I Love Lucy is not only one of the greatest American sitcoms of all time but also one of the best in any genre. A landmark show in its day, the appeal of I Love Lucy is enduring and evergreen. This is due in no small part to the comedic genius of star Lucille Ball. But one would be remiss not to acknowledge the immense talent of the other cast Desi Arnaz (Ball's on and off-screen husband), Vivian Vance, and William Frawley.
Arnaz was also a pioneer in the industry, ushering in a new, innovative way of filming before a studio audience using multiple cameras. And these new methods and technologies set the stage for every show that followed. Forming Desilu Production Studios, I Love Lucy holds a legendary place in television history.
But there are myriad reasons why I Love Lucy has remained so beloved since its original run from 1951 to 1957. The show's premise centers around housewife Lucy Ricardo and her bandleader husband Ricky in New York City. Never content with domestic life, Lucy always tries to get into show business herself.
But the premise moves far beyond that as crazy situations, including Fred and Ethel Mertz, the Ricardo's landlords and best friends, involve trips to Hollywood and Europe, battles between husbands and wives, parenthood, and much more.
Ball insisted her husband Arnaz be cast opposite her, making for the first interracial couple on television. This comedy endures because, despite its production era, the situations and themes often remain timeless. This type of series all ages can enjoy, and one can watch it on repeat without ever growing old.
Consequently, every one of the show's 181 episodes (not counting The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour) is worthy. So, ranking can feel a bit arbitrary. Nevertheless, that enduring appeal is undeniably showcased in the top 45 episodes of the series.
45. “Lucy Learns to Drive” (Season 4, Episode 11)
Rounding out the end of this list is one of the craziest episodes the series ever produced. Lucy is determined to learn to drive for their trip to California. But Ricky says he only will teach her after their new car is insured. Unable to wait, Lucy decides to give Ethel a lesson and accidentally crashes into the car parked in front of them.
Trying to fix their mistake before their husbands find out proves to be a crazy adventure for the girls. And the comedic talents of Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance truly shine.
44. “Lucy Visits Grauman's” (Season 5, Episode 1)
Souvenir hunters Lucy and Ethel decide to commandeer the ultimate souvenir: John Wayne's cement footprints from Grauman's Theater. Essentially stealing the block, the pair's schemes backfire when attempting to hide from the police. Lucy puts her foot in a bucket of wet cement, and it gets stuck. Trying to hide this from Ricky proves futile as some tremendous comedic antics follow.
43. “Ricky Asks for a Raise” (Season 1, Episode 35)
The cast's comedic talents are on full display in this episode that revolves around an attempt to prove how sought after Ricky is so his boss will give him a raise. When Ricky is replaced by another performer at the Tropicana Club, Lucy, Ethel, and Fred scheme to ensure no one will show up on the opening night.
This first involves tying up the phone lines and securing every reservation. The next part requires dressing in various disguises, arriving, and promptly leaving when they are told Ricky isn't performing. Each costume is more outrageous than the next, with the funniest being up for debate.
42. “Lucy and John Wayne” (Season 5, Episode 2)
One of the most legendary actors of all time, the guest star appearance from John Wayne provided one of the finest for I Love Lucy. Wayne, known for Westerns and Dramas, got to show off some comedic chops in this amusing romp. After stealing John Wayne's cement footprints block from Grauman's Theater, Lucy and Ethel accidentally drop and break it.
So they must find a way to replace it. Asking for the assistance of Wayne himself provides many laughs as each replacement keeps getting destroyed. It's a laugh-out-loud riot from start to finish.
41. “The Séance” (Season 1, Episode 7)
In the earliest produced episode on this list, the cast and writers first hit their stride with this wacky entry. Lucy and Ethel begin dabbling in astrology which proves helpful in dealing with Ricky's new boss Mr. Merriweather.
They decide to hold a séance with both Fred and Lucy pretending to be the voices of Merriweather's loved ones, Tilly and the Mrs. Thinking they reached the other side proves to be as amusing as the séance itself.
40. “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she takes Ricky to the eye doctor and ends up in the doctor's chair instead. The doctor dilates her eyes which causes blurred eyesight. This would not be an issue, say, for one thing. She is supposed to dance that night.
