We gave it an A
It remains the most memorable retooling in sitcom history: To bolster sagging ratings,
I Love Lucy‘s writers packed the Ricardos and the Mertzes off to Hollywood, where Ricky’s bumpy go at stardom allowed weekly scenery changes and visits by big- name guest stars playing themselves (among them William Holden, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, and columnist Hedda Hopper).
As CBS’ new boxed collections unspool these 27 California episodes in one seamless adventure, it’s easy to see why the move pumped the show’s Nielsens right back up again. Who could resist Lucy dousing a flaming putty nose in her coffee, or giving John Wayne a frantic rubdown, or playing Harpo Marx’s mirror reflection? Having the uncut shows on videocassette allows you to fast-forward through Desi’s incessant warbling. And seeing the whole story line at once makes the continuity woven into the Ricardos’ spats much more apparent; the resulting sense that this trip is driving their marriage into for-worse territory makes this classic comedy seem more poignant than ever. A