Paramount // 1956 // 680 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 26th, 2005
"Whhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" -- Lucy (Lucille Ball) in just about every episode of I Love Lucy
It's season five for redheaded comedic wunderkind housewife Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her spicy Latino, patient hubby Ricky (Dezi Arnaz). You'd think that after four seasons Lucy would have learned how to stay out of trouble; on the contrary, she's in deeper water than every before! This time around Lucy digs her own grave when she steals John Wayne's footprints from a famous Hollywood tourist attraction, disguises herself as a nurse when little Ricky gets sick and ends up in the hospital, and is left at port as a cruise ship leaves sans our heroine! Along for the ride are the Ricardos' best friends, the every frumpy and often grouchy Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). It's shenanigans aplenty as everyone discovers why you and I Love Lucy!
The episodes included on this set are as follows:
* Lucy Visits Grauman's
* Lucy And John Wayne
* Lucy And The Dummy
* Ricky Sells The Car
* The Great Train Robbery
* The Ricardos Are Interviewed
* Lucy Goes To A Rodeo
* Nursery School
* Ricky's European Booking
* The Passports
* Staten Island Ferry
* Bon Voyage
* Second Honeymoon
* Lucy Meets The Queen
* The Fox Hunt
* Lucy Goes To Scotland
* Paris At Last
* Lucy Meets Charles Boyer
* Lucy Gets A Paris Gown
* Lucy In The Swiss Alps
* Lucy Gets Homesick In Italy
* Lucy's Italian Movie
* Lucy's Bicycle Trip
* Lucy Goes To Monte Carlo
* Return Home From Europe
I Love Lucy was certainly a prophetic TV title -- audiences truly loved the spunky redhead and her feisty Latin husband through multiple seasons of mishaps, comedic misadventures and misunderstandings. If the sitcom has a grandmother, I Love Lucy is surely it.
Instead of talking about the fifth season of the show -- which is filled with lots of comedic moments and classic skits, and has been dissected to death by a gazillion TV scholars -- I want to talk about what has kept Lucy such an iconic figure in television. Why is the show still seen in reruns when newer sitcoms like Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place have fallen into the studio vaults? Why do Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred still make us laugh decade after decade?
I think the answer can be found in the four lead's wonderfully manic performances, and the fact that there was someone for everyone. Let's take a quick look at the performers:
Lucy: Redheads can relate. Pretty girls can identify. Anyone who's ever tried to do something little that ended up as a big mess knows what Lucy is talkin' about. Those without any manual dexterity get it. Anyone who has ever begged forgiveness for something they've done from a husband or wife can identify. Anybody who wails at the first sign of frustration, nod your heads slowly.
Ricky: Latin lovers can relate. Those with accents who always seem to be misunderstood can identify. Those who've ever tried to converse with someone who has an accent totally get it. Anyone who uses far too much hair gel, Ricky is your God.
Ethel: Those with girlfriends far prettier can relate. Anyone who's ever been second banana understands. Women married to bald men get her. Woman who get annoyed easily catch on. Those who seem to have a cynical, loveless marriage nod their heads silently.
Fred: Toupee wearers get it. Anyone with a beer belly can identify. Anyone who is married to a second banana with a really hot redheaded girlfriend can relate. Anyone named Fred can relate, except for Flintstone, because he was A.) a cartoon and B.) lived in the Stone Age, years before this show ever aired.
You see? I Love Lucy was popular not just because it was entertainment: it was entertainment everyone and anyone could relate to!
Lucy was always getting into trouble, and a lot of people can identify with that. Who amongst us haven't been caught stealing Hollywood royalty footprints from Grauman's Chinese Theater? Okay, maybe that's stretching it, but you know what I'm talking about -- you try to do one little thing and it blows up in your face. That has always been Lucy's charm; she is a woman still lovable when she's completely screwing up.
By today's high television standards the writing and acting sometimes comes off as stiff, yet the show still retains a domestic, goofy charm. While Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz were married and divorced in real life, the love of Lucy and Ricky lives on forever in TV land -- who can't sympathize with having a spouse or significant other that tries our patience to the limit? Sure, they never slept in the same bed together, which means Lucy apparently became pregnant through some weird form of osmosis. And yes, in all the episodes I don't think anyone ever used the bathroom. Yet with all the oddness of the show, it still feels like the '50s version of Everybody Loves Raymond (with a slight bit of role reversal).
I Love Lucy is a show that will go on into future generations. Though the show is best remembered as one of the first classics of TV (from a time definitely considered the "golden age" of television), I think I Love Lucy will be remembered for far better reasons: warmth, likable characters, funny situations and great chemistry between the four leads.
Long live Lucy!
I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Paramount has done what appears to be a fantastic job of clearing off the dirt, dust and imperfections on these transfers. The bulk of these 26 episodes are clear of any major defects; in fact, I think it's safe to say that fans watching the show for the first time on DVD will be thrilled with the results. The black levels are solid and dark and the white levels bright and clear.
The soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in English and Spanish. The best I can say about these audio mixes is that they're excellent reproductions of the original 1950s tracks. Hey, do you really need to hear Lucy wail in DTS 6.1? Each sound mix is clear of any major hiss or distortion -- overall these work very well with the episodes they're supporting. Also included on this set are Spanish subtitles.
Fans of the show will be thrilled to see the inclusion of a few laugh-filled extra features, including lost scenes, flubs, original series openings, original animated sequences, script excerpts, production notes from the show, guest cast info for each episode, promotional spots for the show, a few very short "behind-the-scenes" featurettes, and five complete episodes from Lucy's radio show, "My Favorite Husband." The four-disc set comes housed in slim-line DVD cases and a cardboard box.
Review content copyright © 2005 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 680 Minutes
Release Year: 1956
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Lost Scenes
* Behind-the-Scenes Featureattes
* Original Series Openings
* Original Animated Sequences
* Guest Cast Info
* Script Excerpts
* Production Notes
* Promo Spots
* Five Radio Show Episodes