I Love Lucy: Season 1 (1951 - 1952)


Season 1
I Love Lucy

Critics Consensus

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88%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 8

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 18

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 15, 1951

It's the Mertzes' 18th wedding anniversary, and Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ethel (Vivian Vance) want to celebrate with a night at the Copacabana club. Unfortunately, hubbies Ricky (Desi Arnaz) and Fred (William Frawley) have their hearts set on attending the fights. The inevitable argument ensues, with Lucy and Ethel huffily telling the boys that they intend to go to the Copa with male escorts, whereupon Ricky and Fred respond that they will still attend the fights, with dates of their own. As things turn out, Ricky and Fred end up dating Lucy and Ethel, who are "disguised" as a pair of hillbillies. Desi Arnaz sings "Guadalajara" in this, the first I Love Lucy episode to be telecast (but not the first one filmed).

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Air date: Oct 22, 1951

Convinced that Ricky (Desi Arnaz) has lost interest in her, Lucy (Lucille Ball) vows to win back his affections -- using a book called "How to Keep Your Honeymoon From Ending" as her guide. Not surprisingly, Lucy's various strategies -- dressing glamorously for breakfast, joining Ricky's weekly poker game, and so on -- fail spectacularly. As a last-ditch effort, Lucy redecorates the apartment as a replica of Desi's homeland of Cuba, following the book's advice that she should surround her hubby with "things that remind him of his childhood." However, hauling chickens a mule into the apartment may be a case of Lucy's gilding the lily once more!

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Air date: Oct 29, 1951

Upon hearing that Ricky (Desi Arnaz) needs a new singer for his nightclub act, Lucy (Lucille Ball) insists upon auditioning for the job. Unfortunately, she is unable to squeeze into the former singer's size 12 gown. Inaugurating a crash diet, Lucy vows to lose a dozen pounds in the four days before Ricky unveils his new act -- but such a monumental undertaking is easier said than done! This is the classic episode in which Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz perform "Cuban Pete" from their pre-I Love Lucy nightclub tour.

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Air date: Nov 5, 1951

Engrossed in the whodunit novel "The Mockingbird Murder Case," Lucy (Lucille Ball) convinces herself that Ricky (Desi Arnaz) plans to bump her off -- and this suspicion seems to be confirmed when Ethel (Vivian Vance) uses cards to predict Lucy's future (or lack of same). Unwitting Ricky fuels Lucy's fears when he discusses "getting rid of her" over the phone, though in fact he is merely asking his agent to remove a trained dog from his nightclub act! One misunderstanding leads to another, and by episode's end a desperate Lucy shows up in the middle of Ricky's performance at the Trocadero, prepared to accuse him of poisoning her. This was the first I Love Lucy episode to be filmed, though not the first to be telecast.

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Air date: Nov 12, 1951

Ever on the lookout for some quick and easy money, Lucy (Lucille Ball) becomes a contestant on the popular radio quiz show "Females Are Fabulous" (a spoof of Art Linkletter's People Are Funny). Host Freddie Fillmore (Frank Nelson in the first of many I Love Lucy appearances) offers to pay Lucy 1,000 dollars if she can convince Ricky (Desi Arnaz) that she was married before him, with the help of paid actor who will show up at the Ricardo doorstep claiming to be Lucy's "long-lost first husband." Predictably, Lucy mistakes a hobo (John Emery) for her phony hubby, and confusion reigns supreme.

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Air date: Nov 19, 1951

A TV talent scout intends to drop in at the Trocadero to catch Ricky's (Desi Arnaz) act, and naturally Lucy (Lucille Ball) assumes that this is her chance to finally break into show business. The golden opportunity arrives when Buffo the Clown (Pat Moran), who performs a specialty with Ricky, is sidelined by an accident. The result: Lucy, dressed in Buffo's outlandish costume, joins Ricky's act, culminating in the classic moment in which she imitates a trained seal! This episode is a remake of the original I Love Lucy pilot, filmed in 1950. (Incidentally, the "actors" playing the network reps include I Love Lucy producer Jess Oppenheimer and real-life CBS executive Harry Ackerman).

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Air date: Nov 26, 1951

Hoping to help Ricky (Desi Arnaz) land a job with theatrical producer Mr. Meriweather (Jay Novello), Lucy (Lucille Ball) "casually" lets slip that she shares Meriweather's fascination with numerology and horoscopes. Enlisting the aid of her pal Ethel (Vivian Vance), Lucy arranges an elaborate séance, wherein Meriweather contacts the spirit of his late, beloved Tillie. But will "Madame Ethel Mertzola" be able to carry out the charade without Meriweather catching on? If for nothing else, this episode will always be remembered for the deathless line "Ethel to Tillie...Come in Tillie...."

