I Love Lucy is my favorite TV show and has been for some years now. I Love Lucy is the one show that always makes me smile. It's the one show that, no matter how many times I watch an episode, it still makes me laugh like it did the first time...Some things lose their charm after a while, but I Love Lucy doesn't.
That's due, in a huge way, to the genius of Lucille Ball. She always gave credit to her writers, but you can't ignore her comedic talent. When I heard about the Loving Lucy Blogathon, hosted by True Classics, I was really excited about paying tribute to her.
So, here are my top ten episodes of I Love Lucy.
1. Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her- Season 1, Episode #1 (#4 aired)
2. Lucy Is Enceinte- Season 2, Episode #50
Lucy discovers that she's pregnant (or enceinte, as the censors forbid them to say "pregnant." Television has gone from one extreme to the other in 60 years, has it not?). She has the perfect way to tell Ricky the good news, but she keeps getting interrupted. Finally, she resorts to going to the club and telling him. This episode also brings tears to my eyes, because it's so ridiculously sweet. According to the trivia on the DVD, Desi Arnaz got so carried away with emotion during the end scene that he missed the cue for his song, and one of the crew members had to yell, "Sing the baby song!" ("We're Having a Baby, My Baby and Me"). Love it!
3. L.A. At Last- Season 4, Episode #114
As a classic movie fan, I'm more than a little partial to the Hollywood episodes with amazing guest stars. One of my favorites is this episode, where the Ricardos and the Mertzes finally arrive in Hollywood, where Ricky is shooting a film. Lucy is anxious to see some movie stars, so she, Ethel, and Fred head over to the Brown Derby restaurant, where they encounter William Holden. He hilariously decides to give her a taste of her own medicine. The meeting ends disastrously, so Lucy concocts a very interesting disguise when Ricky brings Mr. Holden back to their hotel to meet her.
4. Harpo Marx- Season 4, Episode #125
This episode was my first introduction to any of the Marx Brothers, in this case, Harpo. Lucy's impersonations of movie stars to fool her nearsighted friend are hilarious enough, but the episode is worth watching just for Harpo's harp version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and the perfect mirror act between him and Lucy.
5. Off to Florida- Season 6, Episode #159
When Lucy loses the train tickets that are supposed to take her and Ethel to join the boys in Florida, they search the newspaper ads and find someone to share the car ride with. They end up riding with a strange lady who has an affinity for watercress sandwiches, loves to drive at night, and carries a hatchet in the trunk. Could she be the hatchet murderess who recently escaped from a women's prison? One highlight of this episode is Lucy and Ethel trying to change a car tire, especially Lucy's imitation of how Ricky goes about doing it.
6. Lucy Fakes Illness- Season 1, Episode #16
Season 1 had some hilarious episodes, and this is another example. Lucy is furious when, once again, Ricky won't let her be in one of his shows. So she decides to develop not one, but three mental problems: she thinks she's a famous movie star (Talullah Bankhead), she can't remember who she is, and she reverts to her childhood. One of the best moments is the song that Ricky gets his band to come in and play when Lucy believes she's on her deathbed. It's an upbeat jazz tune called "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You." That title makes me giggle every time I see it. :)
7. Lucy Writes a Play- Season 1, Episode #17
Lucy writes a play to be performed by her women's club. She writes it in a Cuban setting, expecting Ricky to be the lead. When he refuses, she changes the setting to England, because Fred can do a much better British accent than Cuban. :) Ricky learns that a producer is going to be watching the play, so at the last minute he decides to join back in, not knowing that Lucy has switched the settings. I love all of their accents (especially Ethel's combined with her reading from the sloppy script at first: "I think you go there to meet your liver.").
8. Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana- Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours, #1
This is the first of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours. It's a flashback of Lucy telling Hedda Hopper how she and Ricky met. She and a friend are traveling on what is supposed to be a singles cruise, but unfortunately there's a lack of men on the boat. They meet Fred and Ethel on the boat, and Ricky and one of his friends are tour guides they encounter in Havana. There are lots of guest stars: Hedda Hopper, Ann Sothern, Cesar Romero, and Rudy Vallee. There's a very funny scene where Lucy and her friend land in jail and accidentally get drunk from water that's been laced with alcohol. It's really sweet to see how Lucy and Ricky met, and I love the song he sings that she joins in with. Another highlight is Fred with hair! :)
9. The Great Train Robbery- Season 5, Episode #132
On the train ride home from Hollywood to New York, Lucy is involved in several mishaps, including an encounter with a jewel thief and an undercover cop- she unfortunately gets the two confused. In each mishap, she solves things by pulling the train's emergency break. Frank Nelson is great as the infuriated conductor.
10. Lucy and Bob Hope- Season 6, Episode #154
Another episode with a great guest star. You know how Lucy gets around movie stars...she ends up impersonating a hot dog salesman and a tobacco-chewing baseball player to talk to him. He's heard all of the stories about the trouble she caused in Hollywood, and Lucy is trying to convince him that she's not a jinx. Hope, Lucy, and Ricky team up for a cute song, "Nobody Loves the Ump," and Mr. Hope sings his signature "Thanks for the Memory."
Bonus Episode: Lucy Meets the Moustache, Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours
This episode isn't an exceptionally funny one, but it's memorable for sad reasons. It's the last Lucy show in this format, with Ricky, Little Ricky, Fred, and Ethel. The last kiss is always a little sad when you think about it, because it was not only the end of I Love Lucy, but basically signified the end of Lucy and Desi's real life marriage, too.
Here are some clips from the above mentioned shows, in no particular order:
So, happy 100th birthday, Lucille Ball. In the words of your friend Mr. Hope, thanks for the memories.
Until next time,