Lucille Ball Didn’t Like This Fan-Favorite ‘I Love Lucy’ Episode

Lucille Ball is one of the greatest comedians of all time, an actress, producer, and CEO who was truly one of the world’s first “triple-threats.” Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz, were responsible for I Love Lucy, a classic television show that is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest TV shows of all time.

The show was able to unite viewers in a way that no other television program had at the time, and Ball became known as an American icon. Although Ball would later go to star in a variety of other TV shows after I Love Lucy went off the air, she would remain forever known to her fans as Lucy Ricardo. While I Love Lucy featured many truly great episodes, there is one that remains a consistent favorite, year after year—in spite of the fact that Ball herself reportedly didn’t like filming it. 

‘Lucy Does a TV Commercial’ is one of the greatest ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes

Although the episode “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” is now one of the most famous episodes of I Love Lucy, it was actually filmed very early on in the show’s run. The episode, which aired during the first season, in May 1952, details how Lucy weasels her way into Ricky’s television special, according to IMDb.

After she is selected to advertise a medicine called “Vitameatavegamin,” Lucy practices taking swigs of the concoction to prove how tasty it is. What Lucy doesn’t know is that the medicine is actually 23% alcohol, which leads to Lucy becoming progressively more incapacitated as the filming continues.

Comedienne Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo, talks on the telephone in a scene from an episode of the television comedy 'I Love Lucy'
‘I Love Lucy’ star Lucille Ball | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

These days, “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” is one of I Love Lucy’s most popular episodes. However, according to Mental Floss, Lucille Ball herself didn’t really like the episode.

The report notes that Ball had a particularly hard time filming it, because every word of her “Vitameatavegamin” commercial, even the parts that required her to slur drunkenly, was written in the script. Ball, who was admittedly not a great extemporaneous speaker, was nervous about messing up her lines, so she asked script supervisor Maury Thompson to stand off to the side in front of her podium and hold up her lines as if on a real commercial set. 

This process made the episode a particularly hard one for the star to film, and it took her many years before she would admit to being able to see the humor in “Lucy Does a TV Commercial.”

Fans love the ‘Lucy Does a TV Commercial’ episode of ‘I Love Lucy’

Ball herself might not have had a great fondness for “Lucy Does a TV Commercial,” but for fans, the episode perfectly demonstrates Ball’s incomparable talent for physical comedy. Playing drunk is notably one of the hardest things for an actor to convincingly do, but Ball manages to pull it off to hilarious effect. These days, the episode is one of the highest-rated episodes of I Love Lucy, and the one that many fans turn to when they want to not only enjoy some timeless humor but revel in the wonder of Ball’s obvious talent.

The episode has even been parodied by other TV shows, including a memorable episode of Will & Grace, with Debra Messing suiting up as Lucy. Still, there’s nothing truly like the original—and it seems likely that “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” is one of those television show episodes that will live on forever.

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