[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/RickyandLucy_5370.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[BeamMeUpScotty Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!]]]]

->''I love Lucy and she loves me.''\\
''[[HappilyMarried 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!''\\

-->--'''ForgottenThemeTuneLyrics''', ''I Love Lucy'' Theme Song

A ground breaking SitCom from the husband-and-wife creative team of Creator/LucilleBall 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 [[StayInTheKitchen wife things]] because he didn't have the heart to tell her she had no talent. Lucy would come up with a ZanyScheme to subvert his authority, by either making her own money or sneaking into the show. HilarityEnsues (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 TheSixties, 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 [[TheFifties 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'' invented the live-studio ThreeCameras technique. 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. "ItWillNeverCatchOn." 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 MoralGuardians 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 [[strike: invented]] popularized the euphemism "expecting." [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle And now you know.]]

After the regular series ended, the cast carried on with ''[[LucyDesiComedyHour 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 [[TropeMaker responsible for more tropes]] than anything on television before or since (excepting perhaps ''Franchise/StarTrek'', which, by the way, was ''also'' originally produced by Desilu Studios). As noted above, [[ReRun it has not stopped airing]] since October 15, 1951. The ''entire reason'' that TheOldestOnesInTheBook 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).

----
!!This show provides examples ([[UrExample often the very first examples]]) of:

* FiveFiveFive: Subverted in the episode "The Million Dollar Idea", in which the phone number given to order "Aunt Martha's Old Fashioned Salad Dressing" is Circle7-2099
** 99% of a ContinuityNod to the episode in which Lucy gives birth, in which Ricky calls Circle1-2099 for Fred to bring his make-up case.
** And when they are in Italy they place an oversees call to Murray Hill5-9099
* AccidentalMisnaming: Lucy's mother constantly calls Ricky "Mickey" (and, on at least one occasion, "[[UnknownRival Xavier]]").
** Though it might actually be MaliciousMisnaming, since she correctly calls their son "Little Ricky". Lampshaded with Ricky saying: "How do you like that? He's Little Ricky and I'm Big Mickey."
* AcmeProducts: In "The French Revue", the only words Fred can read on a French restaurant's menu is 'Acme Printing Service'.
* AfterShow: ''The'' ''LucyDesiComedyHour''
* AllJustADream: Pretty much the entire episode "Lucy Goes to Scotland", save for the opening and very end.
* AnimatedCreditsOpening: In the original US run, where these openings integrated the sponsor's product with stick figures of Lucy and Ricky.
* ApologyGift: Fred tries to play peacemaker between a quarreling Lucy and Ricky, by having a boquet of roses and a box of candy delivered to Lucy on Ricky's behalf.
** In another episode we find out Ricky keeps a box of chocolate in the back of the closet complete with gift tags for Christmas, Aniverseries, Valentines and other various holidays for times he forgot to get a gift .. including a generic 'forgive me for what I did' card. Mistakenly having given it to Lucy, he takes it back.
--> '''Lucy''': You certainally don't think I'll be surprised now.
--> '''Ricky''': You might...these chocolates are three years old!
* [[AsHimself As Himself/As Herself]]: The list of celebrities appearing as themselves, everyone from Hedda Hopper to Creator/BobHope to Creator/OrsonWelles. By the time of the AfterShow ''[[LucyDesiComedyHour Comedy Hour]]'', 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.
* [[AsHimself As Superman]]: In "Lucy meets [[Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman Superman]]", George Reeves is always refered to only as Superman, even when it is just the adults talking among themselves. This was most likely so as not to ruin the magic for kids watching the episode, but it also stands as a sad reminder of the typecasting that lead to the actor's downfall.
** He also jokingly asks the 5-year old boys if they want to wrestle. George Reeves tried to get into professional wrestling after his Superman days started to wane.