This episode revolves around an old-fashioned show at the Tropicana Club, with Lucy and her zany dance partner King Cat Walsh dancing the Jitterbug. The laughs are plentiful between her learning the dance and attempting to dance it with impaired vision. The best quote comes when Fred comes dancing in the apartment wearing an old fur coat, and Walsh exclaims, “dig the crazy dancing bear!”
39. “The Passports” (Season 5, Episode 11)
While preparing for their trip to Europe, a problem arises when Lucy is unable to find her birth certificate so she can obtain a passport. So she must find two people who can vouch for when and where she was born. Her first choice proves to be a bust when the girl who used to babysit her refuses to admit her actual age in front of her husband.
Her second choice of the doctor who delivered her is ideal. But Lucy thinks she won't find anyone and contemplates being a stowaway. And she accidentally locks herself in an old steamer trunk. The laughs are abundant, especially when the doctor performs a little song and dance he sang to Lucy as a little girl that is as cute as it is funny.
38. “The Ballet” (Season 1, Episode 19)
One of the most slapstick episodes of the series that is tailor-made for Ball's talents is this one that once again has Lucy trying to get into one of Ricky's shows. First, she attempts to train with a prima ballerina to hilarious results, showcasing some classic moments for Ball and guest star Mary Wickes (Sister Act).
Then, she tries her hand at a Burlesque act which includes water sprays and pies in the face. Finally, mayhem ensues when Lucy fills in for a performer at the last minute and mistakenly shows up in her Burlesque outfit instead of her ballet costume. We will sound like a broken record here, but it's hilarious.
37. “Lucy and the Loving Cup” (Season 6, Episode 12)
Lucy gets into one of her most precarious and funniest situations in this entry from the final season, proving that the show's quality never wavered. At an upcoming banquet for the jockey Johnny Longden, Ricky is meant to present a beautiful, loving cup to the athlete.
But when Lucy puts it on her head as a joke, she finds she cannot get the cup off her head. So Ethel takes her downtown to a silversmith on the subway, attempting to hide this embarrassing blunder, only for the two to get separated. Lucy is left lost and unable to see as fellow passengers look on in confusion and amusement. It was a hard lesson for Lucy, literally, but another that showcased her physical comedy abilities.
36. “The Gossip” (Season 1, Episode 24)
Lucy and Ethel thrive on gossiping. Like many, it's a fun diversion from the humdrum of the day. But when Lucy promises not to say the latest piece of juicy gossip she knows, she finds a loophole by acting it out instead. This prompts Ricky and Fred to bet their wives who can go the longest without partaking, as the men enjoy it just as much.
So, of course, both couples scheme, making for a jovial entry. This episode is unique because it features a fun twist at the end, showing that I Love Lucy knew how to subvert expectations early on.
35. “Lucy Is Enceinte” (Season 2, Episode 10)
In 1952 when this episode aired, the word “pregnant” was not allowed to be written or said on television due to censorship practices. In this episode, which uses the French word for pregnant, Lucy finds out she is going to have a baby. And through an entire afternoon, she keeps trying to tell Ricky and is constantly interrupted.
Finally, she goes to the Tropicana Club and surprises him by having him sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” to an expectant mother. And he is shocked to learn it's Lucy.
Ball was pregnant with her and Arnaz's child, so this storyline was written into the show. And many of the reactions between the two in the episode's final moments, including a flub by Arnaz and the tears they shed, were genuine. Their real emotions flooded into their characters, making this one of the most emotional moments of the series.
34. “Lucy Writes a Play” (Season 1, Episode 17)
Lucy considers herself a great talent no matter the endeavor and always manages to rope in her friends and family into whatever production she is attempting. Such is the case when she writes a play for a contest with her Women's Club.
The laughs, of course, come at the ridiculous nature of the play, significantly when she changes it from Spanish-themed to British, and everyone is not on the same page. But, from Ethel attempting Spanish to Ricky trying to sound like a British aristocrat, the results are as silly and amusing as expected.
33. “Lucy Misses the Mertzes” (Season 6, Episode 17)
Although the title suggests it is just Lucy who misses the Mertzes in this episode, that is not entirely accurate. Truthfully, Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel all miss each other deeply when the Ricardos first move from New York to Connecticut. Both couples almost immediately try to visit each other by surprise and keep missing each other.
