On 'Nurse Jackie', when Eddie (the pharmacist at All Saints Hospital in TV-NYC) found out that Coop's girl friend had given him flowers, Eddie told the doctor that he was leading the life of Riley. Coop didn't understand the reference.
I probably shouldn't even have bothered writing this up. Most people know that it's a slang term for "a soft easy life, a pleasant way of living".
Here's the etymology for the phrase:
~It is said that this expression originated in the 1880s from a song called, "Is that Mr. Reilly?". The song contained lyrics such as "a hundred a day would be my pay", and other comedic speculation about what "Mr. Reilly" would do if he were to become wealthy. The earliest recorded citation for "life of Reilly", however, is in 1919, where the "life of Reilly" is referred to in another song, "...but I'm living the life of Reilly just the same..."~ So it never has to have anything to do with the old TV show (first starring Jackie Gleason, and then William Bendix) nor the radio show that preceded it. And besides, that show is so old, most of today's audiences don't even remember it - or even heard of it in the first place!