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100 best episodes of "I Love Lucy"

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    100 best episodes of "I Love Lucy"

    “Luuucccyy! You’ve got some ‘splaining to do!” There’s simply no ‘splaining necessary when it comes to audiences’ love of  “I Love Lucy.” Named for its star, Lucille Ball, the TV series premiered in October 1951 and set the stage for generations of multi-camera sitcoms ever since.

    Winning five Emmy Awards (the first for co-star Vivian Vance, as Ethel) and earning multiple other nominations, the legendary series was the most-watched show in America during four of its six seasons. Its popularity has continued in rerun syndication—which made its stars the first in TV to become millionaires since they owned the content outright—and secured “I Love Lucy” as one of the best and most influential TV shows of all time.

    Using data from IMDb, Stacker has ranked the 100 best “I Love Lucy” episodes by IMDb rating, with ties broken by the number of IMDb votes. Read on to reminisce about the schemes, outfits, performances, and jokes that have kept Lucy in our hearts for more than six decades.

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    #100. The Anniversary Present

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 157
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 3
    Air date: September 29, 1952

    In a classic early episode, Ricky hopes to get a good deal on a string of pearls for Lucy’s anniversary present, so he secretly meets with a neighbor who can give him a jewelry store discount. Lucy notices his secretive behavior and assumes the two are having an affair. Ethel and Lucy dress up as painters and venture onto the scaffold to peek into the neighbor’s apartment, and Lucy gets a bucket of paint dumped on her head.
     

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    #99. Lucy Gets Into Pictures

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 159
    Episode: null
    Air date: February 21, 1955

    Lucy makes her movie debut as the star of a showgirl scene in this fan-favorite episode. But after repeatedly messing up and complaining about the heavy headdress she has to wear, the director changes the scene so that Lucy’s character is already dead and covered with a sheet on a gurney. Never to miss a moment in the spotlight, she writes her name on the bottom of her shoes so viewers will know it’s her.
     

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    #98. Lucy's Last Birthday

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 159
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 25
    Air date: May 11, 1953

    Convinced everyone has forgotten her birthday, Lucy wanders into Central Park to mope and ends up meeting a group of musicians called “Friends of the Friendless.” She walks with her new pals to perform a sad song at the Tropicana, where a surprise party happens to be waiting for her. She is showered in gifts, and Ricky sings the “I Love Lucy” theme song, which is the only time the lyrics are heard.
     

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    #97. The Fashion Show

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 179
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 19
    Air date: February 28, 1955

    Lucy blows her budget on a designer dress in order to participate in an upcoming charity fashion show. Scared to tell Ricky how much she spent, she sits outside too long and gets terribly sunburnt before the show. The designer then asks her to wear a tweed suit in the show, on the condition that she’ll get her expensive dress for free.

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    #96. Ricky Thinks He's Going Bald

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 188
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 34
    Air date: June 2, 1952

    Ricky is convinced he’s going bald, so Lucy tries a number of unorthodox treatments to convince him that the products aren’t worth the worry over his hair. They go through a series of “torture treatments,” including a bizarre anti-balding machine. The devices were inspired by actual products used by the show’s producer due to his own struggles with a receding hairline.

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    #95. Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    IMDb votes: 269
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 4
    Air date: November 5, 1951

    Engrossed in a murder mystery novel, Lucy decides that Ricky is planning to kill her after she overhears him talking on the phone about “getting rid of someone.” Her odd behavior worries Ricky and he tries to slip her sleeping powder, which she, of course, mistakes for poison.

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    #94. Ricky's European Booking

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 114
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 10
    Air date: December 12, 1955

    Ricky is offered a fantastic gig in Europe, but he can’t afford to take Lucy along. So Lucy and Ethel concoct a plan to raise the money by raffling off a TV set for what they believe is a fake charity. The charity ends up being real and the friends have to hand over their money, but the band ends up sailing to Europe for free—meaning Lucy and Ethel can travel too.

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    #93. Little Ricky's School Pageant

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 116
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 10
    Air date: December 17, 1956

    Little Ricky is given the lead in his school play, “The Enchanted Forest.” The Ricardos and Mertzes get roles and help him out when he forgets his lines. Lucy plays a witch, Ricky plays a hollow tree, Fred is a frog, and Ethel, a fairy princess. Ricky hopes he will be asked to direct the play, but the job goes to a man who runs an orange juice stand and can provide free refreshments at intermission.

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    #92. The Ricardos Are Interviewed

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 117
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 7
    Air date: November 14, 1955

    Ricky’s agent advises the Ricardos to move into a fancy apartment, to get out of the “dump” the Mertzes own. They stand up for Fred and Ethel, but Lucy goes to look at a fancy New York apartment just for fun. A misunderstanding between the Ricardos and the Mertzes ensues, and it turns into a full-fledged feud when they all appear on the TV show “Face to Face.” But once everything is explained, they become the best of friends again.

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    #91. Getting Ready

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 118
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 11
    Air date: December 13, 1954

    Ricky will be acting in a movie in California, so the gang decides to take a road trip to Hollywood. Everyone thinks Fred secures the perfect vehicle, until they see it’s an old Cadillac convertible from the 1920s that can barely make it out of New York. Despite their best efforts, no one can dispose of the car and Fred is out of his money.