And when the Mertzes arrive and use the key they were given, Lucy and Ricky think burglars are in their home. It's a very funny and delightful episode that is a lovely depiction of how much true friendships mean in our lives.
32. “Lucy Gets a Paris Gown” (Season 5, Episode 20)
When the Ricardos and Mertzes finally arrive in the City of Lights, all Lucy wants is a gown from the designer Jacques Marcel. When Ricky says no, Lucy goes on a hunger strike until he agrees to relent.
But Lucy being who she is, is only pretending not to eat. When Ricky learns about her scheme, he and Fred trick their wives and get them fake gowns made of potato sacks! We do not recommend Lucy's tactics and schemes in this episode. But that doesn't mean it is not amusing to watch, nonetheless.
31. “Lucy Gets in Pictures” (Season 4, Episode 18)
Lucy's dreams of being in a movie finally come true in this classic Hollywood-centric episode where she is given a small part as a showgirl who is shot and killed. The scene is simple: she must slowly walk down the stairs with the other showgirls, clutch her heart, and fall when the shot is fired.
There is just one small, or rather large, problem. The headdress she must wear as the lead girl is enormous and extremely heavy, and Lucy keeps messing up take after take as she keeps tripping and fumbling because of the weight of the headpiece. The laughs are non-stop, from Lucy's struggles to the director, who is at his wit's end. Lucy's dream may come true, but it's not as glamorous as she thought it would be.
30. “The Great Train Robbery” (Season 5, Episode 5)
On a train trip back to New York from California, Lucy imagines herself in a spy thriller, ala Murder on the Orient Express. But her instincts prove to be one blunder after the next when she mistakes a cop for a jewel thief and vice versa. Her penchant for pulling the emergency brake makes it impossible for Fred and Ethel to eat their meals without the food ending up in their laps. It's great fun, made greater by the cast and guest star Frank Nelson as the exasperated train conductor.
29. “The Handcuffs” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Physical comedy, when executed properly, is hilarious and can showcase the breadth of one's comedic genius. This episode demonstrates Ball and Arnaz's to a T. When Lucy mistakenly puts real handcuffs on her and Ricky instead of trick ones, the dilemma is how to get out of them.
There is no key, and even the locksmith they call doesn't have one. Seeing the couple try to change positions so they can sleep normally is a riot. But even more hilarious is when Ricky must perform on television with Lucy's hand doubling for his. The visuals and the routine are classic.
28. “Housewarming” (Season 6, Episode 23)
When the Ricardos move to the country, they become fast friends with their neighbors Ralph and Betty Ramsey. So when the Mertzes move there too, Lucy tries to play friend matchmaker between Ethel and Betty Ramsey. And it works a little too well when Ethel and Betty get very friendly, and she feels left out.
Things change when Lucy thinks she overhears a housewarming party being planned for them. Needless to say, all the sad feelings and misunderstandings are resolved. But the episode's highlight is Lucy and Ricky practicing acting surprised and arriving back home thinking their friends will appear at any moment. It shows not only Ball's comedic timing but Arnaz's as well.
27. “Ricky's Screen Test” (Season 4, Episode 6)
“Hark, do I hear a footfall? Is that you, Don Juan?” That is the line uttered often during this entry that focuses on a screen test Ricky must perform as an audition. When Lucy hears that she will perform with Ricky, she gets it into her head that this will be a big break for her. Her performing aspirations are too much to resist as she constantly tries to get her face seen during the screen test. And the results are as goofy and outrageous as one would imagine.
26. “Ethel's Hometown” (Season 4, Episode 15)
Character-wise, this is a different episode with the spotlight given to Ethel as their road trip to California stops in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Because Ethel exaggerated and lied, her father thinks she is the one going to Hollywood to make a movie. And he and numerous townsfolk begin to shower her with attention and praise, which ultimately goes to her head.
Soon her husband and friends have had enough and get back at her in spectacular fashion. During a concert, Lucy, Ricky, and Fred perform funny things behind her, including pantomime, carrying palm trees that seem to keep growing, magic, and more. It is one of the funniest and best scenes of the series.
