Series / I Love Lucy

"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!"
Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics to the I Love Lucy Theme Song, as sung by Ricky to Lucy in "Lucy's Last Birthday"

A groundbreaking Sitcom from the husband-and-wife creative team of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, under the auspices of their studio, Desilu Productions, running from 1951-1957. 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, in real life, being a very gifted physical comedian.

Ethel Mertz and her husband Fred, Lucy's neighbors and landlords (and in Fred's case, Ricky's sometimes business manager), 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.

The show is popularly credited with featuring the first "inter-racial" or "inter-ethnic" couple on American television – however, it wasn't viewed that way at the time; until the late 60's, Latin Americans were not considered a separate racial group, particularly White Hispanics like Arnaz; 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 in 1951. At the time, most TV shows were archived via 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 early 50's have either been lost or are of very little interest for reuse (videotape didn't become available until 1956). I Love Lucy, by contrast, was able to use not being broadcast live to its full advantage – Desi Arnaz invented the live studio Three Cameras technique, which is still standard in sitcoms to this day. 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?" CBS 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, because CBS in their shortsightedness signed all rebroadcast rights over to Desi, 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 in 1957, the cast carried on with The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour specials — essentially double-length "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 – they divorced shortly after the final Comedy Hour episode wrapped. Over 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 by the way was also originally 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 the Comedy Hour retool, lasted until April 1 of that year).

Since 2013, CBS is apparently undertaking an effort to have all of the most iconic episodes colorized for contemporary audiences. However, the black and white versions remain widely available on home video, and in other channels' reruns.

This show provides examples (often the very first examples) of:

  • 555: This show simultaneously uses yet predates it – the modern American telephone system only came into being four years earlier, and took still longer for its effects to percolate down. All but the most-local calls were often still accomplished through a live operator. New York City in particular used a unique method of designating calling areas within the city, which this show lampoons.
    • On multiple occasions, the phone number for the Ricardos' apartment is stated to be Murray Hill5-9099.
      • When they're in Italy, they place an overseas call to the number.
      • In the earlier episode "Getting Ready" (one of episodes leading up to the California trip) Lucy uses Murray Hill5-9099 as a fake number she gives to the car lot guy who sold Fred the old Cadillac.
    • In "The Million Dollar Idea", the phone number given to order "Aunt Martha's Old Fashioned Salad Dressing" is Circle7-2099
    • 99% of a Continuity Nod to the episode in which Lucy gives birth, in which Ricky calls Circle1-2099 for Fred to bring his make-up case.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Lucy's mother constantly calls Ricky "Mickey" (and, on at least one occasion, "Xavier").
    • Though it might actually be Malicious Misnaming, 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."
  • Acme Products: In "The French Revue", the only words Fred can read on a French restaurant's menu is 'Acme Printing Service'.
  • After Show: The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour
  • All Just a Dream: Pretty much the entire episode "Lucy Goes to Scotland", save for the opening and very end.
  • Animated Credits Opening: In the original US run, where these openings integrated the sponsor's product with stick figures of Lucy and Ricky.
  • Apology Gift: Fred tries to play peacemaker between a quarrelling Lucy and Ricky, by having a bouquet 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, Anniversaries, 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 certainly don't think I'll be surprised now.
    Ricky: You might. These chocolates are three years old!
  • As Himself: There were a lot of guest stars over the course of 170 episodes.
    • The list of celebrities appearing as themselves – everyone from Hedda Hopper†  to Bob Hope to Orson Welles. By the time of the After Show 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.
    • A variation: in "Lucy and Superman", George Reeves is always referred 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 led to the actor's downfall.
  • Assembly Line Fast-Forward: The Trope Codifier, from the famous chocolate factory scene.
  • Audio Adaptation: There was a brief attempt to adapt I Love Lucy as a radio show – a little ironic considering the concept started as a radio show years earlier – 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.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: 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. 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 more so 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".
  • Ballet Episode: "The Ballet", which centers on Lucy trying her hand at ballet. She ends up being better at slapstick comedy.
  • 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".
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: " got some splanin' to do!" was created by parodies long after the end of the show, although Ricky does say "Lucy! Splain!" In the episode "Charm School".
  • Bear Trap Bed: Subverted with Cousin Ernie...when presented with Fred and Ethel's folded up rollaway bed, he just climbed into the middle of the taco-shaped bed, later commenting that it gave him one of his finest rests in a long time.
  • Big Applesauce: Most of the original series takes place in New York City, except for three different trips.note  During the final season, the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to a small town in Connecticut.
  • Big Eater: 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.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Desi Arnaz really was from Havana, so Ricky often ranted in Spanish, which was nice for Spanish speakers… if they could get past his thick Cuban accent.note 
    • 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!".note 
    • An entire scene in "Paris At Last" is all about this trope: Lucy mistakenly passes counterfeit bills and gets arrested by Parisian police, but can't explain the situation because no one speaks English. She enlists the aid of Ricky, who speaks English and Spanish; the jail's drunk, who speaks Spanish and German; and a French officer, who speaks German and French; to translate her story for the sergeant who only speaks French. Watch the scene here (with Portuguese subtitles for an added bonus)
  • 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 Customs Agent saying it about what Lucy and Ethel did with the 25 lbs 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.
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: Lucy's "Eeeeeew!" in "The Ricardos Move Apartments" by Fred and Ethel simultaneously with Lucy when they find out Ricky had a bunch of movers come over and switch all the furniture in the apartments without telling them.
  • 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. [leaves and returns with Fred]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • California Doubling: The show is set in the Big Applesauce, but it was filmed in Hollywood. However, almost everything on the show takes place on a soundstage before a Live Audience, including exteriors (noticeable 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.
  • Can't Hold His 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).note 
  • The Cast Showoff:invoked 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 'Blimey!' to a confused Englishman. Hilariously, later on it turns out the phrase needs no translation for Italian.
  • Celebrity Lie: 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 asks him to pay the girls a visit.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In an early episode Lucy mentions Tennessee Ernie. Later Cousin Ernie visits (and hangs on).
  • Character Development: Of the four of them, mostly Fred. While they all retain consistent personalities throughout the entire series, Fred comes off as a 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.
  • 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 33 years.
  • Clock Discrepancy: The episode in which Lucy gets her passport.
    • In one episode Ricky complains about the time it takes Lucy to get ready to go out, so Lucy changes the clock time to fool herself into getting ready sooner. Unfortunately she sets it an hour back instead of an hour earlier…
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Lucy's Mother, Mrs MacGillicuddy. Although the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree…
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: 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.
  • 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 other's TV sets.
  • Cranky Neighbor: Fred Mertz.
  • Crossover: Lucy and Desi appear in character in an episode of The Danny Thomas Show ( aka Make Room For Daddy ) which makes sense since Thomas's show was also a Desilu Production. However, since Lucy Carter from Here's Lucy appears on an episode of Thomas's After Show Make Room for Grandaddy in the 70s, and Lucy Carter once met Lucille Ball on Here's Lucy …that means that Lucille Ball, Lucille Ricardo, and Lucille Carter all exist in the I Love Lucy, Make Room for Daddy/Grandaddy, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Dick Van Dyke Show Universes.
  • Crushing Handshake: In a memorable episode, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his kneesnote , but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to his knees.
  • 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.
  • Disguised in Drag: Fred dressed in women's clothing in "Ricky Asks for a Raise" in order to fool the Tropicana owners (long story).