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Air date: Dec 3, 1951

Fed up with Ricky's (Desi Arnaz) sloppiness, neat-freak Lucy (Lucille Ball) divides their apartment in half. When this act fails to change Ricky's ways, Lucy decides to teach him a lesson when press agent Kenny Morgan (playing himself) arranges an at-home interview with the Ricardos for "Halfbeat," a magazine for professional musicians. With the help of the Mertzes, Lucy convinces the interviewer that the Ricardo apartment is nothing more than a huge pile of junk and dirty clothes -- and need we add that the scheme backfires spectacularly?

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Air date: Dec 10, 1951

Ricky (Desi Arnaz) brings home a 3,250-dollar mink coat that he has rented for his nightclub act. Jumping to conclusions as usual, Lucy (Lucille Ball) assumes that Ricky has purchased the coat for her anniversary present. In desperation, Ricky inveigles Fred (William Frawley) into posing as a thief so that the coat can be "stolen" and safely returned to its rightful owner. The plan goes awry when a real thief (played by veteran movie heavy Ben Welden) shows up unexpectedly -- and that's only the beginning of the story!

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Air date: Dec 17, 1951

Thanks to a blind item in a newspaper gossip column, Lucy (Lucille Ball) mistakenly believes that Ricky (Desi Arnaz) is having an affair with Rosemary (Helen Silver), the singer in his nightclub act. Intending to spy on her husband, Lucy worms her way into the chorus at the Tropicana. As a result, Ricky's musical act becomes a slapstick comedy routine, thanks to that "strange girl" in the chorus line -- but will Ricky figure out who that strange girl really is?

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I Love Lucy: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for I Love Lucy Season 1

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

Every once in a rare great while, a new TV show comes along that fulfills, in its own particular niche, every promise of the often harassed new medium. Such a show, it is a genuine pleasure to report, is I Love Lucy.

May 30, 2018 | Full Review…

If the story line wasn't exactly inspiring, nonetheless it had flexibility that permitted for a full blown explosion of Miss Bail's comedic talents.

Oct 1, 2019 | Full Review…

Watching ''I Love Lucy'' today, you realize how complex Lucy Ricardo really was. And this complexity is what makes the show so enduringly hilarious, so relevant.

Jun 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Lucy reminds viewers that it's possible for women to be hilarious when playing something other than a nag or killjoy.

May 29, 2018 | Full Review…

Miss Ball is a funny young woman, all right, but you couldn't prove it by her new television show.

Jul 31, 2019 | Full Review…

These episodes are all quite funny, and Gale Gordon shows up in two of them as Ricky's boss.

Jun 28, 2018 | Full Review…

I Love Lucy is more than just a really, really, funny show - it's an enduring piece of television history.

Jun 1, 2018 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Lucille Ball was one of the greatest comic actors of all time and so her physical comedy is timeless.

Jan 31, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I Love Lucy: Season 1

  • Jul 26, 2020
    Sometimes deeply funny but most of the time I think it is trying too hard.
  • Feb 12, 2020
    An absolute delight. Incredibly entertaining and funny, with outstanding performances by THE Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
  • Oct 28, 2019
    This season started the legend we call "I Love Lucy"! I love the show and everything about it! And my favorite episode is "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her". I Love this show so much!
  • Dec 21, 2017
    No television show will ever top I Love Lucy for many reasons!
  • Oct 23, 2017
    How can I start describing 'I Love Lucy'? Well, I do. 'I Love Lucy' is about the most entertaining motion picture you can watch, and it is entertainment about entertainment, a TV show meant for the happy consumerism of its time. Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley are always pleasant names to the ear, sounding like popular culture and good souvenirs. Each episode of ‘I Love Lucy’ is 25 minutes of pure pleasure and fun in a good old fashioned America, it blends slapstick delight to its tale of neighborhood, friendship and family marvelously well, and it is a mixture of circumstances, which altogether (the whole six seasons) are an extraordinary variety of situations. This opening season is an extremely enjoyable start to the show (and to television) which features some of the best-known episodes, including the legendary 'Lucy Does a TV Commercial' and 'The Audition', but also some of my personal favorites such as 'New Neighbors', 'The Gossip', 'Pioneer Woman', 'The Kleptomaniac', 'The Freezer', 'Ricky Asks for a Raise' and many more. 'I Love Lucy' is comedy and TV at their very best.

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