I Love Lucy

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I love Lucy and she loves me.
We're as happy as two can be.
Sometimes we quarrel but then, ha-ha!
How we love making up again.
Lucy kisses like no one can.
She's my missus and I'm her man,
And life is heaven you see,
'Cause I love Lucy, yes, I love Lucy

And Lucy (Beat) loves me!

A ground breaking Sitcom from the husband-and-wife creative team of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, under the auspices of their studio, Desilu Productions. I Love Lucy followed a young married couple through a series of wacky misadventures.

The show's plot often hinged on Lucy trying to convince her bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (played by Arnaz) to let her appear in his mambo-centric variety show. Ricky insisted on his wife remaining home to do wife things because he didn't have the heart to tell her she had no talent. Lucy would come up with a Zany Scheme to subvert his authority, by either making her own money or sneaking into the show. Hilarity Ensues (and this time, it really means it), and a lot of the humor in the episodes' last acts were built around Lucille Ball being a gifted physical comedian.

Ethel Mertz and her husband Fred, Lucy's neighbors and landlords, rounded out the central cast. An old married couple who couldn't stand one another, Fred and Ethel were former vaudevillians that Ricky would occasionally bring into his show, super-charging Lucy's insecurities by leaving her the only member of the gang not in show biz. Ethel would often be the unwilling sidekick to Lucy's harebrained schemes, and Fred would often be the muscle for Ricky's.

Until The Sixties, Latin people were not considered a separate racial group (and, admittedly, Ricky is white Hispanic); they were just "foreigners," and a lot of humor between Lucy and Ricky was in their cultural dissonance or in Ricky's funny accent. By today's standards, however, Lucy and Ricky were the first inter-ethnic married couple on TV.

The show was filmed, which was a big deal. At the time, most shows were archived by "kinescope", which is simply a movie camera taking footage of a TV displaying the show's live broadcast. Obviously, this produces really crummy-looking video; that's why most shows from the 1950s have either been lost or are of very little interest in reuse (videotape didn't become available until late in the decade). In contrast, I Love Lucy required two-camera pairs, one to broadcast the live TV and one to take down the results on film. Even better, the show invented the live-studio Three Cameras technique, which resulted in six cameras running simultaneously and was wildly expensive. This show also invented the Rerun: when Lucille Ball became pregnant and needed a reduction in her workload, Desi came up with the idea of showing a previously-aired-but-much-loved episode instead of something new--which was only possible because Desilu had taken the trouble to film the original broadcast in the first place. "Reruns?" the network scoffed. "It Will Never Catch On." Well, the laugh's on them: I Love Lucy has been on the air literally non-stop since it was first produced; television historians have determined that since its original airing, the show has always been in syndication somewhere in the world (not coincidentally, this has made Ball's and Arnaz's estates filthy stinking rich).

It has erroneously been called the first television sitcom to deal with the subject of pregnancy and delivery. This is incorrect, as "Mary Kay and Johnny", the first television sitcom in the United States, had tackled the subject four years earlier. Nonetheless it was still a very sensitive topic at the time, and the Moral Guardians were horrified. Viewer reaction was actually quite positive, and the episode where Lucy gives birth broke the all-time viewer record up to that point. Because they couldn't actually say "pregnant" on air, they instead invented popularized the euphemism "expecting". And now you know.

After the regular series ended, the cast carried on with The The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour specials -- essentially long I Love Lucy episodes with greater emphasis on famous guest stars and exotic locations. These are often considered to be inferior to the original series, and the later episodes particularly suffered from the rapid deterioration of Lucy and Desi's marriage. In the following decades, Lucy was able to carry on the premise (if not the exact same character) on her own with The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy.

In short, this show was responsible for more tropes than anything on television before or since (excepting perhaps Star Trek, which was also produced by Desilu Studios). As noted above, it has not stopped airing since October 15, 1951. The entire reason that The Oldest Ones in the Book super-index has a cutoff date of November 8, 1960, is to include the complete first run of this pioneering series (which, including Retool The Lucy and Desi Comedy Hour, lasted until April 1 of that very year).