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "The Courtroom" had Fred completely overreacting to Ricky damaging the new TV he had just given as a gift. Yes, Ricky was being stupid trying to fix a TV despite obviously having no skill in doing so, even after Fred read the warning label, but it's not like the Mertzes lost anything in the accident. At most, Ricky would be obliged to get a new TV or having the present one professionally repaired, but instead Fred blows his temper, marches down to Ricky and Lucy's apartment and kicks in their own TV's screen.
  • 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.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • 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?!?
    • 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 has to wear a rough tweed suit with a high collar in fashion show.
  • Dresses the Same: Lucy and Ethel purchase the same dress for a performance they're doing together (at two different stores, no less).
  • Eating Pet Food: Lucy is forced to eat a dog biscuit 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!
  • Elvis Presley: In one episode Ethel can't use the pay phone because "...some teenager was talking to her girlfriend about that Elvis Whatshisname!"
  • 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. To get past the Moral Guardians, one episode title was in Spanish, "Lucy Es Enciente"note .
  • Exact Words: In an early episode, Ricky is teasing Lucy about gossiping with Ethel. Because of this, Lucy promises not to say a word to Ethel. However, the story is too good, so Lucy, with her mouth taped shut, plays an absolutely epic game of charades to "tell" Ethel the story. By the end, even Ricky and Fred were Not So Above It All and were guessing along.
  • Fake Charity: 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.
  • Famed In-Story: Later episode celebs such as Bob Hope and Orson Welles can't believe all those stories about Lucy meeting celebrities could possibly be true. And then they meet her…
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Used less often than you would imagine, but does crop up once in a while. "The Black Eye" especially meets the 'wacky misunderstandings and spiralling-out-of-control assumptions' criteria of this trope.
  • Fed to the Beast: 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 Black Comedy 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."
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Ricky's Spanish tirades when Lucy pushes him beyond the brink are often thought to be these… but in actuality, he's usually saying something to the effect of "What am I going to do with this crazy redheaded girl?" In one particular episode, he and Fred get into a shouting match and he calls him something in Spanish. After they make up, Fred asks him what it meant.
    Ricky: Well, I'd tell you, but then we'd start fighting again!
  • 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 appears to follow through with it (although he's got a big surprise party planned), 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.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Lucy (choleric), Fred (melancholic), Ethel (phlegmatic), and Ricky (sanguine).
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Lucy famously pretends to be a Frenchwomen while visiting Paris; she visits a Parisian sidewalk café and snubs the Mertzes as "Les Americans", ends up ordering escargot and is horrified to find out she's ordered snails, tries to put ketchup on said snails outraging the chef, and is finally arrested for unknowingly passing the counterfeit money she was duped into taking by a conman outside the American Express Office.
  • Funny Foreigner: Ricky could be regarded as a mild one of these.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages
  • Gainax Ending: Yes, the show did feature one of these. In the final scene of the lost Christmas Episode described above, Lucy, Ricky, and Ethel all dress up as Santa Claus to put presents under the tree for Little Ricky, joining another person in a Santa Claus suit who's already there. They assume it's Fred...until they all go into the kitchen and Fred shows up at the back door. Lucy tugs on each person's beard, and discovers that the fifth person's whiskers are real. He then fades away in full view of the quartet. This means that magic exists in the I Love Lucy universe.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: Starting in 1990, several episodes have received colorized versions. Notable is the Christmas special, which aired on CBS in 1990 and 2013 onwards colorized. Interestingly, its flashback sequences were presented in their original black and white for the first two colorization jobs, while 2015 saw CBS air the entire special in color. "Lucy Goes to Scotland" was also colorized as a bonus feature for the 2007 I Love Lucy Complete Series DVD. However, the episode was originally supposed to be filmed in color, but the studio couldn't afford it, so the episode was colorized based on the color home movies shot by Desi Arnaz. When CBS televises the colorized Christmas special, they follow it up with a color version of an iconic episode - such as "Lucy's Italian Movie", "Job Switching", or "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" - to pad the timeslot to an hour. May 2015's I Love Lucy Superstar Special features color versions of "LA at Last!" and "Lucy and Superman". May 2016's Superstar Special applies this treatment to "Lucy Visits Grauman's" and "Lucy and John Wayne".
  • 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
    • In "Ricky and Fred are TV Fans," Fred and Ricky are glued to the TV set for a boxing set. When Fred runs down to the corner store in between rounds, Ethel says, "You know, he's got himself trained so he can do anything in less than a minute." After a hearty laugh from the audience, Lucy glumly tells Ethel that she knows exactly what she means.
  • HM The Queen: In "Lucy Meets the Queen", Lucy desperately wants to meet Her Majesty. In the end, she does such a good job performing in Ricky's show at Royal Albert Hall, the Queen has her asked to the royal box!
  • Hollywood California: Ricky gets the starring role in Don Juan, forcing the Ricardos to take an extended trip to Hollywood, with the Mertzes tagging along.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Lucy Ricardo. Lucille Ball was no diva, but she was no slouch either, as seen when she starred in Mame. Her ability to carry a tune seemed to run on Rule of Funny.
  • 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. After the dough, with "excessive yeast", had grown ever larger, as well as ever more massive. This comic book ad for Phillip Morris refers to the incident.
  • 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.
  • Insane Troll Logic: 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 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.
  • 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 achived through "e-lec-tron-NEEKS".
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fred, and to a lesser extent 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.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: Lucy gets locked in a walk-in meat freezer and a steamer trunk, both times with the key in her pocket.
  • 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.
  • Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The episode 'The French Revue' features Lucy (and Ethel at least once) using her usual routine of disguising herself to get into Ricky's act. Only this time, Ricky doesn't buy any of them for a second, and she gets thrown out immediately!
  • Language Fluency Denial: When Lucy finds out something seemingly incriminating, Ricky says, "No hablo Ingles!" as he heads for the door.
    Lucy: "You hablo plenty of Ingles, and you better start hablo-ing right now!"
  • Laugh Track: 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.
  • Large Ham: Lucy, any time she ends up on stage.
  • Lets See You Do Better: What kicks off the plot of "Job Switching"; Lucy and Ricky get into an argument over who has the harder job (Ricky as the breadwinner, Lucy doing