25. “Redecorating the Mertz's Apartment” (Season 3, Episode 8)
Two concurrent storylines are the focus of this episode: Lucy is thrilled that Ricky is buying her a mink stole, which was a much-coveted fashion piece of the time. And Ethel is too embarrassed about how her apartment looks to have a club meeting there, so Lucy comes up with the idea to re-paint the walls and reupholster the furniture.
Of course, simple plans do not always go as expected, and their simple paint and upholstery job turns into a major disaster, making for a hilarious episode.
24. “Bonus Bucks” (Season 3, Episode 21)
For the Ricardos and Mertzes, many entanglements arise when they find a dollar bill with the winning serial numbers in the newspaper. And the results are complete and utter hilarity. From fighting over whose dollar bill it truly is and tearing it in half, to half the bill being sent to the laundry, these are the kind of shenanigans that could only happen to this foursome of characters.
A situation comedy shines when those situations are crazy yet believable, with just a hint of over-the-top humor. Each of these is true for this amusing gem.
23. “Ethel's Birthday” (Season 4, Episode 15)
The importance of friendship is displayed in this episode that centers on Ethel's birthday. As a favor to Fred, Lucy agrees to buy Ethel's present for him. But when she sneaks a peak when Lucy is with her and hates what she purchased, the two have one of their worst arguments.
The friendship between Lucy and Ethel is one of the most classic in television history, and this one shows how much it truly means to them. Petty arguments mean nothing compared to the love of a true friend. Yes, the episode is humorous, but the resolution is one of the most poignant of the series.
22. “The Fashion Show” (Season 4, Episode 19)
A steadfast theme of I Love Lucy is that the heroine must learn a lesson, sometimes the hard way. This is true for this Hollywood-centric episode where Lucy wants nothing more than a dress from the famed designer of the 1950s, Don Loper. When Ricky says she can buy one, she and Ethel head to the salon to find the perfect gown.
Complications arise when Lucy overhears about a charity fashion show featuring the wives of film stars and is determined to be a part of it. The sticky situation is that the dress she buys is far more than what Lucy could spend. So she attempts to elicit sympathy by getting a sunburn. And burnt did she get! We do not recommend this. Everything turns out okay, but it is a painfully hilarious romp for the loveable redhead.
21. “Lucy Does the Tango” (Season 6, Episode 20)
This episode is a special one in that it holds the record for the longest laugh ever for the series. The live studio audience's laughter did not cease during one scene, and it's easy to understand why. The premise for this entry is that Ricky and Fred are arguing over the fact that the chickens they purchased have not started laying eggs as promised. With the business seemingly over before it's begun, Lucy and Ethel hatch a scheme. They buy dozens of eggs to fool the boys until the chickens start laying in reality.
But their plan is discovered when all the eggs they had hiding in their pockets and jackets are unceremoniously crushed, especially when Ricky makes him and Lucy rehearse the tango they will perform at a PTA show. The audience could not contain their amusement between Ricky's surprised expression and Lucy trying to act nonchalant despite the disaster.
20. “Lucy Is Envious” (Season 3, Episode 23)
Any true I Love Lucy fan will know what you mean when you say, “It's a moo moo.” For those less familiar, that phrase is essentially a consequence of Lucy's envy and subsequent fibbing. When a school friend who believes Lucy and Ricky are wealthy arrives in town, Lucy (and Ethel as well) say they will donate $500 to charity. Too embarrassed to say they meant $5, the pair find a way to make some quick cash.
Their way involves a publicity stunt where they dress up like “Women from Mars” to promote a new film. On the top of the Empire State Building, they parade around using a made-up Martian language and pretend to kidnap an earthling. Isn't it easier just to tell the truth, Lucy?
19. “Lucy's Bicycle Trip” (Season 5, Episode 24)
When traveling across borders, one must never forget their passport. That is the lesson Lucy learns as the foursome of friends decides to take a bicycle trip from Italy to France. Constantly remembering the different locations of her passport forces the rest to travel ahead without her to find the precious item.
This is amusing in itself. But the episode also has many other delights, including a communication gap with an Italian farmer and Lucy attempting to milk a cow for breakfast. The four's trip may not have been smooth, but it made it very entertaining.