Tropes used in I Love Lucy include:
  • After Show: The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.
  • Animated Credits Opening: In the original US run, where these openings integrated the sponsor's product with stick figures of Lucy and Ricky.
  • As Himself/As Herself: The list of celebrities appearing as themselves, everyone from Hedda Hopper to Bob Hope to Orson Welles. By the time of the After Show ComedyHours, Lucy was so jaded at meeting celebrities, one episode had her scheming to get rid of a famous couple so she and Ricky could vacation alone.
  • "BANG!" Flag Gun: In the episode "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her", Lucy mistakes one of these for a real gun.
  • Baseball Episode: "Lucy Meets Bob Hope".
  • Big Applesauce: Most of the series takes place in New York City, except for three different trips, and ultimately, the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to a small town in Connecticut near the end of the series.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Ricky Ricardo often spoke Spanish which was nice for Spanish speakers.
  • Bland-Name Product: Phillip Morris had the writers change "Lucky Bucks" to "Bonus Bucks" out of fear viewers would think of competitor Lucky Strike.
  • Book Ends: The Europe trip is bookended by two variations of the 'Why don't you think I'd believe that?' gag - Ricky saying it about Lucy getting locked in the trunk, and Frank Nelson's Custom's Agent saying it about what Lucy and Ethel did with the 25lbs of cheese on the plane.
  • Bridge: The popular game among the ladies.
  • British Royal Guards: The European vacation story arc during the show's fifth season began in London where Lucy visited Buckingham Palace and missed out on seeing the Queen when she became preoccupied with desperately attempting to get a guard to crack a smile. The scene ends with the Changing of the Guard. If one looks really closely, one can see the guard's lips curling up slightly.
  • Bob Hope: Guest starred As Himself on the sixth season premiere episode, just before the Connecticut move. In an age when the Networks NEVER acknowledged the existence of the others by name, Hope was allowed to end the episode saying "I may never go back to NBC!"
  • Butt Monkey: Everyone at one point or another, usually Ethel at the hands of Lucy, Lucy at the hands of Ricky, Ricky at the hands of Lucy, or Fred at the hands of everyone.
  • Calvin Ball: In the episode "The Golf Game", Lucy and Ethel want to take up golf, and ask Fred and Ricky how to play. The men don't want their wives following them around the golf course, so they try to discourage them by inventing a set of crazy and overly complex instructions for play. The girls get back at the boys by convincing a famous golf pro to play exactly the way the boys taught them, leading Fred and Ricky convinced they'd been playing the game wrong all these years.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Lucy. The infamous Vitameatavegamin Girl bit where Lucy gets drunk from the alcohol in the medicine after repeated takes. In her defense, it was 23% alcohol by volume; not proof, percent.
  • The Cast Showoff: All four leads, at various times. Justified in-show, as Ricky is a bandleader/singer, the Mertzes are former vaudeville hoofers, and Lucy aspires to a career in showbiz.
  • Catch Phrase: "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do." - Ricky, despite being something of a Beam Me Up, Scotty. "Waaaaaah" or "Ewwwww" by Lucy and "Oh, for corn's sake!" for Fred are more accurate.
    • "Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!" for Ricky. In one of the England shows he translates it as 'Blimy!' to a confused Englishman.
  • The Celebrity Lie
  • Celebrity Paradox: In an early episode, Lucy mentions Tennesee Ernie. Later Cousin Ernie visits (and hangs on).
  • The Chew Toy: What Lucille Ball comedy is complete without slapstick characters? All four characters play this role at one point or another, but Lucy and Ethel tend to get roughed up more often than Ricky or Fred.
  • Clip Show: The I Love Lucy Christmas Episode, where the gang decorates the Ricardo tree and recalls moments from Lucy's period of expectancy. It was kept out of the syndication package and did not receive another broadcast for 25 years.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lucy's Mother. Although the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree.
  • Compilation Movie: One was produced in 1953 by bridging together three episodes from the first season. Since technicians were not able to remove the studio audience's laughter, the movie also featured a unique opening where Desi introduces himself and the other leads to a live studio audience, and a closing scene where they bow during the viewers' thunderous applause. Unfortunately, fear of competition with another Lucy/Desi movie, The Long Long Trailer, prevented a theatrical release. The film eventually went missing, until 2001. It became available on DVD six years later.
  • Costumer: In one episode, they visit Scotland and Lucy dreams she and Ricky are the leads in a Highland historical romance.
  • Counter Zany:
    • Sometimes taken to mounting levels of on-the-spot planning, improvising and zany consequences. A married couple and their friends, any two of whom are liable to be on the same side at any given time? How many plans could you get out of that? You'd be surprised.
  • Courtroom Episode: The Season 2 episode "The Courtroom" combines this with The Rashomon, with the Ricardos and Mertzes suing each other after breaking each others' TV sets.
  • Cranky Neighbor: Fred Mertz.
  • A Day in Her Apron: "Job Switching" has Ricky and Fred tending to the housework while Lucy and Ethel get jobs at a chocolate factory.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fred could be this at times, such as when Lucy tells a joke wrong and Ricky corrects it.