* AudioAdaptation: there was a brief attempt to adapt ''I Love Lucy'' 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.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Fred and Ethel have a number of these moments, for all their bicker and back-and-forth nagging. In fact, it reaches hilarious proportions in one episode, where Ricky is entertaining on a cruise ship; in earlier episodes with scenes set near large bodies of water, Fred mentions his seasickness (and once even got woozy on a ship that was tied off at the dock), however, Fred suddenly does a 180 degree turn, and actually turns into a ''romantic''. [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness Ethel is actually concerned about Fred's unusual behavior at first]], but is eventually entranced at the idea of her and Fred having a second honeymoon, and basically spend the rest of the episode enjoying various different activities on the ship in a lovey-dovey manner,
** Ethel moreso in general. Any slight indication that Fred may be spending time with another woman, Ethel starts sobbing at the prospect of losing her, "Beautiful, fat, old goat Fred".
** Averted in real life, as Vance and Frawley's working relationship could more accurately be called "Oh, Wow! They Really Do Hate Each Other".
* [[BANGFlagGun BANG Flag Gun]]: In the episode "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her" Lucy mistakes one of these for a real gun.
* BaseballEpisode: "Lucy Meets BobHope".
* BigApplesauce: 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.
* BigEater: Ethel, who was the butt of quite a few "fat" jokes from Fred. (Rather hypocritical of him really, since, despite Ethel's enormous appetite, ''he'' was actually much more overweight.)
* BilingualBonus: Ricky Ricardo often spoke Spanish which was nice for Spanish speakers.
** Special mention should go to "Ricky Minds the Baby" in which Ricky acts out the bedtime story "Little Red Riding Hood" to Little Ricky for 2 minutes using less than 10 words in English such as "hunter", "hello" and "Oh, my!".
* BlandNameProduct: Phillip Morris had the writers change "Lucky Bucks" to "Bonus Bucks" out of fear viewers would think of competitor Lucky Strike.
* {{Bridge}}: The popular game among the ladies.
--> '''Lucy'''(After Ricky announces he won't be able to play with the other three) Wanna play three handed Bridge, Ethel?
--> '''Ethel''': Sure. I'll go get the Dummy.
* BritishRoyalGuards: 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. [[spoiler: If one looks really closely, one can see the guard's lips curling up slightly]].
* BobHope: Guest starred AsHimself on the 6th season premire 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!"
* BookEnds: 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 [[WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs Custom's Agent]] saying it about what Lucy and Ethel did with the 25lbs of cheese on the plane.
** The Hollywood trip is bookended by two instances of three of them ganging up on the fourth...Ricky, Lucy and Fred teaming up to make Ethel look like a fool to her hometown just before reaching L.A. and Ricky Fred and Ethel teaming up to guilt Lucy out of accepting a year's show business contract, nothing big just what she always dreamed of, just before leaving.
* ButtMonkey: 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.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Justified. The show is set in the BigApplesauce, and the show was filmed in Hollywood, however, almost everything on the show takes place on a soundstage before a LiveAudience, including exteriors (noticable with wrinkled, canvas flats for scenery), so it's easily overlooked and forgiven.
* {{Calvinball}}: 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.
* [[CantHoldHisLiquor 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'' (46 proof).
* TheCastShowoff: 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.
* CatchPhrase: "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do." - Ricky, despite being something of a BeamMeUpScotty. "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.
* CelebrityLie: In "Harpo Marx," Lucy had been bragging in letters to Carolyn Appleby about all the celebrities she's been hanging out with in Hollywood, even promising to produce some when she comes out for a visit. When Ricky refuses to help, though, Lucy schemes to have near-sighted Carolyn lose her glasses and then to pose as various celebrities. Meanwhile, Ricky bumps into Harpo and [[HilarityEnsues asks him to pay the girls a visit]].
* CelebrityParadox: In an early episode Lucy mentions Tennesee Ernie. Later Cousin Ernie visits (and hangs on).