18. “Lucy Raises Chickens” (Season 6, Episode 19)
Equally sweet-natured and funny, this episode solved the dilemma of separating the Ricardos, who were living in Connecticut, and the Mertzes, who were still living in New York. They decide to go into business together, raising chickens and utilizing Fred's knowledge of growing up on a farm.
But Lucy and Ethel prematurely buy hundreds of baby chickens before they have a place for the chicks to live comfortably. And after a door is left open, the chicks escape all over the Ricardo's house. It's an episode filled with heartwarming moments and ones that are raucous as they try to find all the chicks. Lucy pretending to be a chicken is a classic moment.
17. “Never Do Business With Friends” (Season 2, Episode 31)
One of the most significant battles between the Ricardos and the Mertzes happens in this episode, where Ricky finally relents to Lucy's desire for a new washing machine and dryer, and the Mertzes buy the Ricardo's used washer. But only a day after using it, this washer breaks down in a hilarious, water-sprayed moment.
The saying “Never do business with friends or relatives” rings true here as the two couples are at each other's throats for much of the episode. But the laughs are abundant.
16. “The Tour” (Season 4, Episode 30)
One of the most enduring traits of Lucy is that she is movie star crazy. When out in Hollywood, she gets to meet many, but the scenarios are always less than ideal. Such is the case when Ricky has lunch with actor Richard Widmark and refuses to take his wife along. She and Ethel take a bus tour of movie stars' homes to ease her sorrows. And whose house just happens to be on the tour? You guessed it: Richard Widmark.
Unsatisfied with just a view of his home, Lucy wants to pick a grapefruit from his yard. But she ends up trapped behind the large wall of his property. So she must find a way to sneak out before anyone sees her. You can guess where this leads. Non-stop laughs permeate this episode, which is filled with colorful moments.
15. “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” (Season 2, Episode 16)
One of the funniest and sweetest episodes of the series is also one of the most groundbreaking for television. Because Lucille Ball was pregnant in real life, they also wrote Lucy Ricardo as “expecting.” And this episode, which involves all the uproarious shenanigans as Ricky, Ethel, and Fred attempt to help Lucy get to the hospital after she goes into labor, is one for the ages.
The birth of Little Ricky is an emotional one for the characters and one that was paramount for television. They try to rehearse with Ricky imitating Lucy, saying dramatically, “The time has come.” But of course, things do not go smoothly as they stumble and fumble through the apartment before finally getting the expectant mother there. The episode garnered a staggering 71.7 rating, making it the highest-rated episode of any series ever at the time of broadcast.
14. “Too Many Crooks” (Season 3, Episode 9)
A comedic caper for an episode, this entry involves a woman who has robbed several apartments. The police give her the name Madame X. After a few misunderstandings, Lucy and Ethel think the other is the robber and hope to catch them red-handed and save them from a life of crime.
One can only imagine how this turns out in a situation comedy- hilariously, of course. Fred delivers the best line of the episode: “If we can get Lucy to choke you, we'd have her fingerprints on your neck.” Only Fred could have such logic.
13.” Lucy's Night in Town” (Season 6, Episode 22)
When Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel venture out somewhere, it usually ends with comedic results. Such is the case when a night out to the theater turns into one crazy situation and misunderstanding after the next. First, they discover that their tickets are for the matinee instead of the evening and can only get two tickets in exchange.
Then Lucy and Ethel attempt to sneak into other seats and share Ricky and Fred's seats. And when Lucy accidentally drops Ethel's purse from the balcony, things only become more hectic. As anxious as this may sound, every moment is a riot as the Ricardos and the Mertzes attempt to have a pleasant evening seeing The Most Happy Fella. But of course, simple evenings always become rolling-in-your-seats mayhem in I Love Lucy.
12. “Rick Needs an Agent” (Season 4, Episode 29)
Lucy's crazy and relentless attempts to help Ricky finally be assigned a movie after being out in Hollywood for months come to an amusing head in this classic. Lucy pretends to be Ricky's agent and says he is so in demand that even the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein want him for their next Broadway musical.