Fred: It wasn't exactly a belly laugh ether way.

  • Distracted by the Luxury: Besides Lucy's lifelong quest for a mink coat, her personal finances were usually in the red because she couldn't stop buying cute dresses or hats.
    • Lampshaded on an episode of Mad About You in which Paul tries to find out what the secret is that his wife Jamie doesn't want to tell him.

Paul: Did you buy a new hat?
Jamie: (sarcasticly) Yes Paul, that's it. I bought a new hat! What is this, I Love Lucy?!?

  • Domestic Abuse: Averted. Several characters mention fear that Ricky will hit Lucy because of some of her more extreme schemes, but it's unknown if Ricky really ever did or would. Essentially, it's played roughly the same way as The Honeymooners did. In this show, at one point, one of Lucy's schemes cost Ricky his job, and when he heard the news, he hit himself in the hand as Lucy began giving him things to smash to take his anger out on, and he threatened to punch her in the nose more than once.
    • Really the most he ever did was spank Lucy, and it was played for laughs as if she were a child. One episode was the focus of this when Ricky accidentally hit Lucy in the eye with a book and it swelled up. Fred and Ethel thought he actually did hit her (they were eavesdropping outside their apartment and mistook her narrating a chapter from said book as the two arguing).
      • In the fifth season when Fred fears Ricky will punch him in the nose for accidentally sending his band to the wrong town during his European tour, Lucy assures Fred that no matter how mad Ricky has gotten with her he never once struck her.

Fred: Well, you're bigger than me!
Lucy: Honestly, Fred. Ricky's bark is worse than his bite.
Fred: You mean he bites too?!?

