I Love Lucy S02 E03 – The Anniversary Present

Original Air Date: September 29, 1952

We open on Ricky sleeping in while Lucy brings coffee to the painters outside the window. For a minute there it looks like she might jump. But Ricky wants his breakfast, as in now. He saves her life.

I wish we could watch Lucy make him that breakfast, but instead we have to watch Ricky dial one of those old rotary phones. Those phones take forever. By the time he’s done, the Academy has nominated a black woman for Best Director. It literally takes centuries.

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Lucy out the window

It’s not that bad, Lucy. It’s almost that bad. But it’s not that bad.

Ricky reaches his neighbor Grace Foster, who was already described in S01 as a total hottie. He asks her to help him get a discount on pearls for Lucy’s anniversary present, and she tells him to come to her apartment and discuss it. Oh yeah and NBD but Grace’s husband is out. of. town.

I get the feeling there’s a darker subplot happening here. Don’t forget, Grace is the one Ricky pretends is running off with the milkman in “The Gossip.” And her husband pretends to shoot at the guy. Even if it was fake, perhaps she hasn’t surrounded herself with the best of men.

She seems a little drunk. She’s smoking, standing around in a low-cut dress, inviting men over. It’s clear Grace feels like a shell of the sexually powerful woman she once was, and she’s learning the hard way to accept her inevitable irrelevance and invisibility as an aging woman in our youth-obsessed, patriarchal society. Beauty is a curse sometimes.

That, Ballers, is what we call subtext.

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Grace Foster on phone

Crazy eyes will show you all her jewels, Ricky.

Meanwhile Lucy is cooking rice for breakfast to remind Ricky about their anniversary. No dude would ever get that reference. No woman either. Hell, no fortune teller would understand what’s happening.

Ricky is fine with the rice. He doesn’t even pick her up and spank her for not making eggs. I’m with him. Rice is the shit. A little butter, a little soy sauce. Holy what, that’s a snack.

So Lucy tries a new idea: she ties a napkin over her head and carries a bouquet of carrots. 60 years later the magazine Hipster Bride features this look for their rustic, farm-themed wedding issue.

S02 E03 Hipster Bride

Ricky wants to surprise Lucy, so he just pretends not to know anything about their anniversary, and then leaves to “go see Fred.”

Moments later, we find out Ethel saw Ricky coming out of the Fosters’ apartment. So “go see Fred” meant “go bang Grace.” Lucy is totally devastated.

Ricky confides in Fred that he was in Grace Foster’s apartment, and Fred is thrilled for him. Same for Ricky’s assistant – they’re just thrilled he’s committing adultery. And the audience just laughs and laughs. It’s like Mad Men, but with a more diverse cast (SLAM!).

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Wink at Ricky

Creepy old men evidently can’t wink as well as creepy young men.

Lucy listens in on Ricky’s phone call with Grace:

Ricky: I think we’ve got her completely fooled. I’ll be down right away. Etc Etc.

She’s crushed.

Lucy: Don’t 11 years of faithful service count for anything? You think he’d at least give me a gold watch. Or a letter of recommendation.

Lucy, with the divorce laws in New York at that time, he could cast you out homeless with nothing but a punch in the face to remember him by, and you’d still be married. He’s not leaving you. He’s just expanding your twin bed set into a triplet.

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Lucy waves goodbye

Lucy saying goodbye. Or Lucy’s puppet audition. I’m certain there’s a puppet audition episode somewhere in Season 1,472.

Lucy and Ethel decide to listen in on Ricky and Grace through the furnace pipe.

And here we get another glimpse into the sad sack that is Grace Foster. Ricky’s like, “These pearls are nice, I’ll take them.” And Grace is all “No, stay and look at some more.” Surprised she doesn’t come out with it and say, “Just hold me for a minute. I’m dead inside.”

Lucy hears Ricky ask Grace to stand in the light so he can see her better.

Lucy: He always tells me to get away from the window. He says I’m standing in his light.

HIS light, he calls it. Ricky’s a dick.

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Lucy and Ethel listen at furnace

Amazing how 100% totally real that furnace looks.

Lucy can’t take it anymore. She and Ethel dress as the building painters, and head out on a small plank above the streets of Manhattan.

They’re literally risking their lives, when they could just go to the door and knock.

Surprise! They don’t know what the fuck they’re doing! So they end up covered in paint, with buckets over their heads, dangling above E. 68th Street as precariously as my patience at this point.

I Love Lucy S02 E03 Lucy and Ethel as painters

I found Banksy.

Fred rushes in, and he and Ricky and Grace help get them inside. They get paint all over Grace’s couch and floor, which is sure to sink her into an even deeper depression.

There’s a reason this is Grace’s first and last episode. I have it on good authority she lives out the rest of her days in Bellevue after the cops pick her up for trying to turn tricks on the corner of Madison and 71st. 

Ricky tries to tell Lucy he and Grace are running off to Mexico with the case full of jewelry. But then he surprises Lucy with pearls and kisses her in a painty mess.

It’s a wise decision, because he and Grace would last approximately 2 seconds in Tijuana with her box of jewels. …Also with the necklaces.

Join me next week for S02 E04: The HandcuffsNew posts every Friday!

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I Love Lucy S02 E03 wall

Frankly it just seems spiteful for Lucy and Ethel to paint an adultery mural on the building.

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