* CharacterDevelopment: Of the four of them, mostly Fred. While they all retain consistent personalities throughout the entire series, Fred comes off as a [[DefrostingIceQueen Defrosting Ice King]], as his grumpy and cantankerous demeanor slowly mellows with each season; watch any episode from the first season then compare to one from the last couple of seasons, and you'll notice a difference.
* TheChewToy: 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.
* ClipShow: The ''I Love Lucy'' ChristmasEpisode, 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.
* ClockDiscrepancy: The episode in which Lucy gets her passport.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Lucy's Mother. Although the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
* ComicBookAdaptation: One of the first TV series to be adapted as a comic book, via Dell Comics. In the 1990s, Malibu Comics published several titles based on the series, including a 3-D special.
* CompilationMovie: 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.
* ContinuityNod: In the episode in which Ricky and Lucy decide to buy the house in Connecticut, Fred mentions and produces the "99 year lease" the Ricardos signed at the end of the episode "Breaking the Lease". Later on in the same episode, Lucy and Ethel remind each other of past events happening in the apartment, such as Lucy wallpapering Ethel into the wall.
* {{Corpsing}}: An occupational hazard of working with Lucille Ball, with Arnaz probably being the most frequent victim. Just look at him in the Vitameatavegamin scene.
* {{Costumer}}: In one episode, they visit Scotland and Lucy dreams she and Ricky are the leads in a Highland historical romance.
* CounterZany
** Sometimes taken to [[GambitPileup mounting levels]] of [[XanatosSpeedChess 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''.
* CourtroomEpisode: The season 2 episode "The Courtroom" combines this with TheRashomon, with the Ricardos and Mertzes suing each other after breaking each other's TV sets.
* CrankyNeighbor: Fred Mertz.
* CrushingHandshake: In a memorable episode, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his knees, but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to ''his'' knees.
* ADayInHerApron: "Job Switching" has Ricky and Fred tending to the housework while Lucy and Ethel get jobs at a chocolate factory.
* DeadpanSnarker: 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.
* DisguisedInDrag: Fred dressed in women's clothing in "Ricky Asks for a Raise" in order to fool the Tropicana owners (long story).
* DistractedByTheLuxury: 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.
* DomesticAbuse:
** 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 ''TheHoneymooners'' 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?!?
** In one of the California episodes, Lucy lies out in the sun, planning to get a little red so Ricky will think she is sunburned and won't hit her. Of course she gets more burnt than she planned and then [[ItMakesSenseInContext has to wear a rough tweed suit with a high collar in fashion show]].
* DressesTheSame: Lucy and Ethel purchase the same dress for a performance they're doing together (at two different stores, no less).
* EatingPetFood: Lucy is forced to eat a dog bisquit while trying to hide the fact that she didn't get rid of Fred (the dog).
-->'''Lucy''': They have it all over doughnuts for dunking!
* ElvisPresley: In one episode Ethel can't use the pay phone because "...some teenager was talking to her girlfriend about that Elvis....Whats-his-name!"
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: 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.
* FakeCharity: The Ladies Overseas Aid.
** They choose a made-up name, not realizing that there ''was'' a charity named this. The proprietor of the TV Store who had donated the prize contacted the national chairwoman who accepted the "donation." Lucky for Lucy and Ethel because they were about to be arrested for fraud.
* FamedInStory: Later episode celebs such as BobHope and OrsonWelles can't believe all those stories about Lucy meeting celebrities can possibly be true. And then they meet her....
* FawltyTowersPlot
* FedToTheBeast: The show plays around with this quite a bit in the musical Scottish episode, in which Lucy dreams of returning to her ancestral Scottish village only to discover that as the last known member of the [=McGillicutty=] clan, she's slated to be fed to a two-headed dragon (played by Fred and Ethel). Though the dream ends before she can be eaten, this inspires considerable BlackComedy as the villagers first test her to determine whether she really is a [=McGillicutty=] ("Aye, that ye are; none of the [=McGillicuttys=] ever could dance worth a hoot!") and compliment her that she looks "good enough to eat!" Ricky also does a hilarious singing lament about his being "In Love With A Dragon's Dinner."