  • Dresses the Same: Lucy and Ethel purchase the same dress for a performance they're doing together (at two different stores, no less).
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many of the episode titles are simply descriptions of the plot: "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her", "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress", "The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue", etc.
  • Fake Charity: The Ladies Overseas Aid.
  • Famed in Story: Later episode celebs such as Bob Hope and Orson Welles can't believe all those stories about Lucy meeting celebrities can possibly be true. And then they meet her....
  • Fawlty Towers Plot
  • Foot Focus: "Lucy's Italian Movie".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Ricky's Spanish tirades when Lucy pushes him beyond the brink are often thought to be these; in fact, he's usually saying something to the effect of "What am I going to do with this crazy redheaded girl?"
  • Foreign Language Tirade: Ricky may be the Trope Codifier for this one.
  • Forgotten Birthday: In one episode, Lucy asks Ricky not to recognize her birthday. When he follows through with it, she becomes sad and runs out to the park, where she meets up with "The Friends of the Friendless". Despite the name, they're not a cult. We think.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: Quoted above, though they did actually appear in the show. This version of the theme made a Theme Tune Cameo when Ricky sang it to Lucy during her surprise birthday party. One could also find it on home video releases of the series.
    • Depending on who you ask, the lyrics were ether written when the theme was written, or quickly created specifically for this episode.
  • Funny Foreigner: Ricky could be regarded as a mild one of these.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages
  • Furry Fandom: Ricky's nightclub acts include dressing showgirls up as prancing horses and Ferdinan the Bull.
    • In the Scotland episode, Ethel and Fred are in-story Nightmare Fuel as a two headed dragon.
    • In one episode, Fred plays a Frog in Little Ricy's school play.
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: Lucy would form these on occasion, but not out of simple greed. Usually it was because she had spent too much of her allowance and Ricky refused to give her any more.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
  • Hollywood California: Ricky gets the starring role in Don Juan, forcing the Ricardos to move to Hollywood, with the Mertzes tagging along.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Urban Legend has it that Vivian Vance (Ethel) was contractually obligated to remain overweight, though there isn't evidence of it being true, especially since Ethel only looks fat in comparison to Lucy. Get her alone and she's rather thin.
  • Hollywood Tone Deaf: Lucy Ricardo. Lucille Ball was no diva, but she was no slouch either, as seen when she starred in Mame.
  • Housewife: Lucy is an example of a rebellious housewife.
  • Impossible Leavening: In "Pioneer Women", a loaf of bread with this trope applied ends up expanding to fill the entire oven, and when the door is opened, it stretches out of the oven, far longer than the oven is deep, and pins Lucy to a wall.
  • Incessant Music Madness: In a late episode, Little Ricky receives a snare drum and plays it incessantly. Soon, his parents' movements match the beat he's playing.
  • Intoxication Ensues: "Vitameatavegamin contains vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals" -- and 23 percent alcohol.
  • Is This Thing On?: Fred installs an intercom between his guest house and the Ricardo's main house. Lucy tests it with the "Testing 1,2,3" method.
    • Lucy also does the "Testing 1,2,3" gag on her voice when she tries to talk correctly to the Charm School teacher.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Often used by Ricky trying to say words in English - like one time he explained that a Mind Reading act at the club was achieved through "e-lec-tron-NEEKS".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fred, and arguably Ricky.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: In "Lucy Tells the Truth", a white lie leads to Lucy taking a job as the assistant in a knife act.
    • Interesting in that it's revealed to be fake (the "thrower" feints tossing the knives and they are pushed out of the board behind her) in the show.
  • Living Prop: Ricky's band members in scenes set at the Tropacana/Club Babalu.
    • A literal example - the baby chicks let lose in the house.
  • Locked in a Freezer: The famous episode where Lucy buys a walk-in freezer, and locks herself in while moving all the meat she bought into the furnace.
  • Lottery Ticket: "Bonus Bucks".
    • One of the episodes leading up to the Europe Tour features Lucy and Ethel staging a rigged raffle to pay for their European expenses.
  • Loud of War: Lucy and Ricky tried to get out pf their lease by having a loud Cuban jam session late at night. Fred and Ethel turned the tables by selling tickets to the "concert".
  • The Magic Poker Equation
  • Malaproper: Ricky on occasion, due to his lack of familiarity with English idioms.
  • Meaningful Name: In a gag often Edited for Syndication since it takes place at the beginning of the scene, Lucy uses a book entitled How To Sing by F. Alsetto.
  • Men Can't Keep House: The episode "Job Switching" had Ricky and Fred invoke this trope along with A Day in Her Apron.
  • Mirror Routine
  • Mistaken for Cheating
  • Morally-Bankrupt Banker: Mr. Mooney. Though he did continue to employ Lucy despite her antics, so he must have some compassion.
  • Musical Episode: Plenty, considering Ricky is a band leader.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Lucy's mother constantly called Ricky "Mickey" (and, on at least one occasion, "Xavier").
    • Yet she still calls their son "Little Ricky". Lampshaded with Ricky saying: "How do you like that? He's Little Ricky and I'm Big Mickey."
    • Though she called him Xavier one time in a letter to Lucy.
  • Never Say "Die": Or "pregnant" for that matter.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: CBS initially responded to Lucille Ball's insistence that Desi Arnaz play the husband in her TV show by saying they weren't sure if audiences could believe that a celebrity like Lucy was married to an obscure Cuban bandleader. In response, Lucy and Desi gave a vaudeville tour across the country. The tour became a success, proving to the networks that a TV show of the duo would be huge.
  • Noodle Incident: The 4th of July party Lucy organized for her Women's Club.

Ethel: Poor Ricky -- his eyebrows didn't grow in for a month.

Little Ricky: Mommy, Mommy, Fred ran away!
Ethel: Which Fred?
Little Ricky: MY Fred!
Ethel: Oh, nuts!

