Breaking the Lease [I Love Lucy]

Breaking the Lease – I Love Lucy episode 18, season 1, originally aired 2/11/1952

Breaking the Lease - Lucy talking to Ethel on the phone

In Breaking the Lease, the Mertzes and the Ricardos are staying up late, singing around the piano.  All is a love fest between the two couples, until the Mertzes go downstairs while the Ricardos do one last verse of “Sweet Sue – only to have the Mertzes call and complain about the noise!  Lucy and Ricky try to go to bed, fighting over whether the window should be open or closed (a classic bit, very funny to watch), only to be upset by something that Fred Mertz has promised to fix, but hasn’t.  One thing leads to another, and ends with Lucy and Ricky threatening to move out of the apartment!  However, Fred refuses to let them out of the lease.

Ricky’s plan to get out of the lease

Breaking the Lease - Lucy and Ricky

Normally, Lucy cooks up some scheme. But this time, Ricky decides that they will get out of their lease by being the worst tenants in history.  Among other tactics, Ricky brings the band to their apartment for “practice” – actually, an all-night jam session.  Other people start to show up, and Ricky’s initial attitude is “the more, the merrier” as the band plays “El Cumbanchero” – €”until he finds out that Fred Mertz is selling tickets! To get even, the band, and everyone in the apartment, play and perform the “Mexican Hat Dance” (which Lucy refers to as “el breako the leaso”). Resulting in the Mertzes coming upstairs, covered with the plaster that fell from their ceiling during the enthusiastic performance.  Enough is enough, and Fred lets the Ricardos out of their lease.

Moving day?

Finally, moving day comes, and at the prospect of Lucy actually moving out, Ethel is moved to tears, as is Lucy, declaring that she doesn’t want to move.  Ricky and Fred, in a wonderful “real men don’t show their emotions” moment, make up as well – for the girls’ sake’ of course.  A funny and heartfelt episode.

Breaking the Lease is available on the season 1 I Love Lucy DVD collection.

I Love Lucy Quotes

Ethel (Vivian Vance[to Lucy]: You’re the nicest tenant I ever had.
Lucy (Lucille Ball) [to Ethel]: And you’re certainly the nicest landlady that I’ve ever had.
Fred (William Frawley) [to both]: And this is the most sickening conversation that I’ve ever heard!


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Ethel was just up here and she made me so darn mad.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): What now?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): She said they’re going to hold us to our lease. We have to pay them five month’s rent before we can leave. I guess we’re stuck here.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Well, now, that all depends.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): On what?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): On whether we can break the lease or not. We are going to become the two most unpleasant, disagreeable nasty people in the whole world.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): How?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): We’ll force ourselves.


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Time to make another call to Ethel.
[Dials] Hey, get this. [In disguised voice] Hello, this is the Ajax Salvage Company. We buy old glass, I understand you have some rings that you’re interested in selling.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Ha ha ha ha! [Fires air hammer into the phone]


Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I won’t be home tonight. I’ve got to rehearse a couple of hours after the club closes.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Why don’t you have the rehearsal here?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Are you crazy? I’ve got a 16 piece band. I’ll blow the roof off the joint.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Well … It doesn’t look like rain.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I’ll do it.


Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Oh, Lucy, I know you’re not going to move, but if you ever do move, don’t move.

I Love Lucy Trivia

  • This is the first time that Lucy says “Nertz to Mertz”
  • This is the first time that the Ricardos fight with the Mertzes.
  • Barbara Pepper is one of the actors who came in from the street to watch the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.  Barbara Pepper was one of Lucille Ball’s oldest friends, and is best known for the role of Mrs. Ziffel, ‘mother’ of Arnold the pig on Green Acres.
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