* ForeignCussWord: 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?"
* ForeignLanguageTirade: Ricky may be the TropeCodifier for this one.
* ForgottenBirthday: 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. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation We think]].
* ForgottenThemeTuneLyrics: Quoted above, though they did actually appear in the show. This version of the theme made a ThemeTuneCameo 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 specificly for this episode.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Lucy (choleric), Fred (melancholic), Ethel (phlegmatic), and Ricky (sanguine).
* FunnyForeigner: Ricky could be regarded as a mild one of these.
* FunWithForeignLanguages
* FurryFandom: 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 NightmareFuel as a two headed dragon.
** In one episode Fred plays a Frog in Little Ricy's school play.
* GetRichQuickScheme: 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.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar
* HistoryMarchesOn: In "Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio", one of the questions on the radio quiz show was, which of the 48 states was the last to be added? Of course, this was before Alaska and Hawaii bumped the U.S. up to fifty states.
** Which leads to a HilariousInHindsight moment ... After Lucy is corrected that there are 48 states, she says, "Oh, yes, I forgot Alaska and Hawaii!"
* HollywoodCalifornia: Ricky gets the starring role in ''Don Juan'', forcing the Ricardos to take an extended trip to Hollywood, with the Mertzes tagging along.
* HollywoodToneDeaf: 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.
* ImpossibleLeavening: 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.
** After the dough, with "excessive yeast", had grown ever larger, as well as ever more ''massive''.
* IncessantMusicMadness: In a late episode, Little Ricky receives a snare drum and plays it incessantly. Soon, his parents' movements [[MickeyMousing match the beat he's playing]].
* InsaneTrollLogic: In "The Gossip", Ricky makes a bet with Lucy that she can't go longer than Ricky can without gossiping. Trying to lure her into a trap, he pretends to speak in his sleep by saying some juicy gossip, which Lucy can't help but tell Ethel. Ricky reveals the whole thing was a hoax to get them to lose the bet, but Lucy realizes that this means ''Ricky and Fred'' were the ones to gossip first. Ricky denies this to be true:
--> '''Ricky''': Now wait a minute, girls, wait a minute, you have misconstrued the entire point of this situation. Now you see, ''if'' the story were true, then we would have been gossiping. But the story was ''not'' true. We made it up. The whole thing was [[{{Malaproper}} friction]]. So we were not gossiping. Now, you girls ''believed'' that the story was true so you ''were'' gossiping. Now, that's the whole thing.
* IntoxicationEnsues: "Vitameatavegamin contains vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals" -- and 23 percent alcohol.
* IsThisThingOn: 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 trys to talk correctly to the ''Charm School'' teacher.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPAY: Often used by Ricky trying to say words in English - like one time he explained that a Mind Reading act at the club was achived through "e-lec-tron-NEEKS".
* ItsQuietTooQuiet: In "Lucy Gets Chummy With the Neighbors", Ethel and Fred visit Lucy and Ricky, but nobody's home. Both remark that it's too quiet, and Ethel adds that she doesn't like it so quiet. Suddenly, Ricky storms into the house and shouts in Spanish, having just gotten in a fight with Ralph Ramsey.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Fred, and arguably Ricky
** Ethel, Fred and Ricky in "Lucy and the Dummy" for making Lucy give up her lifetime goal of an acting contract, for her own good of course.
* TheKeyIsBehindTheLock: Lucy gets locked in a walk-in meat freezer and a steamer trunk, both times with the key in her pocket.
* KnifeThrowingAct: 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.
* KnittingPregnancyAnnouncement: Subverted when Lucy and Ethel think their husbands are going to join the army and take up knitting. The husbands notice them doing this, and naturally assume they are both having babies.