  • Pie in the Face: "The Diner" ends with a big pie fight between the Ricardos and Mertzes.
  • Playing a Tree: Ricky in Little Ricky's school play.
  • Playing Gertrude: Ethel is supposed to be older than Lucy, closer in age to her husband Fred, but Vivian Vance was actually a year younger than Lucille Ball. Vance was annoyed that she was paired with such an older man, which caused some Real Life animosity between the actors behind the scenes.
    • Rumor has it that no one got along well with William Frawley, who played Fred Mertz. He was just generally difficult to work with. Vance especially hated him, and the feeling was mutual. The pair reportedly refused to speak to each other outside of tapings or rehearsals, and Hollywood legend has it that Vance, learning of Frawley's 1966 death while dining at a restaurant, promptly ordered champagne for everyone in the place.
    • Vance actually was two years older than Lucille Ball, who wasn't always totally honest about her age. However, Vance was still a full 22 years younger than her onscreen husband.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lucy's second life goal aside from getting in the show has always been to have a mink coat. In one episode, Lucy thinks a mink coat Ricky rented for a play is for her for their anniversary (which he forgot), and he spends the episode trying to trick her into losing it, until he fesses up. It turned out she tricked him. It wasn't their anniversary at all.
  • Product Placement: The characters frequently made gags about Philip Morris cigarettes, who sponsored the first four seasons. Several of these gags were removed in syndication.
    • In a possible lampshade hanging over the deal, Lucy reminds Ricky that when he auditions for television producers, he'll need a "pretty girl" to show off the sponsor's products, then holds a box of Philip Morris up to the camera.
    • One gag that reruns retain in some form: When Lucy hosts her own TV show in an emptied TV set, she dresses as Johnny Roventini, the Philip Morris Bellhop. The syndicated version of the episode retains scenes of Lucy wearing the costume and holding cigarettes, but cuts parts where she actually refers to the brand by name.
    • One episode with a scene of Fred and Ricky meeting and eating at a stationary/luncheonette counter features a cardboard standee of the Phillip Morris bellhop in the background.
    • This exchange as pregnant Lucy keeps changing potential baby names.

Lucy: I always liked 'Phillip' if it's a boy...
Ricky: And 'Morris' if it's a girl?

    • When celebrities appear, especially during the Hollywood Arc, you can be sure to hear "Oh, I just finished filming" such-an-such a movie title, followed by the Ricardos saying "We'll be sure to catch it when it comes out" or "I've heard such great things about that!"
    • One episode features the foursome going out to see the musical The Most Happy Fellow... a show Lucy and Desi just happened to invest in.

Ricky: I don't know anything about this show, do you?
Fred: Well, one thing I know is the hero's not married.
Ricky: How do you know that?
Fred : Look at the title!

Lucy: I need to get my hair dyed-WASHED!

