Fandom Flashback: ‘I Love Lucy’

1:30 pm EDT, March 31, 2014

Hypable’s Fandom Flashbacks returns as we look back to the days of the comedy classic, I Love Lucy.

Fandom Flashbacks are a weekly Hypable feature that takes a look back at old shows (classic, vintage, and freshly dead) and takes our readers onto memory lane as we express our favorite moments, characters, and plots.

SHOW SYNOPSIS

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Lucy Ricardo is your typical 1950s housewife… well, mostly. Lucy is married to a Cuban band-leader named Ricky, but though Mr. Ricardo is a budding star in the New York entertainment scene, the couple remains firmly middle-class. They rent a typical brownstone apartment from their best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz, who offered them a 99-year lease after meeting them.

greenquoteLUCY: RICKY, WE’RE REVOLTING!
RICKY: NO MORE THAN USUAL.

For the first few years of the series, life is pretty uneventful for the Ricardos and the Mertzes. (In between all of Lucy’s crazy schemes, of course.) The birth of Lucy and Ricky’s son in the second season only brings the group of friends closer together. In the fourth season of I Love Lucy, Ricky’s career as a singer, drummer, and actor begin to take off. To Lucy’s delight, Ricky attracts the attention of Hollywood executives, and the Ricardos and Mertzes head off for several months in California. (Many celebrities were scarred in the presence of Lucy Ricardo.)

After their time on the West Coast, a European tour sweeps the group off on more marital adventures in season 5. Fresh off their return in season 6, Lucy decides to move her family out of their brownstone and off to a house in the Connecticut countryside, where the quiet initially disturbs them. The Ricardos are incomplete without the Mertzes, however, and eventually the older couple become Lucy and Ricky’s tenants in their guest house. As the series closes, it looks like life in the country – though something of an adjustment – will suit them all hilariously well.

THE CHARACTERS

synopsisheader One of television’s most successful foursomes, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Fred and Ethel Mertz became an archetype for friendship and fighting, wedded bliss and murderous married moments.

LUCY3 LUCY RICARDO
Though on the surface she seems like your average 50s housewife, Lucy Ricardo has more than one surprise up her sleeve. A vortex of red-haired hilarity, Lucy dreams of stardom, hatching plot after plot to hop on her husband Ricky’s entertainment success. Lucy is also never far away from her best friend and partner-in-crime Ethel, with whom she cooks up schemes, stalks celebrities, and plays a mean game of canasta.
RICKY RICKY RICARDO
Lucy’s husband, a successful band leader and drummer from Cuba. His insistence that Lucy remain a housewife is the source of much conflict and humor, as are his accent and frequent outbursts in Spanish that punctuate Lucy’s crazy schemes.
ETHEL ETHEL MERTZ
Lucy’s best friend and landlady. A talented singer and dancer, Ethel used to perform on the Vaudeville circuit with her husband Fred. Now she manages the apartment building and – in between spats with Fred – is always there when Lucy gets that crazy look in her eye.
FRED FRED MERTZ
A stingy crumudgeon, Fred spends most of his time figuring out ways to save money and bickering with Ethel. But beneath that gruff facade, Mr. Mertz is really an old softie. He is fast friends with Ricky, loves a good song-and-dance number, and will do anything for his godson, Little Ricky.

BEST CHARACTER

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Though the entire cast of I Love Lucy is uniformly hilarious, there can be no doubt that Lucy herself (Lucille Esmerlda MacGillicuddy Ricardo, as she is occasionally known) must take the title of best character. Lucy is a dreamer, a schemer, and firebrand, never taking no for an answer. Though her skills at singing are questionable and her husband Ricky wants nothing more than to keep Lucy miles away from show business, the indomitable redhead is incapable of giving up on her dream to become a star. (Unlucky for Ricky, perhaps, but very lucky for the audience indeed!)

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“Spider” was the term used in the script to indicate Lucy’s classic “Eeeewww!” face.

And though her musical talents never improve (remember that unfortunate incident with the trombone?) Lucy eventually does manage to pull off a few wins in the performing arts category. Performing with Bob Hope at the Tropicana, dancing with Van Johnson in Hollywood, and catching the eye of an Italian director may not be super-stardom, but it’s definitely tons of fun.

And though Lucy and her exasperated husband Ricky do bicker frequently, the strength of their marriage can never be doubted. Though Lucy’s crazy schemes sometimes have unexpected consequences (we’re just going to say “Vitameatavegamin” and leave it there) she always managed to keep things exciting. From New York to Hollywood, from Europe to Connecticut, the housewife and the band leader always managed to persevere. For crying out loud, they wear matching pajamas!

