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Old 12-30-2012, 11:16 AM   #1
Kasey
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Default The Final Episode: "Lucy Fights the System"

This was the first episode I watched when my DVDs arrived last week. I had seen it years ago (edited) and remember being impressed how great it was yet sad that the rest of the series didn't live up to its potential.

"System" almost has a farcical feel to it that predates the kind of comedy "Three's Company" would be doing a couple years later, and the script is much more logical/believable than Lucy running around with chimps or sucking up to celebrities past their expiry date. Of course, Lucie's performance here is hysterically funny and you can tell she was having a blast doing this.

I just feel that this series could have been so much better had they gone in this direction and this is a bittersweet episode for me because it's almost a case of "too little, too late".
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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I remembered thinking "Lucy Fights The System" was a scream in 1974. It still makes me chuckle.
The only demerit for the episode comes at the end. Poor Harry didn't do anything to deserve the pie in the face, so it wasn't funny (to me). The restaurant owner (or Kim) should have been the one to get creamed.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasey
This was the first episode I watched when my DVDs arrived last week. I had seen it years ago (edited) and remember being impressed how great it was yet sad that the rest of the series didn't live up to its potential.

"System" almost has a farcical feel to it that predates the kind of comedy "Three's Company" would be doing a couple years later, and the script is much more logical/believable than Lucy running around with chimps or sucking up to celebrities past their expiry date. Of course, Lucie's performance here is hysterically funny and you can tell she was having a blast doing this.

I just feel that this series could have been so much better had they gone in this direction and this is a bittersweet episode for me because it's almost a case of "too little, too late".

I agree with everything you've said here, though I have a slightly different take on the last paragraph. This episode was really Lucie Arnaz's show, not Lucille Ball's. Lucie proved here that she has what it takes to do comedy. But it seems to me that's something she had to work up to. When Here's Lucy first started, Lucie's acting was often a bit awkward. But as the series progressed, so did her performing abilities. By this point, she was a pro. So I'm not sure if "too little, too late" is necessarily the case because Lucie simply might not have been ready and able for performing at this level earlier on. Maybe she would have been ready by the fourth or fifth season -- and I emphasize "maybe" -- and the extent of her talent simply wasn't recognized. But certainly not before then.

What strikes me about this episode is Lucie's stellar skills, not so much in situation comedy, but for sketch comedy. I think after her performance here, SNL or The Carol Burnett Show should have snatched her up immediately. I think she would have been great in a comedy-variety format. Of course, after six years in a television series, Lucie may not have been up to doing more television at that point. She seemed to be more interested in pursuing the stage at this stage in her life. But back to her performance in this episode, the waitress character she portrays makes me think of a younger, sassier version of the Mrs. Wiggins character Carol Burnett would be playing a couple years later on her show. Could it be that Lucie Arnaz was the inspiration for Carol Burnett's character?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeresJames
I remembered thinking "Lucy Fights The System" was a scream in 1974. It still makes me chuckle.
The only demerit for the episode comes at the end. Poor Harry didn't do anything to deserve the pie in the face, so it wasn't funny (to me). The restaurant owner (or Kim) should have been the one to get creamed.

I actually think that pie scene was funny for that very reason: Harry didn't deserve it. Gale Gordon, however, did. I think it was a wonderful gesture by writer Bob O'Brien or Lucille Ball or somebody to give the last laugh to Gale Gordon. That was well earned. Also, it was necessary in order to throw in that final line for Gale Gordon to wrap up the series: I knew it would end like this! And that line, and that moment, in certain ways summed up what the show was all about.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
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Not sure if it was intended that this would be the last broadcasted episode of the series. The final episode filmed was "Meanwhile, Back At The Office".
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucyandethel
Not sure if it was intended that this would be the last broadcasted episode of the series. The final episode filmed was "Meanwhile, Back At The Office".
I wonder about director Coby Ruskin. In "The Lucy Book," the author states that Lucille fires Ruskin during rehearsals for "Lucy the Sheriff" and takes over the direction, then hires Jack Donahue to "finish the season for her" (with only a "handful of episodes" to be filmed).
Yet Lucie Arnaz states that "Meanwhile, Back at the Office" was "the last show we shot," and Coby Ruskin is credited as the director of that episode.
Also, notice how long Lucie's hair is in "Meanwhile," vs. how short Lucie's hair is in "Where is my Wandering Mother Tonight?" I think her memory is playing tricks.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucyandethel
Not sure if it was intended that this would be the last broadcasted episode of the series. The final episode filmed was "Meanwhile, Back At The Office".

