A review on "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" from the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy.
|Scooped by Gina Vettraino|
"Lucy Does a TV Commercial" Review
The iconic comedy sitcom I Love Lucy first aired in the fall of 1951 and ran through 1957 on CBS. It was an immediate hit and is known as TV’s first great sitcom. The show starred Lucille Ball as the witty Lucy, Desi Arnaz as her onscreen (and off-screen) husband, and their neighbors Ethel and Fred played by Vivian Vance and William Frawley. Before the television sitcom became a sensation in homes across America, Ball was starring in a CBS radio sitcom titled My Favorite Husband. Ball agreed to do the television sitcom as long as her real-life husband, Arnaz, could play her on-screen husband. Good thing Ball insisted on this, because their chemistry and relationship helped tremendously with making the show. In one episode in particular “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” we get to experience the hilarity of the characters and their relationships. This episode showcases Lucy and Ricky’s comedic relationship and in my opinion boasts why America fell in love with this sitcom.
“Lucy Does a TV Commercial” was filmed in 1952 and directed by Marc Daniels. This episode primarily stars Ball and Arnaz, with some appearances by other supporting actors. In this episode, Ricky is responsible for casting a woman for an upcoming commercial and when Lucy gets word of this she is instantly convinced that the woman to star in the commercial should be her. After many attempts to convince Ricky, Lucy is turned down once and for all. After a little snooping and sneakiness, Lucy works her way onto set and soon finds herself rehearsing lines for the “Vitameatavegamin” commercial. What we learn in this case though is that too much practice doesn’t make perfect. This episode kind of exemplifies, in a hilarious way, how putting your noses into other people’s business could turn around to bite you in the butt! I found myself laughing throughout the whole episode watching the story unfold and Lucy getting herself into some trouble. The situation itself was quite funny, but Lucy and her actions, her facial expressions, her exaggeration, adds that extra touch to the comedy and had me truly laughing.
It isn’t just the characters themselves that help to make the sitcom what it is, but the smaller, behind the scenes details that also play an important role. An interesting fact about this show is that it was the first sitcom to introduce a three-camera format in front a live studio audience, which is used on many television sitcoms today. This allows for the lighting to remain consistent at all times and for an actual live audience to be present while filming. This setup is able to bring together the visual quality of film and energy of live performances. I think this is a great technique because this allows for a better viewing experience for the live audience and the audience at home. The three-camera format allows for more exploration of the set, more angles, and thus enhances the viewing experience. Another thing that works for me about this episode in particular, is the fact there is an actual live audience. When watching the show on television, the reactions and laughter from the live audience almost prompts the audience at home to join in the laughter as well. Hearing others around you enjoy themselves while watching the action unfold is something that I personally like and makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Another thing that I found interesting about the show is how different norms were at the time I Love Lucy was filmed. Being a young adult in the 21st century, it is fascinating and comedic to see how life changed so drastically between then and now. I am speaking specifically of the scene in the episode where Lucy is giving Ricky the cold shoulder and he begs her to make his breakfast and she refuses. He goes on begging and talking about how he will starve, which is cute and comedic to the audience to begin with, but an audience watching these days would also probably find it comedic because the role of a wife/woman has grown QUITE a bit from making breakfast for their work-bound husbands.
Overall, I Love Lucy is such an enjoyable sitcom to watch. This episode is especially filled with humor and had me laughing the whole time. The characters, the plots, the techniques used to film the show, all work together so well. This show is suitable to watch with both friends and family. Many audiences and critics agree this show is a winner. I Love Lucy is a good old fashioned American comedy and it is evident why America fell in love with it and why it is considered one of TV’s greatest sitcoms.