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    #90. Second Honeymoon

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 122
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 14
    Air date: January 23, 1956

    The Mertzes and Ricardos are headed to Europe, and Lucy is looking forward to a second honeymoon of sorts with Ricky. In a plot mirroring the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Lucy quickly becomes jealous when Ethel and Fred start having a more romantic time. Lucy’s scheming to spend time with Ricky results in her getting stuck in a porthole, just like Marilyn Monroe’s character in the film.

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    #89. Lucy Gets Chummy with the Neighbors

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 129
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 18
    Air date: February 18, 1957

    The Ricardos move to Connecticut, and Lucy wants new furniture for their new house. Ricky tells her she can only spend $500, but in an unsurprising twist, she spends more than $3,000. Lucy is too embarrassed to admit to the neighbor who had got her a discount at the store that she can’t afford the furniture, so the neighbor ends up thinking the Ricardos are insulting her taste. When Ricky goes to sort it out, it turns into a fistfight between the husbands—but ultimately, Lucy ends up being able to keep her furniture after Ricky agrees to do a show for the neighbors to cover the cost.

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    #88. Lucy Hates to Leave

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 131
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 16
    Air date: February 4, 1957

    Lucy and Ricky grow apprehensive about their impending move to Connecticut, and Lucy becomes even more sentimental when the new tenants of their city apartment discuss what plans they have for her old furniture. Despite including it with the sale of the home, Lucy buys it back from them piece by piece. This becomes an issue with the the Mertzes, since they’re housing the Ricardos until they can move and their tiny apartment is running out of room.

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    #87. The Sublease

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 131
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 31
    Air date: May 24, 1954

    When the Ricardos spend two months in Maine for one of Ricky’s gigs, they find a temporary tenant to sublet their apartment. When the gig is canceled, the tenant refuses to leave, which forces the Ricardos to live with the Mertzes. Ethel and Lucy attempt to scare the man into leaving the Ricardos’ apartment, but the issue resolves itself when Ricky announces that his band has been booked in California for the summer.
     

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    #86. Changing the Boys' Wardrobe

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 132
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 10
    Air date: December 7, 1953

    Lucy and Ethel decide they’re embarrassed by their husbands’ clothes and give the old clothing to a secondhand shop without their knowledge. When Ricky gets a call from the store’s owner asking if he really intended to sell the clothing, he becomes aware of the scheme and foils their plot. Later, Ricky tells Lucy and Ethel to dress nicely and meet them at the Tropicana. Without knowing the event is honoring Ricky as one of the 10 best-dressed men in America, the women wear their husbands’ ratty clothes as revenge. The men, and women, are mortified when photographers start snapping pictures.

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    #85. Lucy in the Swiss Alps

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 135
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 21
    Air date: March 26, 1956

    The Ricardos and the Mertzes become stranded in a small cabin in the Swiss Alps while on vacation. Thinking the end is near, the four start confessing secrets to each other to pass the time. Thankfully, a band of Swiss musicians stumbles across their cabin, and Ricky hires them in case his band doesn’t make it to the correct city in time. 

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    #84. Ricky Needs an Agent

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 135
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 29
    Air date: May 16, 1955

    Ricky’s Hollywood career is at a standstill, and Lucy is tired of waiting for him to get another role. She takes matters into her own hands and masquerades as his agent to confront the powers that be at MGM. Lucy accidentally gets Ricky released from his contract, and he has a huge tantrum when she breaks the news. Fans of “Mi Familia, My Family” may recall that this was the episode playing during a particularly impactful scene in the film.

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    #83. Hollywood Anniversary

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 136
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 24
    Air date: April 4, 1955

    Ricky realizes he’s forgotten his approaching anniversary with Lucy when she mentions how excited she is to celebrate it in Hollywood. He scrambles to plan a last-minute party with a high-profile guest list. When Lucy finds out he forgot, and the party is falling apart, she gives Ricky the silent treatment and refuses to go to the Mocambo nightclub. Lucy’s mother convinces her to go and have fun by herself—when she gets to the club, Ricky profusely apologizes and serenades her with “The Anniversary Waltz.”

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    #82. Redecorating the Mertzes' Apartment

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 136
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 8
    Air date: November 23, 1953

    In yet another furniture-themed episode, Lucy volunteers to throw the Mertzes a redecorating party to revamp their apartment. Everything goes well until Fred turns on a fan while Lucy is unstuffing a chair, resulting in a mess of paint and feathers. Lucy feels responsible for ruining Ethel and Fred’s furniture, so she gives them her living room set; the Ricardos buy new furniture with the money Lucy was planning on using to buy a new mink stole.

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    #81. Sentimental Anniversary

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 136
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 16
    Air date: February 1, 1954

    The Ricardos want to have a quiet wedding anniversary at home, but end up hiding in a closet when they discover Fred and Ethel are planning a surprise party in their honor. Lucy and Ricky are able to slip out and fake a surprised entrance to their surprise party at the Mertzes. This episode was filmed after Desi Arnaz surprised Ball with a thirteenth wedding anniversary party at Mocambo in West Hollywood in real life.
     

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    #80. Ricky's Screen Test

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 137
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 6
    Air date: November 15, 1954

    When Ricky asks Lucy to read lines for a minor female role in his upcoming screen test, Lucy seizes it as an opportunity to finally be discovered. Lucy is so determined to get on-screen that she disrupts filming and thoroughly annoys the director. To avoid further issues, Ricky ties Lucy to the bench she is supposed to be sitting on, and the director uses a close-up lens to only capture Ricky’s face.

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    #79. The Club Election

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 138
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 19
    Air date: February 16, 1953

    Lucy is gunning to be the next president of the Fine Arts League, and is shocked when Ethel is nominated instead. Ethel and Lucy find themselves in fierce competition with each other, and end up being tied for the presidency. The last vote comes down to new member Ruth Knickerbocker. Ethel and Lucy initially attempt to sway Ruth’s vote, but decide to become co-presidents of the club.

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    #78. Bonus Bucks

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 140
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 21
    Air date: March 8, 1954

    A newspaper Bonus Buck contest goes awry when Ricky hides a Bonus Buck worth three hundred dollars in Lucy’s purse. Lucy accidentally gives it away, and the Ricardos go on a wild chase to recover it. Their adventures earn them a speeding ticket and take them through a laundromat. Although they find the winning buck, they cause so much damage that after paying for repairs they’re only left with one dollar.
     

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    #77. Lucy Writes a Novel

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 141
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 24
    Air date: April 5, 1954

    Lucy writes a novel called “Real Gone with the Wind” that is a thinly disguised story of her life. Ricky, Ethel, and Fred read her manuscript in secret and don’t want it to be printed. A publishing company mistakenly buys Lucy’s manuscript, but when the error is revealed to her she tears up all the copies. Soon after, a friend calls to tell her someone else may be interested in her book, and Lucy stays up all night reassembling the pages and retyping the novel. Sadly, she finds out the individual was only interested in using her work as an example of bad writing.

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    #76. Ricky Loses His Temper

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 141
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 19
    Air date: February 22, 1954

    Ricky is tired of Lucy constantly buying new hats, and Lucy is fed up with Ricky’s temper. The couple makes a bet with each other over who can avoid their bad habits longer. The next day, when Lucy goes to return her new hat she can’t resist buying another one that’s on sale. She resolves to make Ricky lose his temper before the hat is delivered so she can still win the bet. Ricky ends up calling off the bet, but not before Lucy can sabotage herself.
     

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    #75. The Dancing Star

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 143
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 27
    Air date: May 2, 1955

    Lucy hatches a plan to dance with Van Johnson after bragging to a friend that she’s chummy with many celebrities in Hollywood. She does so well during the first dance, that Van later asks her stand in for his sick dance partner. Although Lucy gets stage fright, she overcomes it and does a wonderful job.

     

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    #74. Mertz and Kurtz

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 144
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 2
    Air date: October 11, 1954

    Fred wants to impress his old friend Barney, who claims to be an affluent world traveler. Lucy agrees to masquerade as the Mertzes’ maid while Barney is in town, and the illusion of wealth works. But Barney admits to being a fraud himself; he’s actually a cook in the Bronx. Feeling sorry for the guy, Ricky lets him perform at the Tropicana.

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    #73. Lucy Raises Chickens

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 145
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 19
    Air date: March 4, 1957

    The Ricardos attempt to earn more money by raising chickens while they’re living in Connecticut. They recruit the Mertzes to help, and Lucy and Ethel buy five hundred chicks before Fred can finish the coop. The baby chicks end up roaming all over the house, just as the editors from House and Garden magazine arrive to interview the Ricardos.

     

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    #72. Lucy Wants New Furniture

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 146
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 28
    Air date: June 1, 1953

    In yet another home furnishings-related episode, Lucy buys new furniture without Ricky’s permission and tries to hide it in the kitchen. Ricky discovers it and insists Lucy use her allowance to pay for the extravagant purchase.

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    #71. The Ricardos Change Apartments

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 151
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 26
    Air date: May 18, 1953

    Now that they have a baby, Lucy wants more space. She makes plans to exchange apartments with their neighbors who no longer need their extra room, but Ricky is apprehensive about paying the extra twenty dollars a month for the bigger space. True to form, Lucy pulls out many tricks to convince him before agreeing to pay the difference with her monthly household allowance. The end of the episode finds the Ricardos moving into their new, larger apartment.
     

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    #70. Lucy Does the Tango

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 152
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 20
    Air date: March 11, 1957

    Ricky and Fred get in an argument over the raising of the chickens, because no eggs have been laid yet. To resolve the disagreement, Ethel and Lucy decide to sneak in a bunch of eggs into the hen house. Just as the ladies finish stuffing their clothes with eggs, Ricky comes home and asks to practice a tango routine with Lucy. In a fan-favorite moment, Lucy’s shirt becomes full of smashed eggs while tangoing.

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    #69. The Tour

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 154
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 30
    Air date: May 30, 1955

    Lucy and Ethel embark on a sightseeing bus tour of Los Angeles, but abandon the group to steal a souvenir grapefruit from Mark Widmark’s backyard. Lucy gets trapped in Widmark’s backyard and attempts to escape just as he and Ricky return from lunch. Thankfully, when she is discovered trespassing, Widmark is a gentleman and even autographs her grapefruit.

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    #68. Lucy Becomes a Sculptress

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 154
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 15
    Air date: January 12, 1953

    After deciding to pursue sculpture, Lucy invites an art critic to come judge her work in spite of her lack of talent. When Lucy covers her entire head in clay and hides her body under a table to make it look like a replica sculpture, the critic insists he must have the piece—a hilarious scene takes place when he tries to pick up the “sculpture” and finds a body attached.

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    #67. The Charm School

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 157
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 15
    Air date: January 25, 1954

    Lucy and Ethel enroll in charm school after seeing how their husbands react to a friend’s sophisticated date. Fred and Ricky are not pleased with the girls’ new clothes or manners, and naturally, everyone returns to normal by the episode’s conclusion.

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    #66. The Black Eye

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 159
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 20
    Air date: March 9, 1953

    In a classic comedy of errors, a household mishap leaves Lucy with a black eye, and the Mertzes are convinced Ricky intentionally hit her. Fred means to send Lucy flowers under Ricky’s name, in a futile attempt to patch up their marriage, but accidentally signs his own name. Ethel gets the wrong idea and smacks Fred. By the end of the episode the four friends have resolved the misunderstanding but all sport black eyes.

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    #65. Lucy and Bob Hope

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 161
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 1
    Air date: October 1, 1956

    Ricky wants Bob Hope to make a guest appearance at the grand opening of his new club, but Lucy fears he won’t show due to her reputation as a jinx. The episode follows Lucy as she tries to convince Bob Hope she won’t cause any problems. It’s the first episode in season six, which brought a number of changes to the show’s dynamics, such as a much older version of Little Ricky. Ball and Hope were good friends who had worked together both before and after the series.
     

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    #64. Vacation from Marriage

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 174
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 6
    Air date: October 27, 1952

    Ethel and Lucy try to revamp their marriages by taking a “vacation” and moving in with each other, forcing Ricky and Fred to do the same. Everyone gets tired of the new living situation very quickly, and the wives get locked up on the roof at night when they try to spy on their husbands.
     

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    #63. Breaking the Lease

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 192
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 18
    Air date: February 11, 1952

    The Mertzes get mad at the Ricardos for making too much noise when they’re trying to sleep. It escalates into a big quarrel, and the Ricardos try to break their apartment lease. Although they succeed in doing so, they ultimately decide to stay and apologize.
     

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    #62. The Gossip

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 196
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 24
    Air date: March 24, 1952

    Ricky gets tired of Lucy’s constant gossiping, but Lucy says the men gossip just as much as her and Ethel. The husbands bet the wives breakfast in bed for a month that they can go longer without gossiping.

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    #61. New Neighbors

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 199
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 21
    Air date: March 3, 1952

    Lucy goes snooping on the new neighbors to catch a glimpse of their furniture, and overhears them reciting lines for an upcoming TV show. She immediately jumps to the conclusion that the new neighbors are foreign spies plotting a murder.

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    #60. Men Are Messy

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    IMDb votes: 213
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 8
    Air date: December 3, 1951

    Lucy gets fed up with Ricky’s sloppiness. She divides the apartment in half to prove her point, and to minimize her cleaning. Lucy’s plan goes awry when a photographer comes to take photos for a home magazine. The comical apartment dividing scene is referenced in the film “Thick as Thieves,” in an episode of the “Jamie Foxx Show,” and on “The Simpsons.”

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    #59. Lucy Wants to Move to the Country

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 129
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 15
    Air date: January 28, 1957
     

    After a relaxing weekend in Connecticut, Lucy decides she wants to move to the country. Ricky puts down a deposit on a house in Westport, Connecticut, but Lucy changes her mind soon after. Lucy, Ethel, and Fred scheme to get Ricky’s deposit back.

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    #58. Little Ricky Gets a Dog

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 129
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 14
    Air date: January 21, 1957

    In another favorite season six episode, Little Ricky brings home a noisy puppy, causing a tenant to complain to Fred and demand the dog is taken away. The Ricardos can’t bring themselves to part with the dog, and Lucy tries to hide him under a sombrero. Fred finally stands up for his friends and allows the puppy to stay. 

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    #57. Desert Island

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 129
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 8
    Air date: November 26, 1956

    Lucy hatches a plan to make Fred and Ricky late to a swimsuit contest they are selected to judge, but her scheme is ruined and their boat ends up stranded in the ocean. The gang takes refuge on a deserted island where they run into beautiful actresses on a film set. Actress Claude Atkins agrees to scare Lucy and Ethel as payback for their prank.

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    #56. Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 130
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 25
    Air date: May 7, 1956
     

    Lucy wins big money when she and Ethel venture to a casino in Monte Carlo. Ricky finds the hidden cash and thinks Fred has been skimming Ricky’s concert earnings. A fight ensues.

     

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    #55. Ricky's Movie Offer

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 130
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 6
    Air date: November 8, 1954

    A talent scout comes to the Ricardos’ apartment to audition Ricky for a movie. Lucy unintentionally attacks the scout while vying for his attention.

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    #54. Lucy and the Loving Cup

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 132
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 12
    Air date: January 7, 1957

    Ricky is presenting a loving cup trophy to a jockey, and he makes fun of the new hat Lucy bought for the ceremony. In a smart-alec move, Lucy puts the cup on top of her head, but it gets stuck, and she has to present the trophy to the athlete. This episode is referenced in Season 1, Episode 5 of “The Vampire Diaries” when Stefan mentions it’s his favorite episode of “I Love Lucy.”

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    #53. Don Juan Is Shelved

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 140
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 21
    Air date: March 21, 1955

    When Lucy hears that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) shelved Ricky’s movie “Don Juan,” she comes up with a plan to hire a pretend producer interested in hiring Ricky, hoping it will scare MGM studio head Dore Schary. While sitting by the pool, Lucy unknowingly hires Schary to play the fake producer and he goes along with it. He never lets on that he’s aware of the plot, but later tells Ricky that MGM wants to find another movie for him.

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    #52. Lucy Meets Charles Boyer

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 142
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 19
    Air date: March 5, 1956

    Ricky plays a trick on Lucy when she spots actor Charles Boyer. Ricky tells Charles of his wife’s reputation around famous people, so Charles pretends to be someone else. He keeps up this charade until she finds out at a meeting at the Ricardos’ hotel and lives up to her celebrity-crazed reputation.

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    #51. No Children Allowed

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 142
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 22
    Air date: April 20, 1953

    A tenant in Fred and Ethel’s building threatens to move out when Little Ricky spends all night crying. Ethel stands up for her friends, and the Ricardos stay.

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    #50. Bon Voyage

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 144
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 13
    Air date: January 16, 1956

    The Ricardos are departing for Europe and Lucy literally misses the boat. She also misses her second option, the pilot boat, and is forced to take the helicopter, which can only hover above the deck.
     

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    #49. Lucy Cries Wolf

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 144
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 3
    Air date: October 18, 1954

    Lucy fakes a number of dangerous situations in an attempt to test Ricky’s devotion to her. When she actually is confronted by criminals, no one rushes to her aid because she’s cried wolf one too many times.

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    #48. Lucy Is a Matchmaker

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 148
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 27
    Air date: May 25, 1953

    Lucy and Ethel play matchmaker for one of Fred’s friends who is visiting town. Their efforts, unfortunately, backfire due to his profession as a lingerie salesman.

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    #47. Lucy Raises Tulips

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 149
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 26
    Air date: April 29, 1957

    Lucy endeavors to win a garden contest in Connecticut, but she has to beat the three-time champion to do it. She accidentally mows down her competition’s tulips and replaces them with wax tulips. On the day of the contest, she discovers her tulips are wax, too, a result of Ricky mowing the lawn in the dark.

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    #46. Lucy Meets Orson Welles

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 149
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 3
    Air date: October 15, 1956

    Orson Welles asks Lucy to assist him in a project in this iconic episode. She eagerly agrees, thinking they’ll be performing Shakespeare. Lucy ends up assisting Welles in his magic show, levitating while reciting lines from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Actress Ellen Corby plays her drama teacher. Welles was reportedly not the best houseguest in real life, overstaying his welcome during his stay with Arnaz and Ball.
     

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    #45. Home Movies

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 149
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 20
    Air date: March 1, 1954

    The pilot for a music TV show starring Ricky is given the green light. In retaliation, Lucy, Ethel, and Fred make their own “Western-musical-drama” in the Ricardo living room. Their performance gets mixed up with Ricky’s, but it works in his favor.  

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    #44. Never Do Business with Friends

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 149
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 31
    Air date: June 29, 1953

    The Ricardos sell the Mertzes their washing machine, but it breaks down before the Mertzes pay for it. Now no one wants to claim ownership. It’s one of the only times in the series the Mertzes’ kitchen is ever seen, and the first time both couples reveal their back porches.
     

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    #43. Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 152
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 3
    Air date: October 19, 1953

    Lucy and Ethel unknowingly purchase the same dress for their women’s club event. When the friends find out, they each agree to take the dress back. Neither woman returns the dress, and the pair ends up fighting during their performance of “Friendship.” Ball and Vance remained good friends long after the series ended, lending even more genuine comedy to the scene.

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    #42. The Diner

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 154
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 27
    Air date: April 26, 1954

    The Ricardos and the Mertzes go into business together and buy a diner. Soon after opening, Fred and Ethel begin to feel as if they’re doing most of the work while Lucy and Ricky are glorified hostesses. They gladly sell the restaurant back to the original owner when he expresses nostalgia over the place.

     

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    #41. Lucy Changes Her Mind

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 162
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 21
    Air date: March 30, 1953

    When Ricky grows tired of Lucy constantly changing her mind, he challenges her to finish everything she starts. Ever competitive, she takes this challenge to the extreme and decides to finish an old letter to an ex-boyfriend, hoping to incite jealousy in her husband.

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    #40. Equal Rights

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 167
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 4
    Air date: October 26, 1953

    At dinner one night, Lucy and Ethel demand to be treated like men. They’re left washing dishes when their husbands take the request literally and make them pay their own checks. When they realize they don’t have a ride home, they pretend to get robbed so Ricky and Fred will pick them up.

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    #39. Redecorating

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 170
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 8
    Air date: November 24, 1952

    Lucy and Ethel enter a contest to win five rooms worth of furniture. She gets a call saying she won, so she sells her old furniture to a dealer—but it turns out she was pranked. 

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    #38. Lucy Tells the Truth

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 176
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 6
    Air date: November 9, 1953

    Ricky and the Mertzes bet one hundred dollars that Lucy can’t go one day without telling a lie, but they aren’t ready for her candid honesty. Ricky takes her to a TV show audition and Lucy manages to stretch the truth enough to land the job and win the bet.

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    #37. Ricky Asks for a Raise

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 176
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 35
    Air date: June 9, 1952

    Ricky loses his job after asking for a raise, and Lucy schemes to show his boss how popular he truly is. She makes a series of fake reservations at the Tropicana so no one shows up for a big performance.

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    #36. Lucy's Schedule

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 195
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 33
    Air date: May 26, 1952

    The new Tropicana boss is considering promoting Ricky to club manager in this popular episode. The only problem is that Lucy’s habitual tardiness messes up a dinner with the boss. Ricky puts Lucy on a strict schedule to remedy the situation.

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    #35. Pioneer Women

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 209
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 25
    Air date: March 31, 1952

     

    Lucy and Ethel think it’s time they have a few modern conveniences in their homes, like dishwashers. Ricky says they have it too easy, and the Ricardos and Mertzes live without using anything invented before 1900 to see who caves first. Lucy and Ethel churn butter and bake bread (there's a famous gut-busting moment when it explodes into the kitchen) before Ricky calls off the bet.
     

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    #34. The Seance

    IMDb rating: 8.8
    IMDb votes: 216
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 7
    Air date: November 26, 1951

    Fascinated by daily horoscopes, Lucy encourages Ricky to say no to all business commitments for the day because that’s what his horoscope advises. When Lucy declines an offer from producer Mr. Merriweather on behalf of Ricky, she bonds with him over their shared love of the occult.

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    #33. Lucy's Bicycle Trip

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 132
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 24
    Air date: April 23, 1956

    While vacationing in Europe, the Ricardos and Mertzes go on a long bike ride to the Italian and French border. Everyone is allowed to cross except Lucy, who has forgotten her passport. Lucy finally makes it to France—after some confusion over who has the key to the suitcase containing the passport.

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    #32. Staten Island Ferry

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 133
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 12
    Air date: January 2, 1956

    Lucy tries to cure Fred of his seasickness before a trip. She suggests trying new seasickness pills and taking a trial run on the Staten Island Ferry. The pills work for Fred, but when Lucy feels nauseous and takes a handful herself, she falls asleep—and almost misses the deadline to apply for a passport.

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    #31. Paris at Last

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 139
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 18
    Air date: February 27, 1956

    Lucy is tricked when she exchanges her American money abroad, and ends up spending counterfeit francs around Paris. When she is arrested, Ricky’s bilingual abilities help free her. The humorous scene where the dialogue is translated into Spanish, and then into another language is duplicated in the “Breaking the Ice” episode of “Frasier.”

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    #30. Lucy Learns to Drive

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 139
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 11
    Air date: January 3, 1955

    Lucy wants to learn how to drive so she can help on the road trip to California. After having one lesson, she tries to teach Ethel how to drive; Ethel wrecks the car before it has insurance.

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    #29. The Business Manager

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 140
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 1
    Air date: October 4, 1954

    In the premiere episode for Season 4, Ricky hires a business manager to put Lucy on a strict household budget. Of course, Lucy finds a way to get extra cash.

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    #28. The Passports

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 142
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 11
    Air date: December 19, 1955

    Lucy’s chance to go on Ricky’s European trip is threatened when she can’t find her birth certificate, meaning she can’t get a passport. Officials tell her the birth certificate requirement will be waived if she can find two people to sign affidavits swearing they have known her since birth. This turns out to be unnecessary when her mother mails her the document.

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    #27. Country Club Dance

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 144
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 25
    Air date: April 22, 1957

    Lucy and Ethel get jealous after Ricky and Fred dance with a woman named Diana too frequently at a club event. They vow to look their best at the next event, and the men eventually admit Diana is too young for them.
     

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    #26. The Star Upstairs

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 146
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 25
    Air date: April 18, 1955

    Lucy disguises herself as a bellboy in order to see Cornel Wilde after learning he is staying in the suite above the Ricardos. The ruse works, but getting out isn’t so simple.

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    #25. California, Here We Come!

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 147
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 12
    Air date: January 10, 1955

    The Ricardos deal with drama over their impending road trip to California. Lucy’s mother wants to come along, but she ends up staying behind to look after Little Ricky. After sorting everything out, the gang gets on the road and sings “California, Here I Come.” Critics have since praised the move by producers to send the gang to Hollywood for a number of episodes in a bid to boost sagging ratings, which worked.

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    #24. The Golf Game

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 150
    Episode: Season 3, Episode 30
    Air date: May 17, 1954

    Fred and Ricky become obsessed with golf after Lucy gifts Ricky with a set of clubs. Lucy and Ethel decide to join in the fun, but their husbands invent a set of crazy rules to keep them from enjoying the game.

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    #23. Ethel's Birthday

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 152
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 8
    Air date: November 29, 1954

    Fred recruits Lucy’s help with finding a birthday gift for Ethel. Lucy is insulted when Ethel doesn’t like the gift she picks out, and she confesses to being the one who chose it, not Fred. The friends bicker and stop speaking to one another for a time. Ethel and Lucy make up after sitting next to each other during a sentimental production.

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    #22. Lucy Visits Grauman's

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 159
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 1
    Air date: October 3, 1955

    Lucy wants more Hollywood souvenirs. Conveniently, she notices that John Wayne’s footprints are loose when she visits Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Lucy pries the cement block out of the ground and takes it back to the hotel. The usual mayhem ensues. The follow-up episode in the series appears at No. 7 on this list.

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    #21. Sales Resistance

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 162
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 17
    Air date: January 26, 1953

    In one of the most memorable episodes of the series, Ricky scolds Lucy for falling victim to an ad on TV and making a frivolous purchase. He condescendingly explains how to resist a salesman and insists on returning the item, but then later returns to find that Lucy has yet again been tricked into buying a “Handy Dandy” vacuum cleaner. Best of all, when she and Ethel return from the movies, they find their husbands have been sucked into the sales scheme instead—Ricky has bought a “Handy Dandy” refrigerator and penny-pinching Fred a washing machine.

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    #20. The Handcuffs

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 175
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 4
    Air date: October 6, 1952

    Inspired by Fred’s magic tricks, Lucy tries what she thinks are trick handcuffs on Ricky as a joke, only to find out they actually can’t be taken off until morning. Lucy whines and tries various acrobatic moves to get comfortable in order to change into her pajamas and sleep, much to Ricky’s chagrin. The scene with Lucy filling in for Ricky's handcuff arm has been used on a number of different sitcoms since this episode aired, and the gag was even repeated on one of Ball's later series.

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    #19. First Stop

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 183
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 13
    Air date: January 17, 1955

    On a road trip to Ohio, the Ricardos and Mertzes aren’t sure about how to find accommodations to suit everyone’s tastes—or how to keep Ricky happy while he tries to get good gas mileage. Instead, they come across a questionable diner and motel, owned by a character that sends them in circles with his tricky signage. Something unique about this episode: both couples are shown at different times in the episode actually sharing a bed.

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    #18. Lucy and Harpo Marx

    IMDb rating: 8.9
    IMDb votes: 229
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 28
    Air date: May 9, 1955

    Lucy dresses up as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and other Hollywood stars to fool the near-sighted Carolyn Appleby into thinking she’s at a party with celebrities. But when Lucy dresses up as Harpo Marx (of the Marx Brothers), he turns out to already be there, creating an iconic mirror sequence with the two comedic legends. Sadly, Marx reportedly suffered heart attacks both before and after filming the episode.

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    #17. Lucy Misses the Mertzes

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 129
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 17
    Air date: February 11, 1957

    After years living as nextdoor neighbors, Lucy suffers from separation anxiety in her big (and too quiet) new home. Little does she know, the Mertzes are feeling the same way and decide to come for a visit at the same time she and Ricky decide to go visit them. They just miss one another—literally and figuratively. In a sign of the times, Ethel mentions a girl using the phone at the train station to drone on about “Elvis What’s-his-name.”

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    #16. Return Home from Europe

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 148
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 26
    Air date: May 14, 1956

    Lucy disguises a large block of cheese as a baby so she can smuggle it on the flight home from Europe. On the flight, she learns that children do not travel free and she will have to pay 30 dollars. To avoid paying, Ethel and Lucy attempt to eat the entire block of cheese.

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    #15. Lucy Gets a Paris Gown

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 152
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 20
    Air date: March 19, 1956

    After attending a fashion show, Lucy goes on a hunger strike to force Ricky into buying her a designer dress. Ricky creates an outfit out of a burlap sack and passes it off as a designer dress from Paris. Lucy and Ethel are convinced, and even wear the burlap fashion out in the Parisian streets.

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    #14. Building a Bar-B-Q

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 154
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 24
    Air date: April 8, 1957

    Lucy wants Ricky out of her way, so she builds a barbecue in hopes that he will take over the project himself while he’s on vacation. Things don’t go as planned when she loses her wedding ring in the process—she later finds it in a burger that was cooked on the new grill.

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    #13. Off to Florida

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 157
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 6
    Air date: November 12, 1956

    When Lucy loses her and Ethel’s train tickets to Florida, they catch a ride with a woman whom they suspect to be a murderer.

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    #12. The Camping Trip

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 159
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 29
    Air date: June 8, 1953

    Ricky takes Lucy on a camping trip with plans to deter her from joining his own summer trip. She figures out that he’s deliberating ruining the experience, and vows to show what a great camper she is. Ethel helps her fake achievements at outdoor sports, but Ricky finds out.

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    #11. Ethel's Hometown

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 191
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 15
    Air date: January 31, 1955

    The Ricardos and Mertzes visit Ethel’s hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Things get awkward when it becomes clear Ethel told her friends and family she is the one on the way to make a film in Hollywood, not Ricky.

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    #10. Lucy and Superman

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    IMDb votes: 228
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 13
    Air date: January 14, 1957

    Lucy tries to get Superman star George Reeves to attend Little Ricky’s birthday party. When Reeves can’t make it, Lucy dresses up as Superman and tries to leap in through a window to surprise the children. Instead, she gets stuck on a window ledge high above the city, but the real Superman shows up just in time. She reportedly didn’t credit Reeves in the episode because she was worried young viewers who couldn’t yet read would be disillusioned to learn the superhero was played by an actor.
     