In spite of a comment on the DVD and from other sources, it is highly speculated that it is no more than a rumor or misinformation that "Meanwhile, Back At The Office" was the last episode filmed. Like HeresJames noted, Lucie Arnaz's hair is very short in "Lucy Fights the System," then long in "Meanwhile, Back at the Office." It's unlikely her hair could have grown back that fast. And when the show aired in syndication years ago, the episodes appeared in order of production date, and "Lucy Fights the System" was always the last episode shown. Also, someone I would consider an authority has stated that "Lucy Fights the System" was filmed January 24, 1974, and was "definitely" the last episode filmed. "Where's My Wandering Mother Tonight?" was filmed the week before, on January 17, 1974. And "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike up the Band" was filmed the week before that, on January 10, 1974. "Meanwhile, Back at the Office" was filmed sometime in 1973.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:21 PM   #7
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I watched "Lucy Fights the System" the other day - the first time I had ever seen that episode - and along with "Where Is My Wondering ..." had the serious focused more on these kinds of topics more often I think the perception of the show would be so much better in retrospect. I really enjoyed "System" because even though there was so goofy things found only in the Lucy Universe (the pie being thrown, Kim being the waitress like she is) the overall plot of the show and focus, age discrimination, is something that was a topical story and still is. The episodes that deal with "real" topics are certainly high and above the others in this series. I'm not always a fan of Bob O'Brien's writing but on "System" he did a good job I must say.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benno123
I'm not always a fan of Bob O'Brien's writing but on "System" he did a good job I must say.

Bob O'Brien is an interesting one for me. Many of my least favorite episodes of this series (and The Lucy Show) were written by Bob O'Brien. But, most of my favorites were written either by Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Davis, or . . . Bob O'Brien!
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRickyII
Bob O'Brien is an interesting one for me. Many of my least favorite episodes of this series (and The Lucy Show) were written by Bob O'Brien. But, most of my favorites were written either by Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Davis, or . . . Bob O'Brien!

Ditto! The way you worded it is more my feelings. He could write some great material for Lucy ... or some of the poorest material. In The Lucy Book the author states (I think for the 1975 "Vegas" special with Dean Martin) that it is wondered why Lucy keeps accepting what O'Brien writes, not that it is actually bad but that he is offering nothing fresh. As I've watched Here's Lucy now, seeing the series, I find myself enjoying it but I keep thinking that the show really seems to just be product. Times were changing, topics in sitcoms were changing, and yet the Lucy character was not allowed to change with those times. I'm not saying she should have been like Maude, but very little character growth happened. Interesting how when it did (Kim moves out, Lucy breaks her leg) the results are for the most part successful.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRickyII
In spite of a comment on the DVD and from other sources, it is highly speculated that it is no more than a rumor or misinformation that "Meanwhile, Back At The Office" was the last episode filmed. Like HeresJames noted, Lucie Arnaz's hair is very short in "Lucy Fights the System," then long in "Meanwhile, Back at the Office." It's unlikely her hair could have grown back that fast. And when the show aired in syndication years ago, the episodes appeared in order of production date, and "Lucy Fights the System" was always the last episode shown. Also, someone I would consider an authority has stated that "Lucy Fights the System" was filmed January 24, 1974, and was "definitely" the last episode filmed. "Where's My Wandering Mother Tonight?" was filmed the week before, on January 17, 1974. And "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike up the Band" was filmed the week before that, on January 10, 1974. "Meanwhile, Back at the Office" was filmed sometime in 1973.

Does the person that you quote have a full list of Here's Lucy production dates? I would love to see it if so. I compiled my own list of Lucy Show production dates based on the information provided with each episode on the DVDs for Seasons 1-4 (I have not bought the last two seasons.), but the Here's Lucy DVDs that I have for Seasons 1 & 2 do not provide production dates. I was very surprised, for instance, that the Season 3 opener with Dick & Liz Burton was the last episode filmed that season, so Season 3 production must have run from maybe March to August 1970, but all of Lucy's other sitcom seasons, to my knowledge, had production run at least into January, and usually a month or two later.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehobden
Does the person that you quote have a full list of Here's Lucy production dates? I would love to see it if so.

I don't know if he does, but there's a decent chance he does, or at least does for some of the seasons. I'd love to see them, too. I never thought to ask but one day I will. He probably doesn't have them in electronic form, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jehobden
I was very surprised, for instance, that the Season 3 opener with Dick & Liz Burton was the last episode filmed that season, so Season 3 production must have run from maybe March to August 1970, but all of Lucy's other sitcom seasons, to my knowledge, had production run at least into January, and usually a month or two later.

Yeah, that surprised me too about the Burtons episode. And I remember reading that Lucille Ball's skiing accident happened in January 1972, which means all those fourth season episodes were completed in 1971. I think the Mame schedule -- production and post-production promotion -- forced a later-than-usual start on the sixth season of Here's Lucy -- she was filming that movie at a time when normally she'd be doing her show -- so it wound up having production pushed into 1974.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benno123
As I've watched Here's Lucy now, seeing the series, I find myself enjoying it but I keep thinking that the show really seems to just be product.

I like the way you put that. I was watching "Lucy, the Sheriff" today and thinking how weary a production that episode seemed. It was kind of a pointless plot, with no other purpose than to set up a few uninspired and unmemorable "Lucy" bits. The idea that the people in this town were all still dressing as if it were 1874 was silly. But none of that seemed to matter: everyone was just going through the motions, not trying to step outside of the box and be creative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benno123
Times were changing, topics in sitcoms were changing, and yet the Lucy character was not allowed to change with those times. I'm not saying she should have been like Maude, but very little character growth happened. Interesting how when it did (Kim moves out, Lucy breaks her leg) the results are for the most part successful.

No argument here, except that I'm not too fond of some of the broken leg episodes, or "Kim Moves Out." But usually when the show had a rare moment of focusing on the personal relationships of the characters (e.g., "Where's My Wandering Mother Tonight?" "Mary Jane's Boyfriend," "Lucy Is N.G. as an R.N."), it shined.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRickyII
The idea that the people in this town were all still dressing as if it were 1874 was silly.
True! But I thought their costumes were part of the week-long celebration of the town's anniversary?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Benno123
Times were changing, topics in sitcoms were changing, and yet the Lucy character was not allowed to change with those times.
I agree, to a point. Consider the second season ep, "Lucy and Carol Burnett aka Secretary Beautiful." Carol walks in on Harry as he's demonstrating an effeminate walk for Lucille. Harry attempts to recover his embarrassment but Carol pats Harry on the arm and says "Sure kid, we've all got problems. The important thing is, be happy."
Then later during her presentation at the pageant, Lucille stumbles through something like, "Isabella was the queen, I'm not sure about Ferdinand."

Wow! TWO non-offensive gay jokes on a top 10 sitcom in 1969? While a few short years later, when we entered the era of "topical" and "relevant" sitcoms, Archie Bunker introduced words like "f a g" and "queer" into the TV lexicon. "All in the Family," "Maude," et al, were loud, brittle, and nasty.

Fast forward to 2013 and compare those programs to "Here's Lucy." Which of them has stood the test of time? Just my humble opinion.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:22 AM   #14
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I've just finished watched season 6 of HL and I agree the last episode is really a classic,a laugh out loud one!

Some episodes are stronger than others,the one with Danny Thomas is in that theres no resolution at the end,he's pretending to be dead but the episode ends with him still pretending to be dead.

Its a shame that Lucie Arnaz isn't in too mant epiosdes,I do like the epiosde where Lucy Crter is out late and Kim is worried about her,as Lucie says "Shame we didn't get more scripts like that".

The Phil Harris is another good one,liked the OJ Simpson too,the birs one is odd but Arte Johnson is funny,at least.
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