

It is well documented that Lucy was fed up with the same plots just rehashed all the time but that was more to do with gary hiring lousy writers whom he either knew or were cheaper but this was later on.

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I got the impression that Lucy fired B & M. I didn't realise that they left on their own accord. Are you sure that's right?

They left after a nasty fight so she had their things packed up thinking they had quit already. AND, it wasn't Lucy who made the choice to not meet Viv's agent's many HUGE demands but her advisors who told her the demands were ridiculous, that Viv thought she WAS Lucy. That she wanted equal billing, salary, everything. And Viv was terrific but she was NOT Lucy.

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I've read so many of the Lucy books that have been published, & don't remember reading that Bob & Madelyn were ever fired. I was so surprised to read that here in this thread that I figured I would have remembered it had I read it before. (Of course, I may have read it but not remembered it :huh:;) ). So many of you have encyclopedic knowledge of everything Lucy, so if you say they were fired, I believe it.

 

Oh well. I guess their relationship was not all a bed of roses (or wax tulips :lucythrill: ). Seems kind of mean spirited of Lucy to trash them in public, especially after all they had done for her up to that point.

 

Does anyone have more details about this split?

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I've read so many of the Lucy books that have been published, & don't remember reading that Bob & Madelyn were ever fired. I was so surprised to read that here in this thread that I figured I would have remembered it had I read it before. (Of course, I may have read it but not remembered it :huh:;) ). So many of you have encyclopedic knowledge of everything Lucy, so if you say they were fired, I believe it.

 

Oh well. I guess their relationship was not all a bed of roses (or wax tulips :lucythrill: ). Seems kind of mean spirited of Lucy to trash them in public, especially after all they had done for her up to that point.

 

Does anyone have more details about this split?

Where did she trash them in public? All she ever did was give them credit for all their great writing. Ok, let's go though this again, they wrote a lousy script one time, she told them so, they left, she took that as them quitting, their stuff was put out for them, they came back, saw that, and figured they were fired. So, she thought they had quit and they thought they had been fired. Of course many other people played in all this besides Lucy, they told her everything, misinterpreted their actions and so on . . .but prior to that, when their writing was inferior, they had just gone back to FIX the script, this time, they just left, maybe they hated the criticism, felt unappreciated, who knows? Maybe Lucy's lack of tact had reached it's crescendo on this occasion, maybe they were all tired . . . Bob and Madelyn had run out of ideas and kept repeating themselves, maybe Lucy expected something fresh and new or at least F U N N Y .

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Where did she trash them in public? All she ever did was give them credit for all their great writing. Ok, let's go though this again, they wrote a lousy script one time, she told them so, they left, she took that as them quitting, their stuff was put out for them, they came back, saw that, and figured they were fired. So, she thought they had quit and they thought they had been fired. Of course many other people played in all this besides Lucy, they told her everything, misinterpreted their actions and so on . . .but prior to that, when their writing was inferior, they had just gone back to FIX the script, this time, they just left, maybe they hated the criticism, felt unappreciated, who knows? Maybe Lucy's lack of tact had reached it's crescendo on this occasion, maybe they were all tired . . . Bob and Madelyn had run out of ideas and kept repeating themselves, maybe Lucy expected something fresh and new or at least F U N N Y .

 

Bob and Madelyn having been writing for Lucy since the late 1940's and after a long period of writing the same character(only with three different name changes,two husbands, a widow but generally the smae character that is wacky, and funny) naturally will run out of creative story plots but look at how long it took to get there. That is a great accomplishment and today in modern sitcoms, many of the contemporary television sitcom writers borrow stole plots from them. Lucy worked with Bob and Madelyn again in the film "Yours, Mine, And Ours" and had them come back when she had the Burtons on "Here Lucy" because she trusted that they would do a superb script for her and those vehicles were successful. The time away from Lucy was good for Bob and Madelyn because they worked on "The Mothers-In-Laws" and "Alice".

 

I like to believe that Bob and Madelyn creative juices were still intact when they packed and left "Desilu", I wonder to this day whether thet were murmuring underneath their breaths: "YOU CAN KISS MY GRITS".

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Claude, I assumed that Lucy publicy trashed them from this line in the first post of this thread: "In at least one book - I can't remember which one - Lucy is quoted (or perhaps misquoted) as having asked whether they (Bob and Madelyn) were trying to "ruin" her career with this episode." But nowhere does it say she did this, say, on a talk show, so my bad for that.

 

You summed up the miscommunication between the three of them well: "...they wrote a lousy script one time, she told them so, they left, she took that as them quitting, their stuff was put out for them, they came back, saw that, and figured they were fired. So, she thought they had quit and they thought they had been fired."

 

I never knew any of that before. Funny, it could actually be a plot in a sitcom :lucythrill: .

 

MonaLucy, yes!! to what you said: "...today in modern sitcoms, many of the contemporary television sitcom writers borrow stole plots from them." I've often watched shows where I say out loud -- 'you took that right out of an ILL show!' I wish I could remember which one I saw a while back that had a barefoot couple tiptoing in sync around their house, looking for a prowler ala Lucy & Ricky in their country house. I half expected Fred & Ethel to pop out of the closet!

 

Anyhoo, it's good to know that they kissed & made up later on.

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Claude, I assumed that Lucy publicy trashed them from this line in the first post of this thread: "In at least one book - I can't remember which one - Lucy is quoted (or perhaps misquoted) as having asked whether they (Bob and Madelyn) were trying to "ruin" her career with this episode." But nowhere does it say she did this, say, on a talk show, so my bad for that.

 

You summed up the miscommunication between the three of them well: "...they wrote a lousy script one time, she told them so, they left, she took that as them quitting, their stuff was put out for them, they came back, saw that, and figured they were fired. So, she thought they had quit and they thought they had been fired."

 

I never knew any of that before. Funny, it could actually be a plot in a sitcom :lucythrill: .

 

MonaLucy, yes!! to what you said: "...today in modern sitcoms, many of the contemporary television sitcom writers borrow stole plots from them." I've often watched shows where I say out loud -- 'you took that right out of an ILL show!' I wish I could remember which one I saw a while back that had a barefoot couple tiptoing in sync around their house, looking for a prowler ala Lucy & Ricky in their country house. I half expected Fred & Ethel to pop out of the closet!

 

Anyhoo, it's good to know that they kissed & made up later on.

Sorry, did not mean to pounce on that line about her trashing them, but i do remember reading that she had said loudly ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN MY CAREER one time at a script meeting, but like i said the other 99% of the comments she ever made about her writers were always glowingly positive, she loved and respected them dearly and gave them credit for writing out IN DETAIL everything she did on the shows. I think the duplication in today's writers has to do with the fact that there are only so many comedic situations to use, dramas too, so they rehash the way Lucy's writers did by copyiong the classics Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and so on.

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