  • Saint Bernard Rescue: While in the Swiss Alps, Band Manager Fred accidentally sends the band to the wrong city. After Ricky fires him Lucy says, "You can't fire Fred! What are you gonna do? Get a St Bernard to manage the band?" Later on, while the foursome are out climbing a mountain Fred whistles for a passing St Bernard, saying he could use a snort of brandy.
  • The Scrooge: Fred is a mild one.
  • Second Banana: Vivian Vance's Ethel to Lucille Ball's Lucy, most of the time.
  • Series Continuity Error: What is Ethel's middle name? What is Ricky's first name?
    • Ricky's first name is Enrique in one episode, Ricardo in another.
    • And Ethel's middle name is "May". "Ethel May Potter" was her name before she got married.
      • But it's also mentioned as being "Louise" in "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" and "Roberta" (which was also Vivian Vance's Real Life middle name) in "The Million Dollar Idea".
    • In an early season episode about Ricky teaching Lucy a lesson by taking her camping, Lucy has Ethel secretly drive out to the campsite to help her out. In a later episode leading up to the California trip, Lucy offers to teach Ethel how to drive.
    • Another Ethel example: In the early episode "Breaking the Lease", Ethel plays songs such as "Sweet Sue" just fine on the piano. In one of the final season Connecticut episodes, Lucy, Fred and Ethel try to form a musical trio to back up Little Ricky's drumming and Ethel plays the piano about as well as Fred and Lucy play their instruments.
      • In fact, Lucy actually asks Ethel if she knows "Sweet Sue" and Ethel says she never learned that one.
  • Shout-Out: One of the pairs of potential baby names is "Robert or Marilyn", referring to Lucy's head writers who would go on to write for her all the way up to Life With Lucy.
    • In "Charm School", the men are at a party discussing golf when Ricky says, "I just read an article by Harry Ackerman...." Harry Ackerman was a television producer who, along with other CBS shows such as Gunsmoke and Dennis the Menace, helped develop I Love Lucy.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: The show had a season-long arc set in Hollywood where Ricky gets a part in movie.
  • Significant Reference Date: In "Lucy Gets A Paris Gown", Lucy wants to get a new designer dress while in France. Ricky reads a letter Lucy wrote in Hollywood, promising Ricky if he'd buy her a Hollywood designer dress, she would NEVER ask for another designer dress. The note is dated 2/28/55 -- The broadcast date of the episode "The Fashion Show" in which Lucy gets said dress. Extra coolness points awarded when you realize the writers had no idea what a rerun was at this point... let alone that anyone in the future would create episode guides, listing air-dates.
  • A Simple Plan
  • Sitcom: The Trope Codifier for years.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: This show is both one of the earliest and best known examples of the trope.
    • A good rule of thumb: If Lucy enters a scene wearing pants, you are about to see some fantastic physical hijinx.
  • Sleeping Single: Famously, however it's often forgotten that the twin beds were pushed together throughout the entire first season. It wasn't until after Little Ricky was born that the nightstand was put between them.
  • Spank the Cutie: Lucy got quite a few spankings throughout the run of the show.
  • Spexico: Lucy seems to think Cuban culture is a mixture of Mexico, Spain, and Brazil of all places.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, Life with Lucy.
    • Prior to I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball played a scheming, nutty housewife in a radio show titled, My Favorite Husband, wherein her character was married to a dull, inoffensive, American banker. Execs wanted to adapt the series almost wholesale because it tested so well, whereas Ball and Arnaz wanted to take things in a different direction (and use the series as a vehicle for improving their marriage). Even though the shows have different characters, some episodes of I Love Lucy reused storylines and gags from the radio show, since they shared three writers (Bob Carroll, Madelyn Pugh, and Jess Oppenheimer). After I Love Lucy became a hit, CBS tried to make lightning strike twice by adapting My Favorite Husband itself as a TV show (with a different cast and crew), but that show went nowhere and was soon forgotten.
      • Another reason Ball and Arnaz abandoned My Favorite Husband -- that series was based on the novel Mr. and Mrs. Cugat by Isabel Scott Rorick. (In fact, the lead characters were named George and Liz Cugat for the first 20 episodes. Their last name was changed to "Cooper" to avoid confusion with bandleader Xavier Cugat and his wife.) By creating their own (albeit similar) concept, Desilu managed to avoid paying royalties to Rorick.
    • Incidentally, based on the success of My Favorite Husband, there was a brief attempt to adapt I Love Lucy itself as a radio show, but after a single, unaired trial episode was produced (using the same script as the TV episode "Breaking the Lease", fleshed out with descriptive narration from Arnaz as Ricky), the idea was abandoned.
      • However, the radio pilot did have one positive effect. CBS executives had worried that Arnaz's accent was too thick for American audiences to understand. Hearing the radio pilot convinced them that his accent wasn't as thick and undecipherable as they had originally feared.
  • Status Quo Is God: Subverted. Ricky went from being a nobody bandleader, to a noted bandleader, to a Night Club Manager, to a Night Club Owner, to a bit Movie Player, to the point in one of the The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour where Ricky tells Lucy "...It's just one picture I'm gonna be in! We're just gonna be back from California in two weeks!"
    • Also subverted in that as time went on Lucy got considerably less excited about meeting the Celebrity of the Week.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Less because of Ricky's chauvinism, and more the fact that Lucy really couldn't do anything else.
