STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: 39.99
RUNNING TIME: 666 Minutes
  • Vintage promos
  • Lucy at The World’s Fair
  • Cast Commercials
  • Production Notes

The Pitch

Lucy Carmichael killed her husband so she could live out her life on his riches with her new lover, Vivian. Only one man can stop her from buying things she wants, and that man is…MR. MOONEY.

The Humans

Lucille Ball, Gale Gordon, Vivian Vance, Jimmy Garrett, Ralph Hart

The Nutshell

Watching The Lucy Show with modern eyes is a strange little affair. Or offensive, it really matters how sober you are. For starters, Lucy and Vivian have some kids around. Sometimes. Most of the time their kids are left to roam the streets and fend for themselves as the duo gets into some wacky low-rent hijinks, and when they are around they are pushed aside at the mere mention of money. Because, holy shit, does Lucy like money. Loves it. She loves the money left to her by her dead husband and guarded by a banker named Mr. Mooney. Played by Mr. Wilson, who finally got away from that damn street kid. Lucy needs to trick Mr. Mooney-Wilson to get the money, because…I don’t know. I suppose it’s because it works as a silly plot hook for a TV show, but there are some not so subtle hints that Mr. Mooney is the gatekeeper because Lucy is a woman and money makes women go shoe crazy. Also, you couldn’t show a woman responsibly using money on television in the sixties. That’s just gross and improbable.

“So, this is on the iPad, huh? Bravo, Steve Jobs. Bravo.”

The Lowdown

That’s pretty much the gist. Only, the show is a bit more misogynistic. But it mostly boils down to; Lucy wants money, Mr. Mooney cock blocks that shit, so Lucy kicks it up a notch. Kicking it up usually involves banana cream pie or a disguise. To be fair, she doesn’t always want money. She loses her contacts in one episode. But, you take fairly repetitive plots and throw in the dream world logic of vintage sitcoms, and it’s usually a recipe for disaster. Usually, though. At it’s best, The Lucy Show is one of the exceptions, and it’s not for kitsch value or nostalgia. The  silly charm of Lucille Ball mostly works. It shines through even in a generic followup to a truly great sitcom. Ball is still a joy to watch, even if the show itself is nowhere near the quality of I Love Lucy.

In The Lucy Show the plots are just a stage with some new props for the cast, mostly Ball, to play with. An ugly, garish stage. It’s hard to ignore just how bad and obvious the show can be, even if there is no reason to expect the quality of modern television in a fifty year old show. I don’t think any combination of hard drugs, nostalgia, rose-tinted glasses, or ignorance can fix that. Most of the show is slow and useless, and maybe that’s because I’m not an eleven year old girl circa 1962. But watching it now, I’m happy it’s the the future; with lasers, fast cars, and, most importantly, crazy computers that fit in our pocket. Cell phones and a generational tendency toward  multitasking makes this show worth watching; if only because you shouldn’t have to sit through twenty jokes about women playing poker just to see Lucille Ball feed sugar to a bear. A real bear, and she looks exactly like she is feeding a giant scary bear some sugar.

Everyone loves a little pregger Hitler.

Even ten years ago if you would have caught that episode on Nick at Nite you would turn the channel or pass out long before Lucy almost gets mauled by a black bear, and that’s why you’re watching Nick at Nite at 3 AM in the first place. But now you can play some mind numbing cell phone game and just wait for something to grab your attention. And you should. We’re an ADD, caffeine fueled, media addicted society anyway, we should just embrace it when it is actually useful. It’s so easy to turn this show off, and your instincts are absolutely correct if that is all you are doing, but we don’t need to do one thing at once anymore. Most people already don’t. Or can’t.  And it’s a terrible thing that is destroying our kids, and all that other stuff I read about on Facebook. That’s all true. But our crazy inability to focus on one thing can be used, honed, for good. We can wield our terrible attention spans and dig through shitty things to find gold. And sometimes, it’s there and it is good and true. And if it isn’t, if you just sat through Mac and Me thinking there was some Wiseau fake genius going on, be happy you three starred that evil snow level. Sure, you could also sit through and carefully pay attention to those same awful things to find the hidden gems, but that doesn’t involve Angry Birds. So I’m not doing that.

The Lollipop Guild has really lowered its standards over the years.

Lucy is The Lucy Show’s gold. Her name is the title, it’s the brand, so it’s not really a secret. And she’s not always gold, sometimes she’s just poop. Nonetheless, she is a television star. The kind which just can’t exist anymore. It’s a strange, very different type than todays television stars. She’s big and silly, exaggerating and stretching every moment for comedy. It’s not dead-on funny, she’s a clown and clowns are stupid. Or really fucking scary, but she only wears clown makeup in one episode and I didn’t need to sleep that night. But it doesn’t matter, she has the charm of someone already well versed in television and the physical command of a natural comedian. Two things that still play no matter the audience. There’s a natural timing at play, and it supersedes the dated situations and even the jokes themselves. It’s still funny, even if the pacing is far off the course of what modern ears are used to. I wouldn’t call it a lost skill, but her particular brand is long gone and that makes it all the most interesting to watch. It’s not worth sitting through hours of a dated and often offensive sitcom, but it’s worth checking out on the fly. If you happen to look up during a heated Farmville click fest and see Lucille Ball dressed up as Marlon Brando in The Wild One, don’t be so quick to go back to selling sheep; it is exactly as stupid as it looks, but you still might catch yourself laughing. Or maybe not. At least you’ll fit some television history into your afternoon of purchasing and selling fake crops.

The Package

Paramount does good with their old television releases, and this season is no different. Looks good and I heard every instance of “But, you’re a WOMAN!” loud and clear. You even have the choice between black and white and color versions of the show, if for some reason you give a shit about that. Extras are there and boring. Lots of silent footage of Lucy and even some silent promos. A whole bunch of silence, but it was a great for Paramount to include what they could get.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars