As we’ve been doing all year, each month’s last Friday Hall of Famer is a TV series from Earth Prime (our world) which has a counterpart in Earth Prime-Time (Toobworld.) And as we always celebrate the ladies during the month of May, there was only one obvious choice for this inaugural induction as our May TV Show….
I LOVE LUCY
“I Love Lucy” is an American multinational television sitcom that originally ran on CBS from October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes spanning six seasons (including the 'lost' original pilot and Christmas episode). The show starred Lucille Ball, her real-life husband Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. It followed the life of Lucy Ricardo (Ball), a young middle-class housewife in New York City, who either concocted plans with her best friends (Vance & Frawley) to appear alongside her bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Arnaz) in his nightclub, or tried numerous schemes to mingle with, or be a part of show business.
After the series ended in 1957, a modified version continued for three more seasons with 13 one-hour specials; it ran from 1957 to 1960. It was first known as “The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show’ and later in reruns as “The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour”.
“I Love Lucy” became the most-watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and it was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings (an accomplishment later matched only by “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1968 and “Seinfeld” in 1998). As of 2011, episodes of the show have been syndicated in dozens of languages across the world and remain popular with an American audience of 40 million each year. A colorized version of its Christmas episode attracted more than 8 million viewers when CBS aired it in prime time in 2013, 62 years after the show premiered; CBS has aired two to three colorized episodes each year since then, once at Christmas and again in the spring.
The show, which was the first scripted television program to be shot on 35mm film in front of a studio audience, by cinematographer Karl Freund, won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations and honors. It was the first show ever to feature an ensemble cast. It is often regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in history. In 2012, it was voted the 'Best TV Show of All Time' in a survey conducted by ABC News and People magazine.
Originally set in an apartment building in New York City, “I Love Lucy” centers on Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her singer/bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), along with their best friends and landlords Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). During the second season, Lucy and Ricky have a son named Ricky Ricardo Jr. ("Little Ricky"), whose birth was timed to coincide with Ball's real-life birth of her son Desi Arnaz Jr.
Within the “reality” of the TV Universe, ‘I Love Lucy’ is a TV show based on the life of a “real” person. To be honest, Lucy’s life would probably never have been considered by a TV producer for adaptation into a series had she not been married to Ricky Ricardo. (In fact, that’s probably how that TV producer in Toobworld learned about her – he must have already known the Cuban bandleader.)
To qualify for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, the candidate for membership must appear or be mentioned in three separate TV shows. By that criteria, ‘I Love Lucy’ surely must be the most over-qualified inductee ever! (Or at the very least, tied with ‘Star Trek’.)
I’m not going to list all of the TV series which confirm that ‘I Love Lucy’ was a TV show within the TV Universe. (Doing that for ‘Star Trek’ back in January was a killer and I doubt anybody reads those lists throughtly.)
But here’s a sampling:
Our Miss Brooks, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, December Bride, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Andy Griffith Show, Mr. Ed, Green Acres, The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Sanford and Son, MASH, Lou Grant, Mork & Mindy, Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere, The A-Team, Miami Vice, ER, Charles In Charge, Webster, Cheers, The Golden Girls, The Charmings, Murphy Brown, China Beach, Columbo, Wings, Designing Women, Seinfeld (even though he claimed that he never saw it), Roseanne, Married… With Children, The Nanny, Homicide: Life On The Street, Third Rock From The Sun, Babylon 5!, The Outer Limits, Hope Island, Brimstone, The Sopranos, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Queer As Folk, Gilmore Girls, Star Trek: Enterprise, Stargate: Infinity, Oz, The West Wing, NCIS, Veronica Mars, Parks and Recreation, Mad Men, Californication, The Newsroom, Shameless, Orange Is The New Black, The Good Wife, Mom, This Is Us, The Goldbergs, Days Of Our Lives
I also excluded series which take place in Skitlandia, the Tooniverse, and several alternate Toobworlds. (Although how could I resist ‘The West Wing’?)
So here’s to ‘I Love Lucy’! By being a member of the TVXOHOF, it is now a recognized TV series in both the real world and Toobworld. No longer will it be considered a Zonk if it’s mentioned in some way.
‘I Love Lucy’ has no longer got some splainin to do.
Hi, ‘I Love Lucy’! You’re Home!