Lucy is also fiercely loyal to her best friend and landlady, Ethel Mertz. Though Ethel sometimes plays the long-suffering sidekick, there is nothing she and Lucy wouldn’t do for each other. Lucy often takes Ethel’s side in contests of will between the married Mertzes, and even their spats (which occasionally involved ripping each other’s dresses to shreds) were usually inspired by the closeness of their friendship. As Ethel (and Fred) followed Lucy (and Ricky) around the world and back, it became clear that while Lucy’s marriage to Ricky was the heart of I Love Lucy, it was her unwavering friendship with Ethel that was the soul of the timeless comedy.

BEST EPISODE

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In “Sentimental Anniversary,” Lucy and Ricky decide to celebrate their anniversary with a quiet dinner at home – in secret. But a wrench gets tossed into their plans when it turns out the Mertzes have a surprise party planned for their best friends. What’s a sitcom couple to do?

The answer, it turns out, is loudly leave their apartment and then sneak back in for their dinner… a plan that is interrupted when Fred and Ethel arrive to set up their surprise. Lucy and Ricky find themselves trapped in their hall closet as the Mertzes set up the party, and their guests begin to arrive.

After several unsuccessful – but hilarious – escape attempts, Lucy and Ricky drink champagne by candlelight in the closet. After Ricky distracts the guests, the Ricardos stage their return, and get to celebrate their sentimental anniversary with their friends.

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LUCY: WE’VE ONLY BEEN MARRIED 13 YEARS!
RICKY: OH WELL, I MEAN, IT SEEMS LIKE 15!

“Sentimental Anniversary” is an episode that showcases the best that I Love Lucy had to offer. The storyline provided a twist on the formula of Ricky forgetting his and Lucy’s wedding anniversary; instead of arm-twisting and hint-dropping, the strength and love of Lucy and Ricky’s marriage is a central point of the episode. Both spouses go the extra mile to make each other happy on their anniversary. From the anniversary espionage, to the candle-lit dinner in their hall closet, “Sentimental Anniversary” presents Lucy and Ricky as a true team, capable of loving each other in spite and because of the hijinks they get up to together.

The episode also highlights Lucy and Ethel’s friendship, as well as the bond between the Ricardos and the Mertzes. Though Lucy starts off the episode by hilariously haranguing Ethel for information on her gift, the Mertzes still pull out all the stops to throw the Ricardos a surprise party – even if they fudge the numbers a bit on that cigarette lighter!

“Sentimental Anniversary” is also a genuinely hilarious episode. The dialogue is as snappy as ever, and Lucy and Ricky’s accidental imprisonment in the hall closet adds the slapstick element that I Love Lucy always did so well. The scene of their near-escape is not usually added to the list of Lucy’s funniest moments, but we really think it should be.

FUNNIEST MOMENT

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Another excruciating choice for such a brilliant comedy, but we’ve decided to go with one of the classics. Lucy’s hilarious turn as “The Vitameatavegamin Girl” made instant television history, thanks to a brilliant set-up and phenomenal execution by Lucille Ball, and we had to choose this scene as our funniest moment.

The Vitameatavegamin scene, from the episode “Lucy Does A TV Commercial,” is part of one of Lucy’s many schemes to make it into show business. This time, however, Lucy gets more than she bargained for. In a clever twist, the directors of her commercial reveal that Vitameatavegamin has a 23% alcohol content… a fact that they neglect to tell Lucy.

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The Vitameatavegamin was actually apple pectin – and alcohol-free!

Planting the seeds of disaster only makes Ball’s performance even more impressive. The audience is already primed to expect the drunken behavior that Lucy tumbles into as she slurps down more and more of the gloopy potion. The potential for humor grows exponentially as the complicated script for the product is revealed, it becomes clear just how much Vitameatavega-booze Lucy will have to swallow. (But hey – at least it tastes like candy!) Thanks to Ball’s incredible comic timing, Lucy more than delivers the laughs we are led to expect.

Next: Emotional moments and changing times–>

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Barnes & Noble has announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already a gigantic hit. In fact, it’s the most pre-ordered book since Deathly Hallows.

It’s been 9 years since J.K. Rowling publsihed Deathly Hallows in the summer of 2007, but Harry Potter fans are evidently still eager for more stories from the Wizarding World. In a press release on Monday, the biggest book chain in the United States revealed that they haven’t seen pre-orders this huge since the last Harry Potter book.

