I Love Lucy S01 E21 – New Neighbors

(Or: War is a force that gives us meaning)

**More WTFacts are at this week’s Episode Watch Party.**

We open on the living room window, which we’ve never seen before. Lucy and Ethel are snooping on the new neighbors moving in while Ricky demands his breakfast. I’m not sure which is ruder.

This is a brownstone, guys. People can see you. But Lucy and Ethel are totally shameless. Even Fred is worried what people will think of them, while Lucy pulls out binoculars.

The boys do that thing where they laugh about their wives dying:

Ricky: Curiosity killed the cat, huh Fred?
Fred: Yeah but we’ll never get a break like that.

And it’s all fun and games and death fantasies until one of the neighbors turns out to be a hot blonde. Suddenly these fart noises of human beings are up off the couch and nearly strangle their wives with the binocular cord. Fred whistles at the woman, for fuck’s sake.

Fred jokes about how he’s going to do a TON of work in the hot blonde’s apartment, and Ricky asks him if he can join. The whole scene is getting super rapey and I feel uncomfortable.

Checking out the beautiful blonde. No, of course I don't mean Ethel! 

Checking out the beautiful blonde. No, of course I don’t mean Ethel!

Next we see the new tenants unpacking. The man walks in and says, “Stick em up,” and terrifies his wife. But it’s for her own good. She has to learn to protect herself from her new landlord, who’s probably already leering outside with baby oil and a tube sock.

It turns out, they’re both actors. They start running lines for their new play, which is about two Soviet spies plotting to kill people upstairs and steal their identities so they can blow up the Capitol. Lucy could write a better play than this.

The couple leaves for lunch and Ethel and Lucy sneak in.

I would give anything for Ethel to rub that and find a genie.

I would give anything for Ethel to rub that and find a genie.

Which is creepier? Breaking in to look at someone’s stuff while they’re out, like Lucy and Ethel? Or breaking in to look at someone naked while they’re in the shower, like Ricky and Fred?

This whole foursome should be locked in solitary. In the regular prison population, they’d be caught snooping around, and wouldn’t last two seconds against a shiv in a jail fight.

Ethel leaves, and Lucy is forced to hide in the closet when she hears the couple come in practicing their lines. She’s horrified by what they’re threatening to do and pretends to be a chair to get out.

Copy of S01 E21 Lucy as Chair

After her totally smooth escape, she runs back to her apartment and tells everyone the new neighbors are “foreign enemy agents.” Ricky completely ignores her warning because he’s angry with her for snooping. 

Lucy: Yes I’ve been a bad girl and you can spank me tomorrow if there’s anything left to spank.


The boys tell her she’s lying. So she starts calling the police:

Lucy: We’ve got to save the country!

The boys tell her to lie down.

It’s like she spent the afternoon with Bill Cosby or something. Wait 30 years, Lucy. You’ll be dead, but 47 other women will have the same recollection, and a fraction of people will believe you. Maybe you’ll get super lucky and some famous dude will corroborate your story so it at least makes it to HuffPo.

She begs Ricky not to leave her alone because she might be killed and he says:

Ricky: Leave me a note and tell me where to find my clean socks.

I’m gonna let that one sit, because we have gun rights and police brutality to get to.

So the guys leave and Lucy calls the cops. The officer hears a woman’s voice and assumes she’s either on her monthly or just drunk.

Officer: Lady, have you been nipping on the cooking sherry?

He tells her he can’t help, then hangs up on her. He later becomes a district judge in Montana

Cops be all

Cops be all “So Soviet spies threatened to kill you… Well, what were you wearing? Were you drinking anything?”

Ricky and Fred go and listen through the furnace pipe, and guess what? NOW THEY BELIEVE HER. They mansplain it to everyone and Lucy’s all, I LITERALLY JUST SAID THAT.

Ricky and Fred decide to get their guns, of which they have many. They turn the house into a Les Miz barricade, and are as properly trained in gun safety and military prowess as the actual cast of Les Miz, which includes a man dying of old age, a petite ingenue in high heels, and three children.

Do You Hear the People Sing? No, really, they might be singing upstairs because they're just PERFORMERS.

Do You Hear the People Sing? No, really, they might be singing upstairs because they’re just PERFORMERS.

The phone rings and they all shoot their guns by accident. One shade of skin browner and they’d be labeled domestic terrorists. As it is, they’re hobbyists.

Then the doorbell rings and they shoot again, this time taking out the front door and almost putting four bullets in the cop’s face.

In their defense, the cop acted like Lucy called about a cockroach in the kitchen and then he SHOWS UP like ten minutes later?



I feel obligated to mention that all of this seems particularly tone-deaf in the face of recent events. Police brutality is very real and no doubt was a huge part of many people’s lives in 1952.

But Lucy is so white the shade is actually a negative color, so while they technically go to jail, it’s one of those jails that includes a racquetball court.

Basically they shoot at an officer’s face, they’re taken to one large cell with all their close friends and family, the officer spends the whole day investigating their bogus case, and when he determines they shot without any good reason whatsoever, he just sets them free with no charges.

That’s right. No charges, not even any fucking handcuffs. He’s so nice to these pleasant white folks he practically hands them a coupon for a Pumpkin Spice Latte on their way out and helps direct them to the pop-up microbrewery.

Then the mean policeman apologizes and they all go to yoga class.

Then the mean policeman apologizes and they all go to yoga class.

Everyone is really pissed at Lucy for the false alarm, even though no one believed her until two testicle-clad witnesses corroborated her story. Our girl can’t win.

In the end, Ricky (notably the only Latino) winds up in the news for being part of a shooting spree. He’s so angry with Lucy he threatens to slit her throat, and she backs up into the prison cell begging to stay because she’s safer there than with her husband.

Hahahaha roll credits!

But seriously, folks, here’s some info to find and support your local battered women’s shelter. Because what the actual fuck.

Join me next week for S01 E22: Fred and Ethel Fight. New posts every Friday!

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Don't worry, Lucy! I'll be back next week.

Don’t worry, Lucy! I’ll be back next week.

One thought on “I Love Lucy S01 E21 – New Neighbors

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