* LaughTrack: Not in the show itself, as it was done in front of a live audience - but virtually every canned laugh since then is laughter from this show.
* LargeHam: Lucy, any time she ends up on stage.
* LivingProp: Ricky's band members in scenes set at the Tropacana/Club Babalu.
** A literal example - the baby chicks let lose in the house.
* LockedInAFreezer: The famous episode where Lucy buys a walk-in freezer, and locks herself in while moving all the meat she bought into the furnace.
* LoudOfWar: Lucy and Ricky tried to get out of their lease by having a loud Cuban jam session late at night. Fred and Ethel turned the tables by selling tickets to the "concert."
* LyingFingerCross: Subverted in one episode where Ricky forces Lucy to take a vow. Lucy, with one arm behind her back, begins saying the vow, but then Ricky pulls her arm out to reveal her crossed fingers, and uncrosses them.
* MadAtADream:
** In "Ricky's Old Girlfriend", Lucy dreams that Ricky left her for Carlotta, leaving her poor and homeless on the streets with only a button given to her in her coin cup. Ricky, of course, doesn't get why she's so angry at him when she wakes up.
** In, "Lucy Goes to Scotland," Lucy has a near-entire episode [[ImagineSpot dream sequence]], in which being the last of the [=McGillicuddy=] Clan, she's to be fed to a cantankerous two-headed dragon (Fred and Ethel) that awakens every thirty years, and eats only [=McGillicuddy's=]. At one point in the dream, she meets Scott [=McTavish=] [=McDougal=] [=McCardo=] (Ricky), who falls in love with her, and vows to prevent the dragon from eating her, even if it means sacrificing his own life... but when the dragon is brought to the village for its meal, Scotty chickens out at the last minute, and Lucy is thrown to the dragon. Lucy then wakes up, and proceeds to hit Ricky with her pillow in a fit of rage, despite Ricky not knowing why she's upset with him.
* TheMagicPokerEquation
* {{Malaproper}}: Ricky on occasion, due to his lack of familiarity with English idioms.
* MeaningfulName: In a gag often EditedForSyndication since it takes place at the beginning of the scene, Lucy uses a book entitled ''How To Sing'' by F. Alsetto.
* MenCantKeepHouse: The episode "Job Switching" had Ricky and Fred invoke this trope along with ADayInHerApron.
* MirrorRoutine
* MistakenForCheating
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Mr. Mooney. Though he ''did'' continue to employ Lucy despite her antics, so he must have ''some'' compassion.
* MultiPartEpisode: ''The Dancing Star''/''Lucy Meets Harpo Marx'' , ''Cousin Ernie Visits''/''Cousin Ernie Hangs On'' and ''Lucy Visits Grauman's''/''Lucy Meets John Wayne''. Also the hour long episode with Talula Bankhead fits this format - the first half hour deals with Lucy meeting and trying to make a good impression on the star, the second half dealing with Lucy trying to get her to preform for the PTA.
* MusicalEpisode: Plenty, considering Ricky is a band leader.
* NeverSayDie: Or "pregnant" for that matter.
* NobodyThinksItWillWork: 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.
* NoodleIncident: The 4th of July party Lucy organized for her Women's Club.
-->'''Ethel:''' Poor Ricky -- his eyebrows didn't grow in for a month.
* OhCrap: Pretty much any time Lucy said, [[CatchPhrase "Eeeeeeeeew!"]]
* OneSteveLimit: Subverted with Fred the Landlord and Fred the Dog.
-->'''Little Ricky''': Mommy, Mommy, Fred ran away!
-->'''Ethel''': Which Fred?
-->'''Little Ricky''': MY Fred!
-->'''Ethel''': Oh, nuts!
* PieInTheFace: "The Diner" ends with a big pie fight between the Ricardos and Mertzes.
* PlayingATree: Ricky in Little Ricky's school play.