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“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Barnes & Noble’s most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we expect it to be our biggest selling book of the year,” said Mary Amicucci, Chief Merchandising Officer at Barnes & Noble in a press release. “To guarantee that our customers get the new Harry Potter book as quickly as possible, Barnes & Noble is the only national retailer that’s guaranteeing delivery of the book on August 1, for both online and ship-to-home pre-orders placed by noon ET on Friday, July 29. Our booksellers are also preparing to host big crowds for our signature Midnight Magic parties on July 30.”

If you’ve passed by a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble in the past few months you’ve probably seen the heavy promotion they’ve been doing. Headers that state “HARRY POTTER IS BACK” will clearly entice people to pre-order.


HARRY POTTER IS BACK! (Spotted at a Barnes & Noble) #harrypotterforever #harrypotter

A photo posted by Hypable.com (@hypable) on

In a report from the Wall Street Journal earlier this month we learned that Scholastic was printing 4.5 million copies of “the eighth story” for the United States and Canada. This is a far cry from the 12 million printed for Deathly Hallows, but still a very large print run for a book in modern times. (Also worth noting: Many readers have switched to eBooks in the years since Deathly Hallows.)

It’s nice to see that Harry Potter fans haven’t lost their interest in the series. Perhaps the success will inspire J.K. Rowling to continue writing within Harry’s world?

The book has also been a huge success on Amazon. The Cursed Child has sat at the top of the online retailer’s bestseller list for months.

Hypable will have lots of coverage surrounding The Cursed Child once it’s released this weekend. Stay tuned! AHHHH!

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?

Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening and offered new looks at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and more.

“We only want to come to Hall H when we have a lot to show you,” teased Marvel’s Kevin Feige at the start of the panel. Indeed, they had a ton to offer — including news of a new Marvel theme park attraction!

Everything we’ve learned at Marvel’s SDCC panel

  1. Marvel kicked off their panel with a new logo and updated fanfare by composer Michael Giacchino.

  2. Black Panther had some casting news to share: Lupita N’yongo will be playing one of the guards at Wakanda named Nakia. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. We also received brand new casting news: Danai Gurira has joined the movie — She’ll play Okoye, head of Dora Milaje! Finally, a new logo for the film was revealed:

    black-panther-logo-sdcc-2016

  3. Thor: Ragnarok unveiled a behind-the-scenes look at the new film which included a look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. They also showed a documentary-style clip (think The Office) explaining where Hulk and Thor were during the events of Captain America: Civil War! In it, Thor had a tiny bed for Mjolnir and a crime board that tried to connect the Infinity Stones and discover their purpose. There is also mugshot of Loki. Like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok had a new logo to show off with a retro looking subtitle:

    thor-ragnorak-new-logo-sdcc-2016

  4. Doctor Strange’s portion of the panel kicked off with a smoke and laser show to introduce Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Tilda Swinton was also at the panel and spoke about the Ancient One. “The truth is, anyone can be The Ancient One,” she said. A clip from Doctor Strange was also showed in which Steven Strange meets Tilda’s character (It won’t be online).

  5. Thankfully, a brand new and wholly epic Doctor Strange trailer was released. Watch below:

    A new poster was also unveiled:

    doctor-strange-sdcc-poster

  6. Next up was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Director Jon Watts described the film as a high school movie about a 15-year-old Peter Parker who’s in the 10th grade. A new clip was unveiled and had a strong John Hughes vibe — Peter Parker is just your average high schooler trying to get through the day. There was also this great moment:

  7. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which kicks off a few months after the first movie. The entire cast was there to introduce a new scene in which a very adorable Baby Groot helps Yondu and Rocket break out of prison. Baby Groot even has a little outfit! Adorably, the Ravengers — who captured Yondu and Rocket — refuse to hurt Baby Groot because of how cute he is.

    This movie got a new logo as well.

    guardians-of-the-galaxy-sequel-new-logo

  8. Speaking of Marvel’s space dramedy, the studio also confirmed rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and debuts Summer 2017 at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. Sadly, it’s replacing the classic Tower of Terror ride. Check out a behind the scenes video of the attraction:

  9. Marvel ended their panel by confirming that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel, as was previously rumored. She took the stage to say hi to the adoring audience, and participated in a giant Marvel selfie:

All in all, Marvel had a ton to share. What do you think of all the developments?