But when her plan backfires and he is let go from his contract, Ricky amusingly loses his temper like he never has. How things are resolved is as easy as one would expect for a sitcom. The highlight is Lucy's madcap way of trying to save Ricky's job. She names as many movies she can think of that could be tailored to him, including “It Happened One Noche,” Seven Brides for Seven Cubans,” “Andy Hardy Meets a Conga Player,” and “A Streetcar Named Ricardo.”
11. “First Stop” (Season 4, Episode 13)
An episode that is sometimes forgotten and underrated, “First Stop” is truly one that deserves miles of praise. On their road trip to California, the Ricardos and Mertzes become weary and hungry from the long hours of driving. They hope to finally taste Aunt Sally's Old Fashioned Pecan Pralines, having seen signs advertising the shop for hours.
Discovering this place is out of business, the travelers are so tired they are forced to stop at the first place they come upon. And it is as run-down as they come. The cheese sandwiches are inedible. And when a train rolls by, their room shakes so much that the bed moves across the room. Every moment where these characters are put through the wringer is side-splitting entertainment.
10. “Return Home From Europe” (Season 5, Episode 26)
This episode is wacky and amusing as the trip to Europe concludes, and everything Lucy wants to bring with her on the plane proves to be an issue. She insists on bringing a sizeable 25-pound cheese she purchased for her mother, but it weighs far beyond the limit, and she would be charged an extra amount.
So in true Lucy fashion, she pretends the cheese is a baby and must keep up that pretense with her seatmate until she realizes that babies don't fly for free either. So, it's either eat this enormous cheese or hide it. And well, her hiding place is, shall we say, creative. The conclusion to this fun and fantastic run of episodes is one of the best.
9. “Bon Voyage” (Season 5, Episode 13)
A trip to Europe via a luxury cruise line sounds like a beautiful and relaxing way to travel. But for Lucy, things never go as planned. As they are preparing to set sail, Lucy rushes to her son to give him one more hug. But her skirt gets caught up in a bicycle, and the ship sails without her.
Her attempts to reach the ship only get more complicated and lead to a helicopter ride as her last resort. Her race to board to S. S. Constitution is as zany as one would think, making this embarking as classic as they come.
8. “California Here We Come” (Season 4, Episode 12)
The morning before The Ricardos and Mertzes set off for California, they suddenly discover that all the luggage and things they want to bring along cannot fit in their humble Pontiac. Of course, one would think this is a no-brainer, but this is I Love Lucy. And the show wouldn't be what it is without some hilarious and goofy antics.
From the number of packages Lucy and Ethel pile up to Fred trying to attach them all to the car, this episode is another simple premise with hilarious results. The final scene is an exemplary moment in the show's history, with the two couples happily singing the title song with gusto. It's great fun and provides us with one of the most classic images of the series.
7. “Lucy's Italian Movie” (Season 5, Episode 23)
One of the most seminal of the series, the most well-known from the European episodes, is also one of the funniest. After meeting a famous Italian director who wants to give Lucy a small part in his next movie, Bitter Grapes, she takes things too far in true Lucy fashion.
Visiting a grape vineyard where they make wine by stomping on them in a giant vat, Lucy's enthusiasm gets her in trouble with her fellow worker. Her skin turns blue from grape stains, leaving her in no state for the film. One of the series' most famous scenes is that fight amongst the grapes, but the entire episode is fantastic.
6.”Home Movies” (Season 3, Episode 20)
Equally sweet and hilarious, the charm of this episode centers around the home movies Ricky is so proud of, while the significant laughs come from the movie Lucy, Fred, and Ethel make. The movies Ricky take of Little Ricky are, indeed, adorable. But Lucy, Fred, and Ethel grow tired of watching them incessantly that he gets his feelings hurt and refuses to let them in be in his TV Pilot film.
So they make one of their own – a Western “drama” that is inadvertently funny. That is at least when it's spliced together with Ricky's movie, sometimes sped up, occasionally backward or upside down. These few minutes alone make the episode a glimmering comedic jewel. Those who love home movies themselves will love this charmer.
5. “The Courtroom” (Season 2, Episode 7)
The Ricardos and Mertzes may be best friends, but they have many fights throughout the series. None is as hilarious as when the two couples take each other to court. Lucy and Ricky give Fred and Ethel a television set for an anniversary present. But when an accident breaks it and blame is thrown around, Fred breaks the Ricardo's set to even the score.