* PlayingGertrude: Ethel is supposed to be much older than Lucy, closer in age to her husband Fred, but Vivian Vance was actually a full ''22'' years younger than her onscreen husband (and only two years older than Lucille Ball). Vance was annoyed that she was paired with such an older man, which caused some RealLife 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 [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing ordered champagne for everyone in the place]].
* ThePrecariousLedge: In "Lucy Meets Superman" Lucy dresses up as Superman for little Ricky's birthday party after promising that Superman would show up but then it looked like he might not. She crawls out on the ledge of the building to come in through the window but the "real" Superman [[note]]George Reeves from ''The Adventures of Superman''[[/note]] ''does'' show up while she's out there. She gets her cape stuck on a drainpipe so she's stuck out there in the rain. Superman goes out on the ledge and helps her get unstuck.
-->'''Ricky:''' Lucy, of all the crazy things you done in the fifteen years we been married this is --
-->'''Superman:''' Wait a minute, Ricardo! Do you mean to say that you've been married to her for fifteen years?
-->'''Ricky:''' Yeah, fifteen years.
-->'''Superman:''' And they call ''me'' Superman!
* PrettyInMink: 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 ([[ForgottenAnniversary which he forgot]]), and he spends the episode trying to trick her into losing it, until he fesses up. [[spoiler:It turned out she tricked him. It wasn't their anniversary at all.]]
* ProductPlacement: The characters frequently made gags about Philip Morris cigarettes, who sponsored the first four seasons. Several of these gags were [[ProductDisplacement removed in syndication]], but reinstated on home video.
** In a possible [[LampshadedTrope 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?
** In the episode in which Lucy insists on a second wedding ceremony due to a typo on the Ricardo's wedding licence, the hotel owner who is the small town's Justice of the Peace, the Sherriff, and Gas station Attendant is apparently also the Bellhop. As he puts on the bellman's cap he shouts "Call for Phillip......darn, I always forget the rest of that."
** 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 ''Theatre/TheMostHappyFella''... a show Creator/DesiluStudios ''just happenend'' 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!
** When the show goes to Paris they make sure to mention American Express a lot.
** In one Hollywood episode Lucy asks Fred to buy Q-Tips for her, mainly so he can misunderstand and bring back Pool Room Cue Tips instead.
** An in-show example: When Ricky gets an offer to do a live "Mr and Mrs TV Show" (in the episode of the same name), ''every'' line in the script is an ad for the sponser, Phipps Department Store.
* ProjectileToast: a RunningGag
* ReadingTheStageDirectionsOutLoud: "And your nose is continued on the next page."
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Lucy's pregnancy was written into the show when Lucille Ball became pregnant in real life.
** The "Home Show" episode in which Lucy wins the furniture was written because Lucy hated the furniture on the set and requested a believable way of changing it in-story.
** In one episode Lucy writes a novel called "Real Gone With The Wind" in which she tells a story involving thinly vailed versions of herself, Ricky, and the Mertz's.
* RebelliousSpirit: Lucy is one, big time.
* RecycledPremise: 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.
* ReTool: ''The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour''
* ReversePsychologyBackfire: Ethel has this when she tries to talk Little Ricky into playing his drums in "Little Ricky Gets Stage Fright".
-->'''Lucy''': Did it work?
-->'''Ethel''': Well, sort of. I said, "Little Ricky, you don't want to play those nasty old drums, do you?" and he said "No."
* RoadShow: An early version of story arc.
* RuleOfThree: In the episode involving the jewel thief on the train, the Mertzes go to the dining car three times. All three times [[spoiler: Lucy pulls the emergency brake, splattering them with food.]]
** Subverted: [[spoiler: The fourth time they go, they wear rain slickers, anticipating an emergency brake pull by Lucy. It happens.]]
* RunningGag: Several, including Lucy's hair being dyed (henna rinse was an old-fashioned hair colorant).
