Judge Brett Cullum has some 'splainin to do...
Our reviews of The Best Of I Love Lucy (published June 29th, 2011), I Love Lucy: The Complete Second Season (published December 1st, 2004), I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season (published March 16th, 2005), I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season (published October 26th, 2005), I Love Lucy: The Complete Sixth Season (published July 26th, 2006), I Love Lucy: Season One, Volume Nine (published November 11th, 2003), and I Love Lucy: Season One, Volumes One And Two (published July 23rd, 2002) are also available.
Ricky Ricardo: Lucy! I'm home!
Why does everyone love Lucy? The answer is easy—Lucille Ball and the team that worked on I Love Lucy perfected the modern sitcom, and invented many of the trappings of the genre you still see poorly copied by lesser shows. It had likable leads, and an endless source of tension in the marriage of a spunky redhead to a hotheaded Cuban bandleader. Throw in some meddlesome neighbors, and you have comedy gold.
The fourth season of I Love Lucy surprised me. I had only seen the show in syndicated reruns, so I never knew there were actually season arcs to the show. I Love Lucy—The Complete Fourth Season chronicles Lucy and the gang's move to Hollywood as Ricky prepares to launch his movie career. Lucy gets into all sorts of trouble when she poses as Marilyn Monroe ("Ricky's Movie Offer"), sets fire to her false nose ("L.A. At Last"), gets a part in movie wearing a huge headdress ("Lucy Gets in Pictures"), dangles from a balcony to catch a glimpse of a movie star ("The Star Upstairs"), and tries to out-Harpo a certain Marx Brother ("Harpo Marx"). Thirty episodes are spread out over five discs, and we are even offered a smattering of extras that should excite any I Love Lucy fan. It's a great set for both fans and the uninitiated (though I can't imagine that anyone hasn't seen the show at least a couple of times).
If you haven't checked out these sets from Paramount, here's why you should. The episodes are uncut, so you get all the footage that's often excised from syndication airings. The transfers are very clear, and the level of detail is loving and outstanding. All the original music is restored, and we even get glimpses of the original openings, which were mini-commercials for the show's sponsors. You also get five complete episodes of the Lucy radio show My Favorite Husband. The set does have a couple of extras that don't seem all that special. The "flubs" section are just on-screen gaffes you might notice upon initial viewings. There's also a "behind the scenes" featurette, which is merely an old radio broadcast of an interview about the production.
A lot of love went into I Love Lucy—The Complete Fourth Season, and it's definitely a more economical way to collect the episodes than the single-disc volumes that are currently being issued. My only gripe with the set is that they didn't use the original mini-commercial openings for each episode rather than the now common syndication sequence with the heart and satin. A couple of commentaries would have been nice from television historians, but that's a minor point as well. Certainly the history of the show is easy enough to find out, and the real value is just having these shows uncut and clear. Being able to summon your favorite episode without having to wait for a syndication airing is what having a DVD player is all about.
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• "Behind the Scenes" Audio Featurette
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