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    #9. Deep Sea Fishing

    IMDb rating: 9.1
    IMDb votes: 130
    Episode: Season 6, Episode 7
    Air date: November 19, 1956

    In Miami, Lucy and Ethel make a bet with Ricky and Fred that they can catch the biggest fish. The day before the contest, each pair buys a large tuna and hides it in the hotel bathtubs to make sure they win. They catch each other and laugh it off, but the next day Ricky goes overboard, literally, and Lucy has to drag him in with her fishing line.

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    #8. Ricky and Fred Are TV Fans

    IMDb rating: 9.1
    IMDb votes: 162
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 30
    Air date: June 22, 1953

    Ethel and Lucy can’t get their husbands to stop watching boxing matches on television. They decide to cut the TV antenna wires and power lines for the apartment building and are arrested. Lucy is mistaken for a notorious criminal, but the friends are released and return home just as the match is ending. 

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    #7. Lucy and John Wayne

    IMDb rating: 9.1
    IMDb votes: 212
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 2
    Air date: October 10, 1955

    Lucy must find a way to replace John Wayne’s stolen footprints from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre or charges will be pressed. Ricky persuades the actor to redo his footprint in the cement, but Ethel and Lucy ruin the replacement—and Little Ricky thwarts John Wayne’s third attempt.

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    #6. The Freezer

    IMDb rating: 9.2
    IMDb votes: 233
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 29
    Air date: April 28, 1952

    Lucy and Ethel accidentally order seven hundred pounds of meat and try to sell it to customers at a butcher shop. They can’t get rid of it, so they have a big barbecue when the furnace starts cooking the beef.
     

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    #5. The Great Train Robbery

    IMDb rating: 9.3
    IMDb votes: 205
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 5
    Air date: October 31, 1955

    Named after the famous 1903 film, “The Great Train Robbery” episode is a perennial favorite. A jewel thief is onboard Lucy’s train bound to New York, and he manipulates her into cooperating with him by claiming he’s with the FBI. When Lucy realizes her mistake she tries to pull the emergency brake, which she’s already pulled multiple times throughout the journey. Chaos ensues, but Lucy winds up a heroine.

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    #4. Lucy's Italian Movie

    IMDb rating: 9.3
    IMDb votes: 221
    Episode: Season 5, Episode 23
    Air date: April 16, 1956

    Lucy is offered a part in an upcoming Italian film, which she assumes will be about the winemaking industry. She ventures out to a vineyard to make wine and stomp grapes. While working, she accidentally stomps on a woman and it turns into a full-on war in the vat, and Lucy loses her movie role because she’s covered in grape stains. Behind the scenes, the production team had difficulty getting a local vineyard to donate grapes and a language barrier caused Ball to nearly be drowned in the fight scene. The famous grape-stomping scene appeared in “Pretty Woman” when Vivian watches it in the penthouse, and was mentioned on an episode of “The Amazing Race” episode during a kiwi stomping scene.

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    #3. Hollywood at Last

    IMDb rating: 9.5
    IMDb votes: 299
    Episode: Season 4, Episode 16
    Air date: February 7, 1955

    It’s Lucy’s first time in Hollywood, and she finds William Holden while celebrity-hunting at the Brown Derby. He gets annoyed at her gawking and Lucy leaves in a fluster, only to find William at her house later after asking Ricky to meet her. Embarrassed by her behavior at lunch, Lucy tries to disguise herself but her fake nose catches fire. Writers Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Davis, Bob Carroll Jr., Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf were nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Comedy Writing in 1956 for the iconic episode. It was featured in Season 5, Episode 2 of “The Ren & Stimpy Show” when Kowalski watches it on TV.

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    #2. Job Switching

    IMDb rating: 9.5
    IMDb votes: 367
    Episode: Season 2, Episode 1
    Air date: September 15, 1952

    In an attempt to prove housework isn’t easy, Lucy and Ethel try to hold down a job at a candy factory while their husbands take care of the household chores. While working on the factory’s conveyor belt, the girls struggle to keep up with the speed and have to stuff chocolates in their mouths and clothes. The hilarious factory scene is one of the most referenced in modern pop culture, making appearances in “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Saturday Night Live,” and the “I Love Sushi” episode of “Drake & Josh.” The “Oh What a Tangled Spell She Weaves” episode of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” spoofs it, as does the “Burning Down the Bayit” episode of “Family Guy” and a 2017 episode of “The Simpsons.”

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    #1. Lucy Does a TV Commercial

    IMDb rating: 9.6
    IMDb votes: 472
    Episode: Season 1, Episode 30
    Air date: May 5, 1952

    Lucy stars in a medicine commercial for “Vitameatavegamin.” Instead of being the picture of health, she unintentionally gets drunk off the product, which is 23 percent alcohol. In one of the most famous scenes of the show, Lucy repeatedly attempts to control her slurred speech but completely botches the advertisement. This episode has been referenced in two episodes of “Jeopardy,” and clips of the commercial scene were aired during the 33rd Annual Emmy Awards and the 2009 Screen Actors Guild Awards. It’s been listed on a number of fan-favorite lists, though Ball reportedly wasn’t able to enjoy performing it much at the time due to her perfectionist nature (she later recognized its comedic genius). The episode ranked No. 2 on TV Guide’s list of the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

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