-->'''Lucy:''' I need to get my hair dyed-''[[LastSecondWordSwap WASHED!]]''
* SaintBernardRescue: While in the Swiss Alps, Band Manager Fred accidently 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.
** Subverted in one episode when Lucy suffers a St Bernard attack from Richard Widmark's dog.
* TheScrooge: Fred is a mild one.
* SecondBanana: Vivian Vance's Ethel to Lucille Ball's Lucy, most of the time.
* SeriesContinuityError: 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.
* ShoutOut: One of the pairs of potential baby names is "Robert or Marilyn", refering 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 ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'' and ''Series/DennisTheMenace'', helped develop ''I Love Lucy''.
** In one episode, Lucy tries to give herself a perm in order to save money, but she does it for too long and ends up with an afro. Fred teasingly calls her LittleOrphanAnnie.
* TheShowGoesHollywood: The show had a season-long arc set in Hollywood where Ricky gets a part in movie.
* SignificantReferenceDate: 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 airdates.
* ASimplePlan
* SitCom: The TropeCodifier for years.
* SlapstickKnowsNoGender: 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.
* SleepingSingle: 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.
** Subverted, however, with Ethel and Fred -- in "First Stop" we find out that they have a nightly ritual that involves Ethel tying Fred to the bed (not [[HeadTiltinglyKinky ''that'']] way).
-->'''Lucy''': You do that every night?!?
-->'''Ethel''': Yea, but it took years of practice.
* SmokingIsCool: The show was produced and aired during an era where smoking was not only cool, but accepted in contemporary society, and in some contexts, expected. All four series leads were smokers and lit up during various episodes, especially those aired in the first three or four seasons. This began to be toned down by 1956, when Little Ricky became more a part of the stories (and Phillip Morris no longer the show's main sponsor).
* {{Spexico}}: Lucy seems to think Cuban culture is a mixture of Mexico, Spain, and ''Brazil'' of all places.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''The Lucy Show'', ''Here's Lucy'', ''Life with Lucy''
* SpringtimeForHitler: An attempt to stop people from ordering Aunt Martha's Old Fashioned Salad Dressing with a tv commercial featuring an audience member picked at random (Lucy) dissing the product instead created three times as many orders from people saying "Keep up with the comedy bits!".
* StatusQuoIsGod: 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 ''LucyDesiComedyHour'' 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.
* StayInTheKitchen: Less because of any chauvinism on Ricky's part, and more because Lucy really can't ''do'' anything else (though not for lack of trying, which is the [[HilarityEnsues basis for a great many episodes]]).
* StickySituation: To show Ricky how ridiculous he looks with a moustache, 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 Ricardos' bedroom. 'Nuff said.
* StylisticSuck: Lucy's operetta, ''The Pleasant Peasant'', boasts several {{Painful Rhyme}}s, as well as a contrived plot.
** Not to mention the characters. Ethel played the secretly-a-princess peasant Lily... of the Valley. Fred was Squire Quinn who ran the Inn, down by the River Out. Ricky was rehearsing his song, "I am the good Prince Lancelot. I love to sing and dance-a-lot." When the check bounced and the movers came in to repossess the props and costumes ''in the middle of the play,'' no one was really concerned.
* {{Suburbia}}: The Ricardos and Mertzes move to Westport, Connecticut in season 6.
* SubwaysSuck: Especially when you have a loving cup stuck on your head.
* SwappedRoles: "Job Switching"
* SweetPollyOliver: 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.
* SyndicationTitle: When the show was retooled into the ''LucyDesiComedyHour'', 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 NickAtNite aired them, they restored the ''Comedy Hour'' title (minus the Ford/Westinghouse sponser tags, of course). A March 2012 marathon on the Hallmark Channel had them back to ''We Love Lucy''.
* TableclothYank: Lucy does this is one episode (much to the delight of the audience).
* ThereWasADoor: In the episode "Lucy and Superman", Lucy (who is going to pose as Superman) plans to use the (several-story) window.