  • Sticky Situation: To show Ricky how ridiculous he looks with a mustache, Lucy has Fred attach a big bushy beard to her face with spirit gum. Problem is, it's not spirit gum, it's cement.
    • In one episode, Lucy and Ethel wallpaper the Ricardo's bedroom. 'Nuff said.
  • Stylistic Suck: Lucy's operetta, The Pleasant Peasant, boasts several Painful Rhymes, as well as a contrived plot.
  • Suburbia: The Ricardos and Mertzes move to Westport, Connecticut in Season 6.
  • Swapped Roles: "Job Switching".
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Lucy dressed as a man semi-often to further her schemes. For example, an episode features her dressing as a hot dog salesman with a fake 'stache and as a baseball player to try to get Frank Sinatra to let her go on the show.
  • Syndication Title: When the show was retooled into the The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, reruns were shown on CBS under the titles Lucy in Hollywood, Lucy in Europe, and Lucy in Connecticut.
    • In the 70s, the Comedy Hour episodes were syndicated as one hour specials under the title We Love Lucy. When Nick at Nite aired them, they restored the Comedy Hour title (minus the Ford/Westinghouse sponsor tags, of course). A recent (March 2012) marathon on the Hallmark Channel had them back to We Love Lucy.
  • Tablecloth Yank: Lucy does this is one episode (much to the delight of the audience).
  • Telephone Exchange Names: The Ricardos' number is "MUrray Hill 5-9975". The MUrray Hill exchange name refers to a specific neighbourhood in Manhattan NY, these numbers would look like +1-212-MU5-9975 in modern format.
  • This Is My Side: "Men Are Messy", "The Diner".
  • Three Cameras: Again, a first for television.
  • Title Drop: In the very last Comedy Hour "Lucy Meets the Mustache", Ernie Kovacs manages to slip the phrase "Take a Good Look" into the dialogue. Take A Good Look was a comedy/game show Kovacs hosted at the time.
  • Title Sequence Replacement/Product Displacement: The original animated intros featured cartoon-Lucy and cartoon-Desi interacting around a giant Philip Morris cigarette pack. For decades, only the heart-logo intros made for syndication were seen. TV Land reintroduced the animated ones, now with a (slightly less) giant vintage TV set showing the network logo on its screen.
  • Trickster Archetype: Lucy is the female example of this.
  • Troperiffic: At least half the tropes in all following sitcoms owe their lives to this show. Reruns! It invented reruns for chrissake!
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: In the episode "Cousin Ernie Hangs On", Lucy complains to Ethel that "We've found there's only one thing Cousin Ernie does well, but there's not much of a market for a Professional Eater!" In the last few years eating contests have become more and more popular, and there are now indeed some people who only participate in these events, living off the prizes and corporate sponsorships for their existence. Cousin Ernie would be a natural.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Fred and Ethel, due to Vivian Vance Playing Gertrude.
  • The Unintelligible: Little Ricky could sometimes be this - one of the adults will generally laugh and say "Heh heh...did you hear that? He says..." and repeat the line of dialogue for the audience.
  • Unknown Rival: Xavier Cugat is often mentioned as a rival to Ricky, since they are both Cuban bandleaders. However, Cugat never made an appearance on the show. Also ironic in that in Real Life, Cugat helped give Desi Arnaz his start in show business as a guitar player in his orchestra.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Enciente" and "expecting" for "pregnant"; it was The Fifties, and you weren't allowed to say "pregnant" on television.
  • Vacation Episode: Most of the fourth season (and part of the fifth) was taken up with an entire vacation Story Arc in Hollywood. Another arc later in the fifth season involved the Ricardos and Mertzes touring around Europe, while a shorter sixth season arc had the group visiting Miami and Cuba.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Little Ricky named his dog Fred.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the show's third episode "The Diet", we get a scene involving the Mertzes' dog, Butch... who's never seen again.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: Whenever a rerun aired in between new episodes, the cast prepared a new introduction in which one of the characters brings up the events of that episode in conversation. They also used such introductions during Lucille Ball's maternity leave, when showing five never-before-aired episodes that Lucy participated in before she gave birth.
    • A Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode has Lucy relating to columnist Hedda Hopper the story of how she and Ricky first met, with the expected Whole Episode Flashback ensuing.
  • You Look Familiar: Elizabeth Patterson first played Mother Willoughby in "The Marriage License", then returned during the second season to play babysitter Mrs. Trumbull.
    • Charles Lane also had multiple appearances, usually as a different clerk at a government office or business each time.
    • Mary Jane Croft played a former classmate of Lucy's in "Lucy Is Envious" and a nosy airplane passenger in "Return Home from Europe" before becoming a semi-regular as Connecticut neighbor Betty Ramsey in Season 6.
    • Frank Nelson played eight different characters, including radio host Freddy Filmore and Connecticut neighbor Ralph Ramsey.
    • Ball's close friend Barbara Pepper appeared in eight episodes, each time as a different character.
  • Your Favorite: Lucy's favorite breakfast is waffles.
  • Zany Scheme: Pretty much every episode. Stereotypically it involves Lucy trying sneak in Ricky's nightclub, but there are plenty of different schemes, and the nightclub one was more done in spoofs than the actual show. Usually Lucy created a Zany Scheme based on some real-life trial like playing matchmaker, getting a refrigerator, or earning some quick cash for a new dress. As stated before, Hilarity Always Ensued.