STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $39.98 (Amazon is selling it for $24.99 now!)
RUNNING TIME: 12 hours, 53 minutes

  • New Interview with Lucy Arnaz
  • New Interview with Jimmy Garrett
  • Clips from “Opening Night” Special
  • Vintage Openings
  • Vintage Closings
  • Cast Commercials
  • Vintage Network Promos
  • Flubs
  • Cast Biographies
  • Production Notes
  • “The Lucy Show” Vintage Merchandise

The Pitch:

Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance return to the screen, this time with way too much time on their hands and continuing to ruin everything they touch.

“Sheesh! Botox costs more than an Asian?”

The Humans:

•  Lucille Ball
•  Vivian Vance
•  Candy Moore
•  Jimmy Garrett
•  Ralph Hart
•  Numerous special appearances. An absolute goldmine. You can watch Lucy and Andy Griffith waltzing on the same sound stage in a rare moment in one of the promo commercials for the network that they included as an extra. Also Nancy Kulp, whom we best know as Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies. Most of the extras I did not recognize, as my own mother was a kid when this show came out. But what’s great is that the extras have a great biography section where you can learn about the person that got a roar of applause from the studio audience when you didn’t know them from Adam.

“Lucy, tell the truth. Did you poop in the space suit?”

The Nutshell:

Lucy and her young son and teenage daughter and Vivian and her young son are under the same roof. Lucy is receiving money from a dead husband, and Vivian is receiving alimony. This allows them to experiment with jobs for extra cash, volunteering, dating, and home improvement. It’s a fun way to see the issues of single parenthood and joblessness extend back through history in black and white, tackled only the way Lucille Ball can–on trampolines, in space suits, in fire trucks, and on stilts!

“Well eff you too, you bleating bitch.”

The Lowdown:

If you already “love” Lucy, you’re guaranteed to love this show. As always, the chemistry and cooperation between Lucy and Vivian is old hat–in a way that makes you feel comfortable watching it, as if they were roommates or next door neighbors. (Because, really, you’ve already had them in your living room many times if you grew up watching Lucy.)

Post-hysterectomy. Now she wears her junk on the outside.

I can’t say enough about Lucille Ball’s mastery of physical comedy. It’s at a level we never even saw in the I Love Lucy show. I got a kick out of seeing an aging Lucy (she ages beautifully!!) walk on stilts, perform judo, jump on a trampoline–things we never saw our Lucy do in I Love Lucy. No matter how scripted the physicality is or isn’t, you wouldn’t know because it seems instinctual.

Amphibious olds happen.

Caveat: It’s gonna take you a couple of episodes to get used to a few things. One, because of the sound quality in the early sixties, the actors yell their lines. The dialogue is delivered like dialogue, slowly enunciated as if from stage actors.  The cadence and volume sound forced, yet after a couple of episodes you can accept it as stylistic based on your own modern perspective. 

They fucked up, homes.

Two, every episode ends with an unmistakable punchline that punches you in the face with its obviousness, whether verbal or physical. The conspicuousness of the structure seems cheesy at first, and then, like the sound quality, you accept it for what it is and enjoy it.

Every bus is a bang bus when Lucy drives it. Also the tag line on her other line of DVDs.

Three, the premise that Lucy and Vivian are mothering three children is never quite committed to. Only a tiny handful of episodes feature the children (none of them won my heart or made me laugh), and those episodes don’t seem to stand up to the canon of what we expect The Lucy Show to deliver. Interjections by the high pitched whining little boy voice of Garrett only grate on my ears. He’s scripted to play the roll of the smartass, and the writers are looking hard for laughs with his character. It’s really off-putting. All I want is Lucy and Vivian. And something else isn’t right: they seem a bit old to be mothers of such young children. Confirmed: Lucy and Vivian’s actual ages are 52 and 54 respectively. No it’s not impossible, but uncommon and unlikely for them to have such young ones. It doesn’t ruin the show, but it leaves you feeling that something is “off.” Too many wrinkles for such young charges.

Even a woman-driver on stilts.

The Package:

They pushed hard to get extra material for the DVD here, but you get a sense that they turned over every stone on the part of the connoisseur’s account. Some of the material, like the vintage commercials where Lucy and Vivian are pushing kitchen products are rare novelties. Other features, like the “flubs” have you expecting out takes when what you really get are editing mistakes like paintings appearing in one cut and disappearing in another and such. Most appreciated inclusions are the interview with Lucy’s real life daughter and aforementioned cast biographies which add a teaching aspect about who the guest actors were–valuable to someone like me who is out of touch with sixties-era actors and known faces. Lucy has been dead 20 years upon this DVD release, and all I want is an interview with her. Not bad on the DVD creators, just on Lucy herself. Damn her for leaving us.

9 out of 10