-->'''Ethel''': Isn't there any other way Superman enters a room?
-->'''Lucy''': Well, sometimes he comes bursting through the wall, but you know how Fred would feel about that.
* ThisIsMySide: "Men Are Messy", "The Diner"
* ThreeCameras: Again, a first for television.
* TitleDrop: In the very last ''Comedy Hour'' "Lucy Meets the Mustache", Ernie Kovacs manages to slip the phrase "Take a Good Look" into the dialouge. ''Take A Good Look'' was a comedy/game show Kovacs hosted at the time.
* TitleSequenceReplacement / ProductDisplacement: 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. A [[Creator/TheCriterionCollection Criterion]] laserdisc of the show presented episodes with the animated openings, and TV Land later reintroduced them to broadcast (now with a slightly less giant vintage TV set showing the network logo on its screen). The Ultimate Blu-Ray sets offer a choice between the animated or heart intro.
* TricksterArchetype: 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!
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: 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 existance. Cousin Ernie would be a natural.
** Lucy's editing of Ricky's pilot in "Home Movies" looks like something that would be right at home on LaughIn.
* {{Tuckerization}}: In-universe, Little Ricky names all of his pets after people he likes (many of his different pets are named after his classmates from school), and as such, named a puppy he brought home Fred. Later, in the final episode, where the puppy Fred goes missing, HilarityEnsues with Little Ricky, Lucy, and Ethel calling for him, while Fred himself either answers when he thinks they're calling for him but are actually calling for the dog, and ''doesn't'' answer when he think they're calling the dog but are calling him.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Fred and Ethel, due to Vivian Vance PlayingGertrude.
* TheUnintelligible: 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.
* UnknownRival: 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 RealLife, Cugat helped give Desi Arnaz his start in show business as a guitar player in his orchestra.
* UnusualEuphemism: ''"Enciente"'' and "expecting" for "pregnant"; it was the Fifties, and you weren't allowed to ''say'' "pregnant" on television.
** Not even in the episode titles that the audience did not see.
* VacationEpisode: Most of the fourth season (and part of the fifth) was taken up with an entire vacation StoryArc 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.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic: One of his first song parodies was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZlLQLFq_H4 "Ricky"]], a parody of the song "Mickey". Al plays the title role in the video.
-->"Oh, Ricky what a pity, you don't understand/That every night's a {{Rerun}} and the [[LaughTrack laughter's always canned]]".
* WeNamedTheMonkeyJack: Little Ricky named his dog Fred.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In the show's third episode, "The Diet", we get a scene involving the Mertzes' dog, Butch...who's never seen again.
** [[FridgeBrilliance Maybe Lucy ate him.]] She ''was'' desperate from hunger on the starvation diet at the time...
* [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse What Happenened To The Mouse .... And the parakeet, and the fish, and the frog, and the turtle, and the goldfish...]]: In the episode with Little Ricky bringing home Fred the puppy, a whole bunch of other pets are shown and mentioned in this one episode only.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: 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.
* WorkOffTheDebt: In "Equal Rights" Lucy and Ethel have to wash dishes after Ricky and Fred make them pay for their own meals with money they don't have after they complain that they should be treated just the same as men.
* YouLookFamiliar: 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.
** The actor who played the Ricardo's milkman in one New York episode returned to play Bobby the Bellboy in the Hollywood episodes.
** Lucy fails to notice that the man she hired to teach the foursome proper English looks exactly like the guy she sold her furniture to a few months earlier.
* YourFavorite: Lucy's favorite breakfast is waffles.
** Little Ricky's favorite bedtime story is ''Little Red Riding Hood''.
* ZanyScheme: 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 ZanyScheme based on some real-life trial like playing matchmaker, getting a refrigerator, or [[GetRichQuickScheme earning some quick cash]] for a new dress. As stated before, [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity Always Ensued]].
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