From the amusing ways Ricky and Lucy must, quite difficultly, carry the set downstairs to Lucy rehearsing her testimony and the ridiculous nature of the stories they tell the judge, the episode has a simple premise but delivers brilliant comedy. Overall, it looks at how easily disputes can arise and be solved for these four friends.
4. “Lucy Tells the Truth” (Season 3, Episode 6)
Lucy learns the amount of trouble her fibbing can cause in this episode where Ricky, Fred, and Ethel bet her she can't tell the absolute truth for 24 hours. This bet proves extremely difficult in many ways for the woman who's hair color isn't even the truth. Many laughs are elicited at a card game with her girlfriends, where she not only tells the truth but does so without holding back.
She is harshly frank and tells her friends exactly what she thinks of them, leaving them extremely peeved. But when a chance to get into a show proves to be too much temptation, Lucy lies and says she can speak Italian, unknowingly volunteering to be the girl in a man's knife-throwing act. Everything in this entry is a riot.
3. “La at Last” (Season 4, Episode 16)
When the Ricardos and the Mertzes first arrive in sunny Los Angeles, we are treated to one of the funniest episodes (and my favorite of the series). Also, featuring one of the best guest stars of the show (William Holden, portraying himself), we see what a hilarious reflection of being in awe of Hollywood stars can be.
Wanting to hob-knob with some stars, Lucy, Ethel, and Fred head to the world-famous Brown Derby Restaurant. Seeing Lucy and Ethel as the first fan girls is amusing enough when they see both Cary Grant and Gregory Peck (off camera). But when William Holden sits in the booth beside them, all forms of hilarity ensue, including bites of spaghetti far too large and a pie accidentally falling on Holden.
The comedy only intensifies when Ricky brings Holden by their hotel to meet Lucy, and she attempts to disguise herself. This is comedy gold, from Lucy's masquerade to Ricky's reactions to his wife's shenanigans. Holden, who was good friends with Ball and Arnaz, is also stellar in this episode with non-stop laughs.
2. “Job Switching” (Season 2, Episode 1)
When one thinks of I Love Lucy, chances are this is one of two episodes that come to mind. And that is because it is classic comedy at its absolute finest, from start to finish and from the entire cast. In the second best of the series, the premise of this Season 2 opener revolves around Lucy and Ethel and Fred and Ricky trying to prove to each other whose work is more difficult: taking care of the home or a job outside of it. So the four make a bet and decide to switch jobs for a week. And, of course, they only last a day in their reversed roles.
This episode is terrific in showing that all work is challenging, has value, and should never be taken for granted. This is a poignant lesson, but framing this with comedy is genius and progressive, especially for the 1950s. The most beloved and well-known moment is Lucy and Ethel overwhelmed at the conveyer belt of a candy factory that goes much faster than anticipated. But just as funny is Fred and Ricky, who are overwhelmed by the dinner they attempt to prepare, exploding in their faces. Each scene is gut-busting and completely iconic.
1. “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” (Season 1, Episode 30)
This is the episode that is “THE EPISODE.” When one thinks of I Love Lucy, this is the only one besides “Job Switching” that is thought of more. “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” is synonymous with the series. And the scene where Lucy auditions for the Vitameatavegamin commercial and gets completely drunk is the scene that has become the most iconic for the series and star Lucille Ball. And it is not difficult to see why.
Not only is this quintessential for I Love Lucy, but for American comedy as a whole. Lucy was always trying to get into show business, and her sneaky ways backfired when the product she kept tasting had 23% alcohol. And this resulted in one of the most hilarious episodes ever created. Often copied but never truly replicated, Ball's comedic genius is on full display in the episode that is paramount. Nothing will ever compare, and this episode will make the audience as “happy-pappy” as Vitameatavegamin will.
“Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo”
“The Dancing Star”
“Building a Bar-B-Cue”
“Lucy and Bob Hope”
“Lucy and Harpo Marx”
All six seasons of I Love Lucy can be streamed on Hulu and Paramount+.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Marianne Paluso is a freelance artist and writer inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture. She especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She also partakes in the occasional Disneybound, cosplay, and YouTube video.